Different Types of Hernia in Men

A hernia through the abdomen can occur as a result of exercising, coughing, straining on the toilet, lifting heavy objects, or even during sex. Hernias generally result from weak areas in your abdominal muscles and ligaments, causing your intestines or blood vessels to pass through and bulge.

Men commonly describe the sensation of a hernia as feeling like something has popped, or given way.

The name of a hernia relates to its location on the body. These are some of the types that may be seen in men.

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Inguinal Hernias

Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernias. The inguinal canal is where the testes descend before birth. The canal contains the spermatic cord and blood vessels.

An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue (like fat or intestines) protrudes through a weakness in your abdominal cavity near your groin. The herniated part can then travel through the opening and into the groin or the scrotum.

Inguinal hernias can generally be pushed back or even slide back and forth on their own. However, if the segment of intestine gets stuck and strangulates, that is an emergency—but it can be fixed with minimally-invasive surgery.

Umbilical Hernias

Umbilical hernias occur when the abdominal wall is weakened at the point of the umbilical cord (belly button). It is the second most common type of hernia in adults.

These types of hernias tend to protrude outward from your belly button. These hernias can also generally be reduced manually or repaired with surgery.

Epigastric Hernias

Epigastric hernias are protrusions of fat or sometimes intestine through the abdominal wall between the navel and the breastbone.

Ventral Hernias

A ventral, or incisional, hernia occurs when scar tissue weakens the abdominal wall after a surgical procedure or as a result of trauma. These hernias can occur anywhere on the abdomen where you have a scar, like the midline or lateral edges.

Obturator Hernias

An obturator hernia occurs when part of the intestine passes through the gap between the bones of the front of the pelvis.

Hiatal Hernia

A hiatal hernia is one that happens internally and is not visible from the outside. It occurs when the upper part of the stomach protrudes through a hole (hiatus) in the diaphragm, an area usually occupied by the esophagus. It can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Hiatal hernias can be treated with surgery if necessary.

Femoral Hernias

More common in women, femoral hernias occur when part of the intestine protrudes through the femoral canal and protrudes through at the top of the thigh. The femoral canal is where the main blood vessels pass that supply the legs.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases hernias are benign and do not cause long-term problems. This does not mean you should ignore them if you see them. It's always best to seek medical advice if you notice a change in your body.

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