What are the Symptoms of an Internal Hernia?

Internal hernias are relatively rare, but they can be serious medical conditions. They occur when a part of the intestine or other abdominal organs becomes trapped within the abdominal cavity, often in or around a defect or opening within the abdominal wall. The symptoms of an internal hernia can vary based on the location and severity but may include:

  • Abdominal Pain: Internal hernias typically cause abdominal pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe, cramping pain. The pain may be intermittent or constant.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Internal hernias can lead to nausea and vomiting, often due to partial or complete intestinal obstruction.
  • Abdominal Distension: The abdomen may become swollen or distended, particularly if the hernia causes a blockage of the intestine.
  • Bowel Changes: Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, may occur.
  • Fever and Infection: In some cases, an internal hernia can lead to tissue damage or infection if blood flow to a trapped segment of the intestine is compromised.
  • Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to the touch.

The specific symptoms of an internal hernia can vary depending on the location of the hernia within the abdominal cavity. Internal hernias may be categorized into various types, such as paraduodenal, pericecal, or transmesenteric hernias, each with its own characteristics.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an internal hernia or are experiencing symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal distension, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Internal hernias can be life-threatening, as they can lead to bowel obstruction, ischemia (reduced blood flow to the intestines), and tissue damage. Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, medical imaging (such as CT scans or X-rays), and possibly surgery to correct the hernia and prevent further complications. Treatment is based on the type and location of the hernia and the individual’s overall health. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial in managing internal hernias effectively.