What is a hernia?
Most common in the abdomen, a hernia can also develop in the bellybutton (navel), upper thigh or groin areas of the body. A hernia develops when an organ (sometimes even fatty tissue) forces through an opening or weakened area in muscles and connective tissues (fascia) that would normally hold it in place.
A hernia can develop in a short space of time or over prolonged periods. This generally depends on the underlying cause. Sometimes a hernia is present at birth (birth defect), and at other times develops due to strain and weakness later on in life.
Typically, the majority of hernias are not initially life-threatening, but they do not naturally resolve themselves (go away on their own). Medical intervention is likely necessary and may sometimes require a surgical procedure to prevent potentially serious complications, which can become life-threatening.