Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do people get hernias?"
I think I have a hernia because my stomach muscles hurt real bad. What causes them? How do you get a hernia? I though it was something that athletes and weight lifters got.
Abdominal and inguinal hernias are very common. They are actually one of the most frequent reasons patients get surgeries. It occurs frequently in newborns because fetal abdominal organs are further developed on the outside of the baby's body before returning to the abdominal cavity around 10 weeks of gestation. If the abdominal muscle walls do not close up the defect, then a person is left with an abdominal wall defect, aka a hernia. Common sites where this condition occurs are at the umbilicus and inguinal or groins. Almost all of hernias heal up before the age of 3-4 years old. On the other hand, in adults muscle wall weakness is combined with excessive straining (heavy lifting), obesity, chronic coughs, and chronic constipation. Abdominal pain is often associated with any hernias, especially when a piece of bowel gets trapped in the hernia sac. About 80% of all hernias are located near the groin. Hernias may also be found below the groin (femoral), through the navel (umbilical), and along a previous incision (incisional or ventral). Please discuss with a primary care provider who can properly examine you. If needed, you can be referred to a general surgeon who can confirm the finding and discuss with you a possible surgery.
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