A hernia is a condition in which a portion of an organ has shifted and protrudes through the cavity of the body where it is located.
There are several types of hernias that affect the digestive tract, including:
An epigastric hernia occurs when tissues of the abdomen protrude through the muscles of the abdominal wall. This condition is usually present at birth and may correct itself as the child grows and the abdominal wall strengthens.
Also known as a femorocele, a femoral hernia is a bulging near the groin and thigh due to the small intestine pushing through the wall of the femoral canal. The femoral canal is where the femoral artery, as well as smaller veins and nerves, are located.
A hiatial hernia occurs when a portion of the stomach pushes into the diaphragm through the hiatus, a small opening that allows the esophagus to pass through the diaphragm. This type of hernia may occur due to a weakness in the muscles surrounding the hiatus, an injury or consistent and intense pressure on the muscles. Patients may also be born with a large hiatal opening.
An inguinal hernia occurs when the membrane lining the abdominal cavity or a portion of the intestine pushes through a weak point on the abdominal muscles. Causes may include increased pressure within the abdomen, a pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall or a combination of the two. Excessive straining during bowel movements, heavy lifting or pregnancy may also be potential causes for the condition.
An umbilical hernia happens when a portion of the intestine bulges through the umbilical opening in the abdominal wall that doesn’t fully close after birth. This type is most commonly found in infants (but can occur in adulthood), and it normally resolves itself by age two.
In adults, excessive abdominal pressure can cause an umbilical hernia and may be due to factors such as obesity, previous abdominal surgery or chronic peritoneal dialysis. Multiple pregnancies or fluid in the abdominal cavity may also be factors.
Hernias can typically be diagnosed through medical history and a physical exam in which your physician places pressure in the area where herniation is suspected. In other cases, an ultrasound or x-ray may be used to confirm a diagnosis.
At Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey, our experienced physicians use the latest advancements to effectively assess and diagnose hernias related to the gastrointestinal system. With a unique team approach, we work in collaboration with specialists to create a customized treatment plan that meets your individual needs to manage your hernia.
For more information, contact us today or fill out our form.