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What are the different types of hernias?

If you are a hernia patient in Alabama, you may wonder what has caused this sometimes painful condition and what your options are for treatment. The word "hernia" derives from the Latin word for "rupture," and it describes part of an organ or tissue that protrudes from a structure in the body meant to contain it. Hernias most commonly involve the intestines, but other organs may rupture in this manner as well. For example, a hiatal hernia occurs when a part of the stomach protrudes through the opening in the diaphragm that allows access to the esophagus. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are six common types of hernias. They derive their names from the location where they occur. In addition to the hiatal hernia, the five common types and their locations are as follows: 

  • Femoral: Outer groin/upper thigh
  • Incisional: At the site of a previous abdominal surgery
  • Inguinal: Inner groin
  • Umbilical: Navel (belly button)
  • Ventral: Abdominal wall

The only way to repair a hernia is with surgery. However, if your hernia is not causing you any symptoms and/or is small, your doctor may not recommend surgical treatment until it becomes problematic for you. Some patients observe watchful waiting with a hernia for years or even decades before requiring surgical treatment. 

However, a hernia that is growing larger or causing pain and other symptoms may require surgical repair. Hernia repair can involve an open procedure or laparoscopy. In either case, it is common for doctors to employ surgical mesh to reinforce the repair and prevent a recurrence. For approximately the last 20 years, less than 10 percent of hernia repairs have not involved surgical mesh. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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