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How dangerous are hernias?

My brother (19 years old) got a hernia recently and I'm concerned how it will affect him. I don't know anything about this and I was wondering if these are fatal at all and, if they are, how fatal? He got it in his stomach area while he was working out. The doctor says it's from stress on the muscles in the stomach area but I'm not sure what he means.
Hernias occur when contents that are normally contained inside the abdominal cavity protrude out of the abdomen through a weakness in the abdominal wall. The hernias can contain fat or even a segment of intestine. Hernias can occur in the groin (protruding into the scrotum, the most common type), in the uppermost segment of the leg (a femoral hernia), or higher up in the abdomen (called a ventral hernia). Regardless of what is actually protruding into the hernia, it may be uncomfortable and cause pain. The dangerous aspect of the hernia is that at some point it may become incarcerated (unable to be pushed back into the abdomen) and later strangulated (where the blood supply to the contents of the hernia is compromised). Strangulation of the hernia, if severe enough, can lead to tissue death and infection. If a loop of intestine is contained within the hernia, then a bowel obstruction is another potential complication. The best advice would be for your brother to seek consultation with a general surgeon so that they can discuss these risks, as well as the benefits of surgical correction. Hernia repairs are among the most common surgical procedures conducted in this country and are generally done as an outpatient.
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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