In general language, hernia refers to a protrusion of tissue through a structure or part of an organ. In simpler terms, hernia occurs when an internal organ penetrates through muscle tissue or a membrane.
‘Hernia’ is a Latin word which means “a rupture”. Medically, hernia is also known as a rupture. Most commonly, hernias occur in the abdomen. A part of abdominal wall may become weak and may allow a localized hole to develop; also known as a defect.
A hernia has three parts- hernia’s contents, the hernia sac, and the orifice hole (the hole). Not all hernias cause pain and you may not even realize you have one until your doctor discovers it during a regular physical examination.
However, in most cases, patients suffering from hernia do feel some or discomfort at the site of rupture. A sense of lump is characteristic to the affected area. Usually at first, fatty tissue goes through and then an organ protrudes later.
Based on their occurrence, hernias can be divided into two main categories:
Congenital- Some babies are born with hernia. A congenital hernia is present in a baby when he is born, and may not be detected for years. Some babies are born with weak tissues which puts them at a risk of developing hernia much later in their lives.
Acquired- When the muscles or connective tissue in your abdomen are weakened or damaged during lifetime, the hernia that is developed is classified as acquired.
Several agents can cause the compartment which envelops an organ to weaken, and upon receiving increased pressure this boundary breaks. Such agents are:
Genes- If either or both your parents have suffered hernia, you may experience it too.
Age- The older you get, the weaker your tissues become, putting you at a greater risk of developing hernia.
Ehlers- Danlos Syndrome- It is a group of uncommon genetic disorders that affect humans and domestic animals caused by a defect in collagen synthesis.
Marfan Syndrome- This genetic disorder of the connective tissues also is a risk factor for hernia.
Pregnancy- When a woman is pregnant, her muscles stretch, making it easier for tissues to jut through.
Weight Loss- When a person who is over-weight looses generous amounts of weight, he may become susceptible to hernias.
Whooping Cough- Coughing raises pressure on the abdomen. Any illness which causes severe coughing can trigger hernia. This holds true for a disease as common as severe flu.
Gender- Males have a naturally weak groin area that increases their risk of getting incarcerated hernia (groin hernia).
Smoking- Body’s ability to produce enzymes which promote cell creation and growth is adversely affected by smoking. If you are a smoker, you are at a greater risk of developing hernia.
If you have hernia, certain factors will determine if your doctor will prescribe a surgery or not- the location of hernia, your symptoms of hernia, and the content of hernia. If you need surgery, your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of the procedure to you in detail.
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