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Could You Have a Hernia? Find Out at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Free Virtual Hernia Information Session

Paul Cesanek, MD, Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence, discusses diagnosis, risk factors and treatment options.


Hernias can cause symptoms ranging from mild discomfort and acid reflux to intense abdominal pain and while some hernias just require a wait and see approach, others may need more immediate treatment to avoid serious complications.

“Hernias are a common condition and anyone can get them,” says surgeon Paul Cesanek, MD, with LVPG General and Bariatric Surgery. “But it’s important to see your doctor, get tested and get the right treatment.”

Identifying a hernia

Hernias occur when the stomach, intestines or other organs poke through a tear or weak spot in the muscle. They most commonly appear in the abdomen and groin. There are several types of hernias, including:

  • Inguinal (groin) hernias: This type of hernia is more common in men, and occurs when there’s weakness in the muscle and tissue in the groin.

  • Hiatal hernias: These develop when the stomach bulges upward through a wall of muscle into the chest.

  • Umbilical hernias: Babies are sometimes born with hernias that form when the muscle around the belly button doesn’t join properly.

Who is most at risk for hernias

According to Cesanek, anyone can develop a hernia, however, there are some people who may be at a higher risk for certain types of hernias.

You may be at a greater risk for inguinal hernias if:

  • You are male

  • A pregnant woman

  • Smoke

  • Have a family history of inguinal hernias

You may be at a greater risk for hiatal hernias if:

  • You are over the age of 50

  • Are Overweight

  • Are Pregnant

  • You Smoke

When should you see your doctor?

If you think you may have a hernia, talk with your provider. “While some hernias don’t need to be managed until they start causing you pain, others need treatment quickly,” says Cesanek. “Surgery is the only way to repair a hernia.”

Surgery also prevents a serious condition known as strangulated hernia. While rare, it has serious consequences as it causes the misplaced organ to lose its blood supply and requires emergency surgery.

Cesanek says you should seek immediate care if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain and redness at hernia site

  • Pressure or pain that is getting worse

  • Fever

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Poor appetite, nausea and vomiting

Think you may have a hernia? Join us for a free virtual information session on Monday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. You can register at LVHN.org/herniaevent.