Gastro Health

Understanding the Types of Hernia Better

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by Dr. Madathupalayam Madhankumar

Published on Aug 18, 2018 and last reviewed on Oct 15, 2019   -  2 min read



The protrusion of an internal organ through a weak spot in the muscles or tissues is called a hernia. Read about its types, risk factors, and treatment.

Understanding the Types of Hernia Better

What is a hernia?

A hernia is the protrusion of an internal organ through a weakened area in the muscles or tissues. They do not pose an immediate threat to life but require surgery as they do not go away on their own. Surgery can also help prevent future complications.


Based on the exact site in the abdomen where the weakness is present, there are different types:

  1. Inguinal: When the intestines protrude through a weak spot in the lower abdominal canal it is called an inguinal hernia. It is more common in men than women.
  2. Hiatal: When a portion of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm into the chest, it is called hiatal hernia. This is seen more commonly in people over 50. It causes symptoms of GERD.
  3. Umbilical: This is a type of a hernia that may be seen in very young babies due to their abdominal walls still being weak. It is especially visible when they cry. With age, the muscles get stronger, and this condition goes away on its own.
  4. Incisional: This is a type of a hernia that occurs post surgery in the area weakened by the incision.
  5. Femoral: It occurs when the intestine pushes into the canal of the femoral artery in the upper thigh. This is common in women who are pregnant or obese.

Risk Factors

  • Multiple pregnancies.
  • Constipation.
  • Sudden loss or gain of weight.
  • Lifting very heavy objects.
  • Ascites.
  • Surgery.
  • Prolonged coughing or sneezing.
  • Obesity.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Smoking.


  • A sharp, burning pain in the affected area during coughing, sneezing, lifting weights and quick movements.
  • Pressure and discomfort in the abdomen (in the area of bulge).
  • Sometimes, no symptoms are felt.


A hernia is often diagnosed during a routine physical examination. The doctor will feel for an obvious protrusion that gets more visible with coughing.

Based on the suspected location, few tests may be ordered by the doctor to visualize the internal organs better.

  1. Barium X-ray.
  2. Endoscopy.
  3. Ultrasound.


1. Lifestyle changes

  • Eat fibrous food.
  • Keep your meals light.
  • Do not lie down immediately after a meal.
  • Stay in the healthy weight range.
  • Strengthen the muscles around the hernia bulge by exercising under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist.
  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • Stop smoking.

2. Medication

In certain cases (a hiatal hernia), medications such as antacid help relieve symptoms and are prescribed by the doctor.

3. Surgery

If a hernia causes pain and other complications, your doctor will suggest a surgical correction. This procedure will involve sewing the weakened area closed. Surgery may be via open or keyhole surgery methods.

For more information consult a laparoscopic hernia repair specialist online -->

Last reviewed at:
15 Oct 2019  -  2 min read




Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

What are the dietary changes to be made in GERD?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a 33 year old male. I have had chronic constipation since my childhood. The doctors said that my gastric motility is a bit under-par. To rule out any physical damage, I went through colonoscopy three years ago. The reports only mentioned small hemorrhoids. I was on a brief c...  Read Full »

Can I have sex after 13 days of hernia surgery?

Query: Hi doctor,I had hiatal hernia surgery and Nissen fundoplication 13 days ago. I did not have sex with my girlfriend for the past 13 days. Would it be fine to make love now? I know that having orgasm put some muscle tension over the abdomen. Will it cause any damage to the stitch?  Read Full »

What is wrong in my annual health checkup report?

Query: Hi doctor, I am a 31 year old male. Recently, I have gone for an annual health checkup. Following are the areas which are highlighted as abnormal for which I seek consultation in evaluating it better. I would like to find the root cause for the same along with medication or lifestyle changes, if a...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Hernia Surgery or Umbilical Hernia?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.