Different Types of Hernia

There are different types of hernia and it is possible that hernias occur anywhere in your body but it is more likely for them to be seen to develop in the areas of the body between the chest and hips. When an organ breaks through a cavity in the muscle or a tissue that supports it in its place a hernia occurs and there are different types of hernia. For instance, a stomach wall location that is weakened can get a push by the intestines. In most cases hernia occurs in abdominal region. Other areas like upper thigh or belly button or groin areas can also be suffered by hernia. Hernia is not life threatening but it needs to be operated on time as it does not go away by itself most of the times. The surgery for hernia can be risky and can also be accompanied by several hernia complications. In this article you will read about the different types of hernia which are commonly seen.

Different Types of Hernia

There are different types of hernia which are explained below:

  1. Inguinal or groin hernia.
  2. Ventral hernia.
  3. Femoral hernia.
  4. Incisional hernia.
  5. Umbilical hernia.
  6. Epigastric hernia.
  7. Hiatal hernia.
  8. Stoma hernia.
  9. Strangulated hernia.
  10. Spigelian hernia.
  11. Obturator hernia.
  1. Inguinal or Groin Hernia

    One of the different types of hernia includes inguinal or groin hernia and this type of hernia occurs in the groin region of the human body. Inguinal or groin hernia occurs because the intestinal tissues break through the inguinal canal. Both men and women have inguinal canal which resides at the base of the human abdomen. In men, the testicles generally drop through the inguinal canal just before birth whereas in women the uterine ligament is located in the canal. Having hernia in this location can result in expanded bulge that can be very painful during any movement. Most of the time there is no medical treatment taken for this inguinal or groin hernia as it may not cause any symptoms. Immediate medical help with proper treatment may help prevent discomfort in future.

    There are ways by which you can get to know about the presence of inguinal or groin hernia. It can be more prominently seen as the appearance is noticeable. The pubic area increases in size when you cough or stand up causing bulges. Touching inguinal hernia can be painful or sensitive leading to infection.

    There are other signs and symptoms of inguinal or groin type of hernia which may include:

    • Burning sensations.
    • A heavy or fuller sensation in the groin region is a symptom of inguinal or groin hernia.
    • A sharp pain is also felt in the groin region in this type of hernia
    • Pain while coughing, bending or exercising.
    • Swelling of the scrotum in men.
  2. Ventral Hernia

    There are different types of hernia and ventral hernia is a situation in which a weak spot in the stomach lets the tissue or an organ of the abdomen project through a cavity muscle area. When you see or feel ventral hernia it is suggested to visit a physician as soon as possible. These ventral hernias can be seen or identified by a lump on the stomach. Most commonly we see ventral hernia near the navel area, an inguinal hernia or a previous stomach incision procedure. They can be hereditary that is by birth or during or after pregnancy or it can also occur as the stomach muscles weaken with age or sometimes due to stress. Ventral hernia can occur or develop at any time. In the United States, there are around 90,000 ventral hernia repair performed every year.

    Ventral hernia is a type of hernia that may or may not occur after an abdominal operation. It can also occur after a long gap from the time of operation or it may even not happen at all. The chances of ventral hernia increases when the patient tries to involve himself/ herself in physical activity or lifting heavy items too soon after the ventral hernia surgery. Ventral hernia cannot heal automatically. Ventral hernia has to be treated well with physician's guidance. In some of the cases in which the ventral hernia is mild and is not dangerous it can be treated without any sort of surgery by pushing the projecting tissue back, so that the hernia cavity can close up naturally. Ventral hernia sometimes should be surgically repaired in order to avoid the risk of intestines being cut off from the body's blood supply. This phenomenon is known as strangulation hernia which is considered as a medical emergency.

    Some people do not notice any symptoms with a ventral hernia whereas swelling will be noticeable to some people when there is force applied on the abdomen by moving or doing any activity. Bulge will be seen while coughing or pushing heavy things or lifting. That can also lead to severe pain which is also a symptom. Symptoms of ventral hernia take weeks or months to appear. It is possible for a doctor to diagnose a ventral hernia by observing and taking tests. Any of the symptoms below should be taken to the doctor immediately for prevention. It includes:

    • Pain in the stomach
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Mild discomfort in the abdominal area
    • Outward swelling of skin or tissues in the stomach area is a major symptom of ventral hernia.
  3. Femoral Hernia

    If the skin or the tissue pushes through the wall of the femoral canal and a bulge is seen near your thigh region, it is called femoral hernia and it is one of the different types of hernia. Femoral artery, small veins and nerves are all under the category of femoral canal. It resides just below the inguinal canal in the groin. Femorocele is another name for femoral hernia.

    Femoral hernia is a type of hernia which is most likely seen in women than in men. But this femoral hernia is very rare. Only five percent of the different types of hernias are femoral. Generally no symptoms are found in femoral hernia. Sometimes they can lead to major issues if the femoral hernia causes obstruction in the blood flow to the intestines. This situation is called strangulation hernia which is a medical emergency and is supposed to be treated in emergency.

    It is also possible not to realize whether a person is suffering from femoral hernia. Symptoms are not usually seen when the femoral hernia are small or medium in size. Most of the times there is no bulging seen if a person is suffering from small femoral hernia.

    Larger femoral hernia is more likely to cause bulge and make the hernia more visible. It can also cause some discomfort to the patient. Swelling is noticeable in the groin area near upper thigh. The pain sometimes becomes unbearable while standing up, lifting heavy items, or taking strain in any way. This femoral hernia is mostly located near the hip bone which can cause pain in the hip. Severe symptoms of femoral hernia includes:

    Strangulation hernia is a very serious condition which can be caused by femoral hernia. When femoral hernia is obstructing your intestines it depicts severe problems. Strangulation causes bowel and intestinal tissues to die, which can be life threatening. This situation is considered as a medical emergency. Some of the major symptoms of a femoral hernia are:

    • Sudden groin pain
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Major abdominal pain is a symptom of femoral hernia.

    If you or any one you know is struggling from the above signs call 911 and ask for medical help. Femoral hernia obstructing intestines can lead to stop the blood flow to the intestines. Immediate medical help can fix the problem and can save your life.

  4. Incisional Hernia

    Sometimes a previous incision in the abdominal wall can lead to hernia. This type of hernia is called Incisional hernia and this is one of the different types of hernia. The incision which causes hernia would have been made to cure an internal organ such as the appendix or a caesarian section. After the surgery the doctor closes the layers of the stomach wall with stiches and this closure sometimes comes apart, failing to heal the incision properly. It can also just come apart with time.

    This incisional hernia is a type of hernia problem that is very common. Almost 12 to 15 percent of the stomach surgeries lead to an incisional hernia. Previously, and now also it is most of the time not repaired properly which increases the chances of complications, infections and failure. Reports from other researchers revealed that 50 to 60 percent of incisional repairs failed within 2 years of time.

    There are symptoms that reveal incisional hernia including pain, pressure, fever and swelling or bulging. This incisional hernia is noticeable when examined. Signs such as bulging near the surgical wound, bleeding and visible projection of internal tissue, intestine, muscle, organ or fatty contents depict incisional hernia. Common hernias display signs and symptoms that seem like each other. Luckily, these common symptoms and signs of hernias make it easy for the doctor to detect an incisional hernia that result from the complication of surgery.

    Some of the symptoms that show an incisional hernia are as follows:

    • Bulging in the surgical area.
    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Infection
    • Swelling
    • Aching
    • Bowel obstruction, red streaks or redness is a major sign of incisional hernia.
    • Foul-smelling drainage is another major symptom of incisional hernia.
    • Visible protrusion is also seen in incisional hernia.
    • Signs related to compromised organ (digestion issues, jaundice due to protrusion of liver.)
  5. Umbilical Hernia

    An umbilical hernia is one of the different types of hernia which takes place when a part of the intestine bulges through the navel opening in the stomach muscles. This umbilical hernia is the type of hernia which is common and does not do any harm. Commonly it occurs in infants, but also sometimes is seen in adults. An umbilical hernia is noticeable in an infant prominently when the baby cries. Crying causes the baby's navel to bulge. This is a very common sign of umbilical hernia.

    Most of the time umbilical hernia in children gets a closure on their own by the age 1 or 2; it may also take longer which is also common. Umbilical hernia that does not get closed by the age of 4 or those that occurs in adulthood may needs to be operated. The operation will prevent complications.

    Umbilical hernia appears as a bulge or swelling near the belly button. If a child has umbilical hernia it will be noticeable by the bulge which will appear when the baby is crying or coughing or straining. When the baby is calm or lies on his or her back there will be no bulge seen. This umbilical hernia is painless when in children but it can cause discomfort when seen during adulthood.

  6. Epigastric Hernia

    This epigastric hernia is the type of hernia which is small in size and a patient can have epigastric hernia more than one at a time. Epigastric hernia is a complication that happens to be in the middle of the stomach that is between the breastbone and the umbilicus. It happens when fat impulses beyond the stomach wall which is not very strong. There are no early signs for epigastric hernia but if you have epigastric hernia it might give the patient acute ache in the top part of the abdominal region.

    To treat epigastric hernia which is one of the different types of hernia the patient should consult with his/ her physician and gain knowledge about the modes of hernia treatments. This epigastric hernia is not seen/ visible unless the patient is crying or trying to have a bowel movement.

    When the internal organs in the human stomach protrude through the abdominal/ stomach muscle due to a weak spot then an epigastric hernia occurs. Infants might have epigastric hernia when he/she is born & might seem to disappear or appear which is why it is also referred to as "reducible" hernia. It can be cured on its own as the infant grows and her/ his abdominal muscles become strong. Epigastric hernia is similar to the umbilical hernia, except for the truth that an epigastric hernia is between the navel and the breastbone but umbilical hernia is formed around the navel region. An epigastric hernia is tiny and it makes the space in the abdomen/stomach force through the muscle wall sometimes due to which the portions of the internal organs move beyond the hole in the muscle.

  7. Hiatal Hernia

    Hiatal hernia is one of the different types of hernia in which a part of your stomach impulses upward across your diaphragm. There is a small opening (hiatus) in your diaphragm through which the food pipe that is the esophagus passes on its way to attach to the abdomen. This hiatal hernia is the type of hernia that can be instigated when the abdomen pushes up through this opening. Most of the time there is no problems caused because of small hiatal hernia. One may know about it only when doctor gets to come across while diagnosing for some other issue.

    A larger hiatal hernia can cause a bit of difficulty as this hiatal hernia allows food and acid to back up in your food pipe that will lead to heartburn. Prevention and measures with proper medication can relieve these problems, but a large hiatal hernia can require operation.

    Small hiatal hernia does not have any signs or symptoms whereas larger hiatal hernia can cause signs and symptoms which are as follows:

    • Belching is a sign of hiatal hernia,
    • Feeling too full after regular meal,
    • Heartburn,
    • Difficulty in swallowing,
    • Chest or stomach pain,
    • Vomiting blood or passing black stools indicating gastrointestinal bleeding is a major symptom of hiatal hernia.
  8. Stoma Hernia

    When an organ breaks through a cavity in the muscle or a tissue that supports it in its place a hernia occurs. For instance, the stomach walls that are weakened can get a push by the intestines. The hernia allows the stomach muscles to bulge out which is noticeable when there is a stress given on the abdomen like while coughing, sneezing or bending.

    A Stoma hernia is one of the different types of hernia which adds to the problem of hernia.

    Stoma must pass through the muscles of the stomach walls when brought out to the exterior of it. This creates a possible site of weakness immediately. Most likely the stomach walls form a snug attached around the stoma opening. A hernia is created when the abdominal muscle come away from the control of the stoma. The stoma hernia is the type of hernia that adds to the existing hernia problem. There are possibilities that lead to a stoma hernia which include being overweight, having an infection in the wound at the time stoma was made, and coughing. It takes a lot of time for the stoma to develop with the area near the stoma which is stretching and becoming weaker with time. The area near the stoma or the whole stoma bulges every time the person coughs sneezes or bends over due to the weakness or gap. Hernias are sometimes permanent and sometimes temporary but all kinds are generally uncomfortable.

  9. Strangulated Hernia

    The most difficult or dangerous complication of stomach walls hernia are the strangulated hernia. Most of the different types of hernias have free and simple surgeries whereas strangulated hernia are the most complicated with major risks. This strangulated hernia is the type of hernia which cannot be ignored and needs immediate surgery.

  10. Spigelian Hernia

    Spigelian hernia is a rarely occurring type of hernia that happens along the outer side of the rectus abdominal muscle, which is at the side of the middle of the stomach. Since it is very rare type of hernia, not much research has been done on this spigelian hernia.

  11. Obturator Hernia

    Obturator hernia is very difficult for the doctor to diagnose and is one of the different types of hernia which generally occurs in women. This obturator hernia projects out from the gap in the pelvic area through the opening in the pelvic bone. There are no bulges seen in this obturator hernia but the hernia can cause nausea or vomiting. Because of no bulging or dispersed pain it is very difficult to diagnose this type of hernia.

Other Different Types of Hernia

Hernia can also be classified in other ways. Below mentioned are some other different types of hernia:

Acquired Vs. Congenital Types of Hernia

There are two ways through which different types of hernias can occur. It can be by birth or it can also be acquired by daily life activities and bad lifestyle. Firstly, there are acquired hernias which can be caused by the normal living ways such as child birth or weight gain or muscle strain. Secondly, congenital hernias which are present from birth and occur at areas of weaknesses in stomach walls. Hernias in children are always congenital.

Reducible Vs. Non-Reducible Types of Hernia

Reducible and non-reducible are the two types of hernia which depicts whether the bulge can be flattened or not. Firstly, a hernia that can be flattened while lying down or pushing it inside gently is called reducible hernia. It is not dangerous to a person having it but should be treated immediately to avoid further complications. Secondly, a hernia that is trapped in the cavity of the intestine with a person not able to flatten the bulge out is called non-reducible hernia. These are painful and require immediate medication.

Potentially life-Threatening Types of Hernia

There are different types of hernia which can be dangerous to the life of the person having it. Obstructed hernia is the type of hernia when the tissues are trapped. These are also known as non-reducible hernia and are serious as it may lead to tissue strangulation which is considered as a medical emergency. This strangulated hernia is a type of hernia which occurs when a part of the tissue gets trapped and there is no blood supply in the intestines.

Treatment for Different Types of Hernia

There are different types of treatment options for different types of hernia. Your doctor after diagnosing the problem will decide whether or not you need treatment.

Some of the options of treatments for different types of hernia are:

Lifestyle Changes for Different Types of Hernia

Changes in diets and taking in more nutritious food can treat hiatal hernia. Avoiding larger or heavier meals or not lying down after a meal or keeping accurate body weight by exercising regularly.

Changing the diet will lead to comfort if not then your hernia need to be operated. Avoiding foods that cause acid reflux or heartburn, like spicy food or tomato based food can help you improve your hernia. Losing weight and not smoking cigarettes can help you avoid reflux.

Medication for Different Types of Hernia

Medicines are the most tried and tested method of getting relieved by the discomfort caused by different types of hernia. Medicines like antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are generally prescribed by doctors for different types of hernia.

Surgical Options for Different Types of Hernia

There are majorly two different types of hernia surgeries. After a certain time if your hernia is not relaxing or it is growing your doctors may decide to get the hernia operated. Your hernia can be repaired by making a hole in the stomach and filling it up with the artificial mesh and again sewing it up.

There are options in surgeries which are chosen according to the size of the hernia. There is laparoscopic surgery or open surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is very technical in which a camera and smaller surgical equipment is used to operate using only a few cuts in your abdomen.

Open surgery is the typical surgery type which requires a lot of time to get it healed. You will be bound to take rest after an open surgery for hernia. The risk of recurrence of the hernia is high when repaired by open surgery.

Potential Complications in Different Types of Hernia

There are complications for different types of hernia. If the hernia is untreated then it may grow and become painful. Also your intestine could get trapped in the stomach wall. This can lead to severe pain, nausea, constipation and obstruction of bowel. Nearby tissues are also harmed because of the hernias which are left untreated. It can cause swelling, pain in the nearby area.

A strangulated hernia is very dangerous and it required immediate medical help. If the intestine is trapped and it does not allow blood flow, it causes death of the intestinal tissue.

3D Video of Different Types of Hernia

Prevention of Different Types of Hernia

Prevention is better than treating the different types of hernia. You cannot help yourself if the hernia has occurred due to weakness in muscle but you can make sure it never occurs due to any other reason which you can have under your control. This can help you stay away from a hernia or if a hernia has occurred it will help you to make that hernia stay under control. Some of the prevention tips for different types of hernia include:

  • Maintain healthy body weight by practicing exercises regularly is a good way to prevent any type of hernia.
  • Giving up smoking can aid in preventing few different types of hernia
  • Trying to lift objects with the help of your knees and not back to prevent different types of hernia.
  • Immediately seeking medical help when you are sick to avoid getting a long time cough.
  • Avoid lifting weights that are too heavy for you to lift.
  • Straining to be avoided during bowel movements or urination is a great way to prevent different types of hernias.

It is very important to treat any type of hernia as soon as you know about the problem. Also try to minimize the effects of hernia by taking prevention measures.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: June 23, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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