A hernia is a bulge formed by a part of an organ (usually the intestine or stomach) when it pushes against a weak spot in the muscle wall that encloses it. It occurs when straining exerts pressure on the weak region such as when lifting heavy objects, having a bowel movement, having a chronic cough or being obese. If the hernia appears on a previous surgical incision, it is called incisional hernia. Hernias are also common in the abdomen (ventral hernia) or belly button (umbilical hernia).
The risk factors for a ventral hernia include:
- History of previous hernias.
- History of abdominal surgeries.
- Injuries to your bowel area.
- Family history of hernias.
- Frequently lifting or pushing heavy objects.
- No symptoms (asymptomatic) discovered accidentally by investigating something else.
- A variable size bulge in the abdominal wall or over a previous abdominal operation scar with some discomfort upon exercise or weight challenge.
- Obstructive symptoms (emergency) when sudden onset severe groin or abdominal pain with a painful lump in the area with or without nausea or vomiting. This needs emergency surgical consultation.
Tests and Diagnosis
These may include:
- Abdominal ultrasound.
- Abdominal CT scan.
- Abdominal MRI scan.