A hernia is tissue from inside the abdomen that bulges out through a weak spot in the muscles of the abdominal (belly) wall. The weak spot may have been present since birth or may develop after surgery or from violent or ongoing coughing, lifting heavy objects, or aging.

There are several types of hernias:

  • A femoral hernia appears as a bulge on the top of the thigh.
  • A hiatal hernia is a part of the stomach bulging up through the diaphragm (the wall of muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the chest cavity).
  • An incisional hernia occurs after surgery to the wall of the abdomen.
  • An inguinal hernia occurs when a small portion of the bowel bulges into the groin.
  • An umbilical hernia appears in the belly button. A periumbilical hernia is similar to an umbilical hernia, but it occurs next to the belly button.

A person with a hernia often feels pain, pressure, or burning or feels like something has given way.

Current as of: November 14, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery