The hernias of the abdominal wall are among the most common of all surgical problems. The knowledge of these hernias (usual and unusual) is an essential component of the general and pediatric surgeon’s arsenal. A hernia is a protrusion of tissue through a weakness in the abdominal wall, which can be external or internal.
Signs and symptoms
The abdominal hernias can be detected doing a physical examination of the patient routine, by the general practitioner or specialist where usually pain on palpation is presented.
The characteristics of abdominal hernias are the following:
- Swelling or feeling of fullness at the site of the hernia (abdomen).
- Sensation of pain that radiates towards the area where the hernia is located.
- Occasionally, there may be no pain or sensitivity during the physical examination.
- An increase in intra-abdominal pressure may occur.
The characteristics of imprisoned abdominal hernias are the following:
- The painful enlargement of a hernia or anterior defect.
- It can not be manipulated (either spontaneously or manually).
- Nausea, vomiting and symptoms of intestinal obstruction (possibly) may occur.
The characteristics of strangulated abdominal hernias are the following:
- Patients have symptoms of an incarcerated hernia .
- Systemic toxicity secondary to intestinal ischemia is possible.
- Strangulation is likely if the pain of an incarcerated hernia persists after the reduction of it.
- Suspect an alternative diagnosis in patients who have a large amount of pain and no evidence of incarceration or strangulation.
Causes and Development of an abdominal hernia
People can be born with weaknesses that make them prone to acquire hernias. Anything or object that causes muscle tension weakens the tissue, causing an increase in abdominal pressure, which later and may eventually induce it or lead to an abdominal hernia.
The examples listed below to get a hernia include: Obesity, lifting heavy objects, constipation, smoking, poor diet or persistent cough.
Ultimately, all hernias are caused by a combination of weakness and muscle tension, where a weak spot in muscle tears lowers the pressure of tension in an internal organ or tissue that pushes through the tear. Sometimes, under heavy pressure, you may feel the pain of an abdominal hernia tear .