If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms or suspect you may have a hernia, it is important to see your doctor before complications develop. Please visit our Operations & Methods of Repair page to download information sheets or download our printable brochure.
Inguinal hernias are located in the lower abdomen just above the leg crease, near or adjacent to the pubic area. They can sometimes occur on both sides of the pubic area, and if they do, they are called bilateral inguinal hernias. Inguinal hernias, along with femoral hernias make up the 2 types of groin hernias and can produce pain that extends into the upper thigh or scrotum.
Inguinal hernias can be classified as “direct” or “indirect”.
When inguinal hernias are repaired with a technique called tension repair, recurrence rates may be higher than 15%, which means that the hernia may reappear in time. Other hernia repair techniques, such as tension-free and laparoscopic tension-free, have much lower recurrence rates in the order of 1%.
A Sportsmans Hernia is a condition of chronic exercise-related supra-inguinal groin pain. Generally it involves a direct inguinal hernia. Symptoms are pain in the groin without any detectable swelling in the groin or any other explanation for the pain. Before chosing surgery for a sportsmans hernia, all non-operative possibilities should be attempted, including sufficient relief and rehabilitation of the most tender structures and muscles.
Femoral hernias, along with inguinal hernias are groin hernias. They are much more common in women but can occur in men. These hernias appear just below the groin crease. A weakness in the lower groin allows an intestinal sac to drop into the femoral canal, a space near the femoral vein that carries blood from the leg. These hernias are more prone than inguinal hernias to develop incarceration or strangulation as an early complication. Therefore, once these hernias are diagnosed, early repair is very strongly advised before such complications occur.
A hernia that appears in the abdomen at the site of a previous surgery is known as an incisional hernia. These hernias can appear weeks, months, or even years after surgery and can vary in size from small to very large and complex. If you think you have an incisional hernia, it is important to see your doctor because it may widen and become extremely difficult to repair. Repair of incisional hernia is sometimes covered by ACC.
Umbilical hernias occur near the bellybutton or navel, which has a natural weakness from the blood vessels of the umbilical cord. These hernias may occur in infants at or just after birth and may resolve by three or four years of age. However, the area of weakness can persist throughout life and can occur in men, women, and children at any time. In adults, umbilical hernias will not resolve and may progressively worsen over time. They are sometimes caused by abdominal pressure due to being overweight, excessive coughing, or pregnancy.
Epigastric hernias are more common in men than women. They occur due to a weakness, gap, or opening in the muscles or tendons of the upper abdominal wall, on a line between the breast bone and the navel or umbilicus.
Similar to an epigastric hernia
A protrusion of intestine or an empty sac through a weakness between the muscle fibres of the abdominal wall, often on the right hand side of the abdomen. Often there is no obvious swelling or lump, so it can make it almost impossible to detect. It develops between the muscles of the abdominal wall rather than protruding through layers of fat. It may be mistaken for another type of abdominal complaint. This is quite a rare type of hernia which occurs in both male and females. It often develops in later life when the abdominal muscles have become weaker.
Causes include sport (excessive twisting or turning), chronic coughing e.g. from smoking, being overweight or obese, straining during urination or defecation, lifting heavy objects, abdominal injury. Symptoms may include poor bowel function or constipation, a dull ache in the abdomen, pain when bending or stretching, a noticeable small swelling on someone with lean/low body fat (otherwise it may be difficult to observe). Diagnosis may be difficult, based on patient symptoms, examination and palpation of the area, x-ray. Treatment, by either open or laparoscopic surgery using a surgical mesh to repair the area.
Hiatal hernias are slightly different from other types of hernias because they are a weakness or opening in the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. These hernias cause reflux of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus, which can lead to heartburn, pain, and erosion of the oesophagus. Surgery to repair this type of hernia is usually more complicated and may require a longer stay in hospital.
More in depth information relating to this is available on our other website www.endoscopyclinic.co.nz
Hernias can also be classified by when they occur. A person may be born with a hernia, or a hernia may be acquired from daily activity.
A hernia with a bulge can be classified based on whether or not the bulge can be flattened (or reduced).
Hernias can also be classified based on their status and severity. An incarcerated hernia or obstructed hernia is one in which the tissues have become trapped. This is also called a non-reducible hernia and is very serious because it may lead to intestine or tissue strangulation. A strangulated hernia happens when part of your intestine or other tissue becomes tightly trapped and the blood supply is cut off. Strangulated hernias can result in gangrene. This condition is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate surgery to undo the blockage and repair the hernia.
Hernias are less common in women than in men, however hernias in women can cause chronic pelvic pain, and hernia repair is very effective at eliminating the cause of this pain. The main types of hernias that can develop in women are – indirect inguinal hernias, femoral hernias and umbilical hernias.
Symptoms of hernias in women are –