What is a Hernia?
A hernia is the movement of part of an organ, out of its normal
position through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue
wall. In most cases the word hernia refers to a loop of intestine
(bowel) pushing through a weak area in the wall of the abdomen
although hernias can occur in other parts of the body.
The most common place for hernias to appear is in the groin.
Other places are in and around the belly button and where a scar is
present. In bad cases hernias can cut off the blood supply to an
Signs & Symptoms
Many men describe a feeling of 'something giving way' that is
followed by slight groin pain. Later, the pain disappears and a
soft lump under the skin appears. The lump disappears when you lie
down, and gets bigger if you cough, sneeze, strain, or exercise
vigorously. In some cases hernias can be as large as a football or
as small as a golf ball.
What causes it?
Hernias in adults may arise as a result of the strain caused by
excessive coughing, lifting heavy weights or straining to produce a
bowel movement. A hernia may develop due to being over- weight or
from scars from previous surgery.
Most hernias are just a nuisance but this doesn't mean you should
ignore them. Always get a hernia checked by a doctor.
The main treatment for a hernia is surgery, replacing the
protruded part and repairing the weakness in the wall so preventing
Hernia repairs are in fact the most common male operation
undertaken by the NHS - over 100,000 are performed each year. Most
men can go home the same day.
There is no sure way of avoiding a hernia, however the following
- Avoiding constipation by taking plenty of fruit, fibre and
fluids each day
- Lifting weights correctly, by bending at the knees and keeping
a straight back
- Maintaining an ideal weight
- Avoiding excess coughing by stopping smoking.
For more information visit the British Hernia Centre website: http://www.hernia.org/ and
the NHSinform website at: