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What is that lump you see on your abdomen?
It could be a hernia.
A hernia is "the protrusion of an organ, organic part, or other bodily structure through the wall that usually contains it."
Hernias aren’t always apparent at first. They may hurt, you may even see the hernia bulge under your skin. If it’s small, you might not know it’s there. It’s most common in the abdomen, but hernias can also appear in the upper thigh and groin areas.
Most hernias happen because a muscle wall is not fully formed or is weak, a condition a person is born with. Other factors may increase your risk for developing a hernia, including pregnancy, being overweight, chronic coughing or sneezing, heavy lifting or straining, and constipation.
There are a number of different hernias:
Symptoms of a hernia can include painful swelling or a bulge that you can push back in. You may feel pain while lifting, straining, bending, stretching, or coughing, or a dull aching feeling at the site. A hiatal hernia likely wouldn’t cause a visible bulge but could make it hard to swallow and cause heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation.
Most of the time hernias aren’t extremely painful until they become strangulated, or the opening tightens around the protruding organ.
It isn’t always easy for your doctor to pinpoint what’s causing the pain, so in some cases an ultrasound or X-rays may be necessary to make a diagnosis.
Once diagnosed, your doctor can determine the best way to treat the hernia. In many cases, surgery is necessary to repair the organ.
With the minimally invasive surgical options offered at Edward-Elmhurst, surgery doesn’t have to be a pain. Learn more about our minimally-invasive hernia repair.
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