A common belief is that only men suffer from hernias. It is true that hernias do most often occur in men, but did you know that they can also occur in women and children?
Being diagnosed with a hernia comes as a surprise to most women, because the chronic pain associated with a hernia is commonly in the pelvic area and is, therefore, assumed to be related to the ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus. But there are four types of hernias that can develop in women:
- Femoral hernias are rare but occur almost exclusively in women. These hernias appear just below the crease in the groin and are usually the result of pregnancy and childbirth. A weakness in the lower groin allows an intestinal sac to drop into the femoral canal, the space near the femoral vein that carries blood from the leg. These hernias can be painful and are prone to develop strangulation as an early complication and once diagnosed, early repair is strongly advised.
- Indirect inguinal hernias are common and are due to a natural weakness in the internal inguinal ring. These hernias have a greater risk of becoming strangulated, making early diagnosis and repair extremely important.
- Ventral hernias (incisional hernias) sometimes appear at the site of a previous surgery – even years later. They vary in size from tiny to very large and complex. If left untreated, ventral hernias may widen and become extremely difficult to repair.
- Umbilical hernias occur near the navel, which has a natural weakness from the blood vessels of the umbilical cord. They may occur in infants just after birth, and may resolve at three or four years of age. But this area of weakness can persist throughout life, and can occur in women, men, and children at any time. These are the most common types of hernias in children. In adults, umbilical hernias will not resolve and may progressively get worse. Sometimes their cause is abdominal pressure from excessive weight, excessive coughing, or pregnancy.
Symptoms of hernias include:
- A bulge or swelling in the abdomen that can be seen and felt
- Episodes of pain and tenderness
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pain when straining, lifting, or coughing
Do you have questions? Concerns? Hernia anxiety? Call to schedule a consultation, today.