Different Types of Hernias

There are several different types of hernias. Hernias can be compared to seams in a garment that have come undone. Apparently our bodies are created with many seams, all of which are supposed to keep certain body parts in specific places. If one of these seams tears or develops a hole, body parts may slip out of place through the hole in the seam. This is what we call a hernia. Sometimes a physician will physically sew up or use a mesh patch to cover the opening of concern; this is called a hernia patch.

The different types of hernias are categorized by what body parts they affect. Most hernias occur in the abdomen and affect the intestines, abdominal fatty tissue or stomach. The following are all different types of hernias:

Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernias occur in the groin area. These hernias involve the seam area between the thigh and the torso. Inguinal hernias show up as bulges in this inguinal area. This type of hernia is much more common in men than women.

Hiatal Hernia
A hiatal hernia occurs when there is a tear in the seam where the esophagus meets the stomach, causing part of the stomach to bunch up in the opening. This kind of hernia can cause heartburn, belching, nausea and vomiting.

Femoral Hernia
Between your abdominal cavity and your thigh, there is a tiny space that allows your femoral artery, vein and nerve to exit your abdominal cavity and enter your leg. Sometimes this space becomes stretched, torn or enlarged, allowing your intestine to protrude through the opening. This causes a bulge just below your inguinal fold, roughly mid-thigh. Femoral hernias are more common in women than men.

Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias occur when the opening in the abdominal wall just under the navel does not close after birth like it should. It results in a protrusion just under the belly button. These hernias are usually found in babies. They typically resolve themselves by age two, but if the hernia remains, reparative surgery may be performed.

Spigelian Hernia
Sometimes the rectus abdominus muscle can tear, causing a bulge on the side of the abdomen.

Obturator Hernia
This rare hernia is challenging to diagnose because it does not produce an obvious bulge. This hernia occurs in women when the membrane in the pelvic cavity is torn. It can cause nausea and vomiting since this type of hernia manifests like a bowel obstruction.

Epigastric Hernia
This type of hernia occurs in a space between the navel and the rib cage. Because it usually only affects fatty tissue in the abdomen and not intestines, it can usually be fixed with manual manipulation.

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