What is a hernia ?
Hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall, through which the intestine can protrude.
Hernias can occur at different sites of the abdominal wall.
Groin hernias are the commonest, because groin is a weak area of the abdominal wall.
They include inguinal hernia that is by far the most frequent, and the rare femoral hernia (1-3%).
Umbilical hernia is not rare, since umbilicus is another weak point of the abdominal wall.
Other types of hernia, such as Spigelian or lumbar hernias, are very rare.
The symptoms of hernia
The main sign of hernia is a bulge that usually is easily reducible.
Generally, hernia is not really painful, but it simply induces discomfort.
Nevertheless, some hernias, though small, can induce pain.
Hernia is not a serious disease. In most cases it simply induces discomfort, due to the swelling and tension, but it also can be painful in some circumstances, especially at effort.
Nevertheless, in a few cases incarceration and strangulation of the intestine can occur.
Strangulation is a serious complication, which can even be life-threatening if it is not quickly operated.
The signs of strangulation are a sudden and dreadful pain at the hernia site, followed by bloating and vomiting due to intestinal obstruction.
Operation is required urgently to prevent intestinal necrosis, peritonitis and eventually the death.