14:13 PM

Hernia 101

Everyone is susceptible to developing a hernia – men, women, the young and elderly.

When you hear that someone has a hernia, what do you think? If you think that they may have lifted something heavy and injured their groin, you have a basic idea, says Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton surgeon Jayme Lieberman, MD, with LVPG General and Trauma Surgery. “If you pick up something too heavy – and in an improper manner – that can cause a hernia,” he says. “The most common location for a hernia is the groin. We also often see them in the bellybutton.”

A hernia is technically a hole in the abdominal wall.

“The bulge most people equate with a hernia is tissue protruding through the hole or the hernia. Sometimes this tissue is part of your intestine,” Lieberman says.

Who’s at risk for hernia?

Everyone is susceptible to developing a hernia – men, women, the young and elderly. Lieberman says that in infants and young children, a congenital defect could cause a hernia.

Have a hernia? Talk to a surgeon

Unlike a broken finger that you might have set and you’ll be good to go, you can’t push a hernia back in. “Hernias do not heal on their own,” Lieberman says. “Surgery is the only way to repair them. Surgery for hernias is most often done with traditional techniques, but can be done laparoscopically in a case- by-case basis.” This is considered an outpatient procedure so you will typically go home the same day.

Don’t delay. Get hernia repaired ASAP

You don’t want to push off surgery for too long, especially if you are in pain. “Hernias can become blocked,” Lieberman explains, “which means the blood supply is cut off. This can cause a need for emergency surgery.”

Oh no! I think I have a hernia

If you think you might have a hernia, call your primary care provider (PCP) so you can be seen as soon as possible. Lieberman says if a hernia is diagnosed, your PCP will refer you to see a Lehigh Valley Health Network surgeon.

Experiencing a hernia complication?

  • Severe pain and redness
  • Pressure or pain that keeps getting worse
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Poor appetite, nausea and vomiting
  • Seek immediate medical help.

Call 888-402-LVHN or visit LVHN.org/herniascreening to register for a free hernia screening.