Abdominal hernia symptoms range from barely noticeable to very painful and abdominal hernias themselves can vary in severity and in seriousness. Some hernias can be left untreated for years without ill effects, while others may need immediate attention. You can determine if you need immediate medical care for your abdominal hernia if you understand how hernias occur, what symptoms are concerning and what ones are should not be an issue.
Small ruptures in the abdominal wall and casing can cause abdominal hernias. The muscles and membranes that surround your abdominal cavity are usually very tough, but sometimes this casing becomes compromised, resulting in an opening through which organs or fatty tissue from the abdominal cavity may protrude. If the rupture is small and the hernia is reducible-meaning you can gently prod the bulge and the tissue or intestine can be tucked back in to its proper place with external manipulation-the hernia is not serious. Some people have hernias that bulge when they laugh or cough, but otherwise do not even show themselves. In most of these cases, the hernia will repair itself over time.
If the hernia is large and irreducible-meaning you cannot simply poke the misplaced tissue or intestine back in place-you will need to see your doctor about a hernia repair. This is usually a quick, easy surgery. Your doctor will return the protruding organ or tissue and sew up or insert a small mesh hernia patch to keep the opening from enlarging. Then your doctor will sew you back up again, good as new.
Common hernia symptoms include a small bulge somewhere on the torso. Usually the bulge is pliable and can be touched without pain. If the bulge is painful or you are having other problems such as vomiting and nausea, you probably have a strangulated irreducible abdominal hernia, which means you need immediate surgical attention. A strangulated abdominal hernia is a hernia in which the misplaced segment of intestine has come through the opening and twisted or been clamped such that the flow of blood to the segment has been cut off. You will need to get to a doctor as soon as possible if this is the case so you can begin treatment.
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