Signs and symptoms of hernia
All types of hernia result in a bulge or bump at the site of an affected area. Common symptoms according to type of hernia include:
- Inguinal hernia: A lump on either side of the pubic bone (the area where the thigh and groin area meet). This lump or bulge can be felt in the area when standing upright. Other symptoms include pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen, an ache or burning sensation at the site of the lump, and a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen or groin (accompanied by pressure or weakness). Males may experience pain and swelling in their testicles when the hernia descends into the scrotum. Babies and children may show signs of a hernia when crying, straining during a bowel movement or coughing. Babies and children may also experience a loss of appetite and show signs of irritability.
- Hiatal hernia: Difficulty swallowing, acid reflux or heartburn, belching (burping), black stools (faeces), vomiting blood and chest or abdominal pain.
- Umbilical hernia: A bulge or protruding bellybutton can be seen and felt most often when a baby is crying or displaying signs of strain such as coughing. The bulge may seem to disappear when the baby is lying down or begins to calm. Adults will experience abdominal discomfort. Pain, vomiting, bulge tenderness and swelling or discolouration are all red flags needing medical attention.
- Incisional hernia: Signs include a bump or bulge on the surgical incision scar, visible protrusion, infection, fever, pain or discomfort, redness or inflammation and foul-smelling drainage.
- Femoral hernia: Small-to-moderate sized hernias typically don’t cause obvious symptoms. Larger hernias begin to cause discomfort and pain (particularly when standing, straining in any way or lifting heavy objects) and are also typically visible in the groin area (near the upper thigh). Pain is often noted on the hip bone as a result. Strangulation (obstruction of the intestines restricting blood flow) can occur and cause severe stomach and sudden groin pain, as well as nausea and vomiting.