Causes of Hernias

Hernias are a common phenomenon in which preperitoneal fat or small intestine comes through a hole in the abdomen wall and, usually in the groin area and the umbilicus. These protrusions can generally be seen and felt. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 700,000 hernia cases a year in the United States alone. There are different types of hernias, and depending on the location, there may be different causes and treatments. The most common types of hernias are inguinal, umbilical, incisional, femoral, and hiatal.

Causes of Inguinal Hernias

Inguinal hernias occur when the intestines bulge into the inguinal canal, the passage that extends through the abdominal wall and contains nerves and blood vessels vital to the groin area. Most hernias are inguinal, and they occur because of natural weakness in the area. Many inguinal hernias seem to have no cause, but there are some reasons they may occur.

  • Increased pressure in the abdomen
  • A weak spot in the abdominal wall, often due to age
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive coughing or sneezing

Causes of Umbilical Hernias

Umbilical hernias happen when the intestine protrudes through the belly button. Although this usually affects children under five years old, it can happen to adults. In children, this typically happens because the spot where the umbilical cord used to come from didn’t develop properly. In adults, the cause is usually due to increased pressure in the area.

Causes of Incisional Hernias

Incisional hernias are the result of surgery, and arise in the areas surrounding incisions from the chest to the groin.

Causes of Femoral Hernias

Femoral hernias occur near the femoral artery in the inner thigh and groin area. Much like inguinal hernias, sometimes the cause isn’t obvious. However, there are definitely contributing factors that may lead to femoral hernias down the road.

  • Excessive pressure when passing urine or stool
  • Obesity
  • Lifting or pushing heavy objects
  • Persistent, strong cough
  • Giving birth
  • Receiving dialysis
  • Abnormal buildup of abdominal fluid

Causes of Hiatal Hernias

Hiatal hernias arise when the uppermost part of the stomach gets pushed through the little space in the diaphragm where the esophagus passes through. There are a few primary reasons these could occur.

  • Injury to the area
  • Age-related changes to the diaphragm
  • Being born with a large hiatus
  • Persistent and increased pressure to the area

Contact Us / Request an Appointment: For more information about hernia repair, our doctors, or to schedule an appointment with Healthpointe, please call us at (888) 824-5580.

Helpful Tips for Hernial Sleep

Hernias are a common phenomenon in which an organ, usually in the abdominal area, exits through the wall of the space in which it generally exists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 200,000 hernia cases a year in the United States alone. Despite this, many people are unfamiliar with all aspects of the condition, especially when it comes to how to go about daily life with a painful protrusion bulging out of their body. As you probably know, sleep is a vital part of the healing process. However, many people can find sleep difficult when dealing with a hernia. If you’re a stomach sleeper, you might as well forget about a comfortable night’s rest. Based on what type of hernia you’re experiencing, different sleeping habits can possibly get you snoozing all through the night.

Inguinal Hernias

  • Inguinal hernias affect the inner groin area. People who suffer from this type of hernia generally feel pain in the groin, pelvis, and testicles, and the lump sticking out of them occupies the same area. One thing you can do to help get you to sleep with this type of hernia is to sleep on your back. This avoids putting extra pressure on the protrusion, which when paired with an ice pack can relieve some discomfort.
  • Another option is to utilize a flat pad hernia belt by Wonder Care. The hernia belt applies an appropriate amount of pressure to the left, right, or both sides of the protuberance in order to properly support it, alleviating some of the pain associated with it.

Hiatal Hernias

  • Hiatal hernias affect the upper stomach area. Usually, what happens with a hiatal hernia is that the uppermost part of the stomach gets pushed through the little space in the diaphragm where the esophagus passes through. This can sometimes make food or stomach acid get caught in the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux, heartburn, or other complications. Since this type of hernia is generally more internal, it would seem that sleeping with one is not so difficult. However, anyone who has had late night heartburn can tell you that sleeping can be impossible when it’s acting up.
  • A way to prevent this is to elevate the head of the bed by placing 6-8 inch blocks under the legs of the head of the bed. Alternatively, one could utilize a wedge pillow, which produces the same desired effect. Elevating the top half of the body makes it more difficult for food or stomach acid to travel into the esophagus. It also helps to avoid eating 2-3 hours before sleep.

Incisional Hernias

  • Incisional hernias develop around the surgical cut in the scar tissue from any previous surgery from the chest area to the groin.
  • Like with any healing surgical cut, it is best to avoid putting pressure on the site of the incisional hernia when sleeping, so it is best to sleep on your back. It’s also important to stay flat on your back so as to not bend or disfigure the wound.

Femoral Hernias

  • Femoral hernias occur in the outer groin area. Pain is typically felt in the inner thigh/groin and the stomach.
    When it comes to femoral hernias, placing a pillow between your legs can help gently leave enough space between your legs so as not to disturb or put extra pressure on the herniated organ. This ensures that the protrusion will be protected throughout the night, especially if you sneeze or cough in your sleep.

Contact Us / Request an Appointment: For more information about hernia repair, our doctors, or to schedule an appointment with Healthpointe, please call us at (888) 824-5580.