A hernia occurs when an underlying organ or fatty tissue pushes through the covering muscle layer and produces a lump or localized swelling on the surface. Alternatively a hernia can occur when the top of the stomach pushes up past the diaphragm. This is termed a hiatal hernia and in this case there is no visible sign of the hernia. Most hernias occur on the lower abdomen and in the groin area. They are mostly caused by loss of muscle tone, brought about by ageing, being overweight and lack of exercise. They often caused when someone strains to lift something heavy or move something heavy, like furniture. A rarer occurrence can be as the result of sports injury causing a muscle, usually in the leg, to split, allowing the underlying tissue to bulge through. Hernias are often painless to begin with but may become more sensitive as time passes. Any hernia should not be ignored as doing so can lead to problems in the long term, especially if the hernia becomes strangulated. This happens when the blood supply to the portion protruding through the muscle is cut off. This can lead to life threatening consequences.
1. A small lump or localized swelling on the lower abdomen or groin
The most common and noticeable symptom is the appearance of an egg sized lump or swelling that appears in the lower abdomen or groin. These can sometimes appear almost instantly and other times gradually grow in size. Very often they will not be painful and can be gently pushed back in, especially when lying down. Sometimes a person may experience localized pain before the lump becomes noticeable. Any hernia should be brought to the attention of your medical doctor or health professional for possible treatment.