A hernia occurs when some form of pressure forces part of the intestines through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. This generally results in a bulge on the sides of your pubic bone, and it can also be accompanied by a burning sensation, weakness, pain, or pressure in the groin or near the bulge – especially when straining that area with physical activity. However, although all of these symptoms can exist, it’s possible to not experience any of them at all. In that case, your doctor will recognize the hernia during a physical examination. Hernias are usually treated with surgery to repair the abdominal wall, and can be quite painful. In some circumstances, they can also be left alone without surgery as long as they are closely monitored.
Causes of Hernias
- Lifting heavy objects
- Sudden weight gain
- Perpetual coughing or sneezing
Types of Hernias
There are a few different types of hernias, such as incisional, umbilical, femoral, and hiatal. However, in the vast majority of the cases – especially for men – the most common type of hernia is an inguinal hernia. In an inguinal hernia, part of the intestines protrudes through the abdominal wall into the inguinal canal, near your groin. This occurs much more frequently in men as a result of a natural relatively weak spot in that specific area of the abdominal wall. When a health care provider asks you to "turn your head and cough," s/he is checking for this kind of hernia.
As always, if you suspect that you may have a hernia, consult a doctor to determine what course of action should be taken.