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Types of Hernia

Hernias are classified by their location on the abdominal wall. They are grouped into the four following categories.

Inguinal hernia
These are most common in men occurring in the groin area and formed by a weak spot in the abdominal muscle. Over 750,000 inguinal hernia repairs are performed annually in the United States.

Umbilical hernia
This type of hernia occurs at the belly button and look like a bulging navel. They can be present since birth or can happen over time due to obesity, excessive coughing or pregnancy. The hernia occurs at a naturally weakened area where the umbilical cord was once attached.

Ventral hernia
Ventral hernias occur on the front of the abdominal wall at the site of a prior surgical incision. Surgical scaring can weaken over months or years and result in a hernia. The likelihood of developing a ventral hernia increases with smoking, obesity, steroid use and chronic coughing.

Hiatal hernia
These occur through a hole in the diaphragm that allows the esophagus to pass through and join the stomach. A weakened or enlarged area in the diaphragm allows the stomach to bulge into the chest cavity. These hernias can result in acid reflux and scarring of the esophagus. Larger hiatal hernias can result in other abdominal organs like the stomach and colon entering the chest cavity. Common symptoms include heartburn, difficulty swallowing food, chest pain after eating or the feeling that food is coming up the back of their throat.

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