Hernia: Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Hernia is a type of abdominal wall defect that may occur in any part of the abdomen. It can be classified as inguinal, femoral, umbilical, scrotal or incisional. This condition may be caused by injury, obesity, pregnancy and many other reasons.

Hernia is a condition in which an organ or part of the body bulges through an abnormal opening in the muscle or tissue that normally covers it.

The common symptoms of a hernia are pain and swelling in the groin area or under the arm. Hernias can show up at any age but are more common in adults aged 40-60 years old.

What is Hernia?

The word hernia means “protrusion of an organ or part through a defect in the structure enclosing it.” This specifically refers to the protrusion of an organ or part through the abdominal wall, which is caused by a weakness in the muscles and tissue.

Hernias can be classified into two categories: indirect and direct. Indirect hernias result from a weakness in the abdominal wall muscles, such as when there is a tumor that pushes on the stomach and causes it to bulge out through the muscle defect. Direct hernias result from an opening in the muscle where an organ passes through, such as with a navel rupture or appendicitis.

How is Hernia Diagnosed?

A doctor will usually diagnose a person with inguinal hernia by examining them and asking about their symptoms. The doctor may also do some tests to confirm their diagnosis. These tests can show if there are any other medical conditions that could be contributing to the hernia, such as bowel obstruction or Crohn’s disease.

A hernia is usually diagnosed by an ultrasound examination and confirmed with a CT scan or MRI scan.

  • Ultrasound examination: Ultrasound for Hernia Disease is a medical test that uses sound waves to visualize the internal organs. It is also called sonography. The ultrasound examination is done to diagnose any type of hernia because it can identify any abnormal tissue that may be present. The surgeon will then use this information to decide on the most appropriate treatment.
  • CT scan: CT scan for Hernia Disease is a medical test that uses a series of x-rays to take detailed images of the abdomen. This is done to diagnose hernia, bowel obstruction, and other abdominal conditions.
  • MRI scan: An MRI scan can detect tumors, congenital abnormalities, infections, injuries or other problems in various parts of the body. It can also help doctors diagnose hernia disease by showing where fluid is building up in the abdominal cavity.

How is a Hernia Treated?

There are many treatments for hernia disease. Some treatments can be done at home, others require surgery. Medical treatment for hernia includes painkillers, antibiotics, and surgical repair.

The most common type of surgery for hernia repair is an open, laparoscopic, or robotic-assisted procedure. The surgical repair is done by making an incision and putting mesh under the muscle to reinforce it.

  • Open surgery: Open surgery for Hernia Disease is a procedure that involves cutting the abdominal wall to remove the inguinal hernia. It is a common surgical procedure and is usually done on an outpatient basis. Open surgery, involves making one or more large incisions in the abdomen.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: Laparoscopic surgery for Hernia Disease is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses small incisions in the abdomen are made to complete the procedure and a thin telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope to examine and treat internal organs in your abdomen.
  • Robotic-assisted procedure: The procedure for treating hernia by robotic surgery, is done using a robot to operate on patients with Hernia Disease. Like laparoscopic surgery, uses a laparoscope, and is performed with small incisions. The surgeon will be standing in the operation room and use robotic surgery to handle surgical instruments from a console. If the surgery is for a smaller hernia or weak part, it can also be done with less invasive techniques.

It is up to the surgeon to decide which approach is best for their patient. Different types of surgery have different benefits & drawbacks.

What Happens if Hernia is not Treated?

A hernia may not cause any symptoms until it starts to get bigger and more painful. When this happens, there will be a bulge near the site of the hernia. The bulge is made up of intestinal tissue or other organs that have been pushed out because there is not enough room for them inside your body.

Untreated hernia may lead to complications like bowel obstruction, bowel strangulation, gangrene, and rupture and can even result in death.


The obstruction for Hernia Disease is a common condition. It is caused by an abnormal buildup of tissue in the abdomen that blocks the flow of gas, food, and fluids. In some cases, the obstruction may be temporary, while in others it may be permanent.

Obstruction for Hernia Disease can lead to many complications such as:

  • Gas pain and bloating
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath


Part of the intestine is trapped in a way that cuts off its blood supply. The warning signs are that a person with Strangulated Hernia Disease will have difficulty breathing, they will be in severe pain, they may have nausea or vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath and cough and their skin may turn pale or blue.


Gangrene is a condition in which tissue dies due to lack of blood supply. It can occur when a hernia is not treated and the intestines are compressed, preventing the blood from reaching the tissue.

Symptoms of gangrene of untreated hernia include:

  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating and
  • Abdominal pain


A rupture of an untreated hernia is a medical emergency in which the intestine has been pushed through the hole in the abdominal wall and requires immediate surgery to repair it. It may also require surgical treatment for any other complications that have arisen due to the presence of bowel loops outside of the abdomen (such as bowel obstruction).

How can a Hernia be Prevented?

Hernia is a condition in which an organ or tissue protrudes through the muscle wall of the opening in which it is normally located. Hernia can happen anywhere in the body.

There are many ways to prevent hernia from happening. These include:

  • Exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles
  • Wear a truss if you have had one before
  • Avoid heavy lifting, bending and straining
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
  • Seek medical attention
  • Wear a weight belt if you are overweight
  • Maintain ideal body weight by eating a healthy diet
  • Eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains to avoid constipation

What are the Complications?

Hernia is a common condition that is characterized by the protrusion of an organ or part of the body through the muscle wall. This can happen anywhere in the abdomen, pelvis, and chest. Hernia can also be classified as either inguinal (in groin), femoral (in thigh) or abdominal hernia.

Complications are more likely to happen if the hernia is not treated on time. The most common complications of untreated hernia are:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Constipation
  • Fecal impaction
  • Herniorrhaphy
  • Hernia recurrence

Pelvic pain is the most common complication and can occur due to:

  • Bulging of abdominal contents into the vagina or rectum
  • Perineal hernia in which a loop of intestine or other organ comes through the junction between vagina and rectum.


The intestines are covered by a sac called the peritoneum. When this sac becomes weak, it can allow organs to move into the area between the sac and the muscles that surround it. This causes a hernia.

The most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia. This is when a piece of intestine pushes through the inguinal canal, which is found just above and to the side of the pubic bone.

Hernias can be caused by injury, straining from lifting heavy objects, chronic coughing or sneezing and pregnancy. Some people are born with hernias and others develop them later in life for various reasons.

If you have a hernia, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner it is treated, the better the outcome.