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Could Your Abdominal Discomfort Be a Hernia?

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge, bump, or swelling under the skin of your abdomen or groin, one that possibly disappears when you recline or lie down. Sometimes these bulges may not be noticeable to you, but virtually all hernias through the abdominal wall display some sort of bump, even if it’s not easy to find. 

However, additional symptoms are often absent, particularly in the early stages. If you’re experiencing abdominal discomfort, it could be related to a hernia, though, even if you can’t detect the bulge. Hernias have a wide range of causes, and any abdominal pain warrants a visit to OBGYN Care for an examination. Hernias are typically easy to diagnose and treat, but they can also become dangerous when ignored. 

Causes of hernias

Any time body tissue pushes through a muscle wall or other natural barrier, the problem is called a hernia. In common use, the word usually refers to an abdominal condition where a portion of your intestine forms a bulge through a failure of the muscle wall. 

Despite the somewhat frightening description, many hernias have few symptoms, and treatment may simply be a matter of ongoing observation, a wait-and-see approach that avoids unnecessary treatment. 

The muscle wall fails for many reasons. Defects at birth may create weak spots that don’t give out until you’re much older. Similarly, obesity and pregnancy can cause strains that also leave weak spots. Heavy lifting or strenuous exertion can cause the muscle wall to fail. Anything that adds to the load on the muscle wall can contribute, including constipation or chronic coughing. 

When your hernia causes discomfort

Though hernias are common, affecting about 5% of the population, acute pain because of them is not. It’s more likely that you’ll feel tenderness at the site of the bulge or a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen. The bulge area may have aching or burning sensations. 

When you lift something or bend over, you might feel discomfort in your abdomen or groin, a sensation that something isn’t right, though it’s possible you may have an occasional shooting pain. 

Strangulated hernias

A serious complication, strangulated hernias cause sudden pain that gets severe fast. The hernia itself could turn dark, showing red or purple colors. You may feel nauseous, and you could vomit, and all these symptoms accompany a fever. 

The portion of tissue that penetrates the abdominal wall is cut off from its blood supply, and this strangulation creates a potentially life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention though, fortunately, it’s rare. 

Any abdominal discomfort should be discussed with your doctor at OBGYN Care. Contact the most convenient office in Newport Beach or Irvine, by phone or online. Treatments include regular monitoring, supportive trusses, or surgery for more extensive or advanced cases. Your hernia should not slow you down, so book your appointment today.

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