A Hernia is when part of an internal organ or tissue bulges through a weak area of muscle or connective tissue. It may be present at birth or occurs later in life. Hernias occur more frequently in certain parts of the body such as the abdominal wall, groin, upper thigh (femoral), and belly button region. They can also occur in any place where you have had an incision from previous surgery.
Picture an old tire. Its outer wall is like the layers of tissue surrounding your abdomen, (the "abdominal wall"). The tire’s inner tune is like the thin lining of your abdomen the "peritoneum"). Instead of holding air, your abdomen holds the intestines and other vital organs. Most often, the outer wall is strong enough to keep these organs in place. But if the wall gets weak, a hernia may form.
Just as a bulge can form in a worn tire, a Hernia may form in a weak abdominal wall. At the weak spot, a hernia sac. (bulging abdominal lining), may fill with intestine or fat. This often causes some pain. Prompt surgery is often advised because hernias won’t go away by themselves. A hernia can become a medical emergency if the blood supply is cut off and the tissue is not receiving oxygen which is transported through the blood supply.When the intestine becomes trapped in the hernia, serous intestinal and digestive problems can occur.
What causes a Hernia?
A hernia is caused by a combination of an opening or weakness of a muscle and pressure. An increase in pressure in the abdomen can occur from lifting heavy objects, straining during a bowel movement, constipation or diarrhea, persistent coughing or sneezing, chronic lung disease, obesity, poor nutrition or smoking.