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How do you know if you have a hernia?

My stomach muscle hurts really bad on the left side. It also feels sore to the touch. Is it a hernia? How would I know if I have a hernia?
If you have pain directly in the muscle of the stomach (when you press on it for example), then it is more likely that you have sprained or strained this muscle. This commonly occurs because of vigorous exercise, such as weight lifting, or from other forms of vigorous physical activity, such as lifting heavy objects. It is always important to make sure that the pain you are experiencing is not actually from something going on inside the abdomen, say in the intestines. Intestinal or abdominal pain is deeper and more aching in character, whereas muscle pain is more superficial. If you have any doubts about whether the pain is from your muscles or from deeper inside, you will need to see your primary care doctor. They can help to rule out a deeper, more serious problem and can also give you recommendations on how to treat the muscle strain. A hernia generally presents as soreness in the groin. There may also be a bulge or a swelling in the groin or, if you are male, in the scrotum. Often the bulge can be made larger by straining the abdominal muscles. Please see your doctor, who will be able to examine you and rule out a hernia.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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