16:18 PM

Why Does a Hernia Happen?

A hernia happens when part of an internal organ or tissue bulges through a weak area of muscle. But why this occurs and who is at risk depends on the type of hernia. To help you better understand this common condition, surgeon Paul Cesanek, MD, with LVPG General and Bariatric Surgery, explains why the major types of hernias happen and who they happen to.

What causes inguinal (groin) hernias?

There are two types of inguinal hernias – and each has a different cause.

  • Indirect inguinal hernia: This type of hernia happens when an opening in your stomach wall doesn’t close normally before birth. This leaves a weak spot in the stomach wall.

  • Direct inguinal hernia: This type of hernia is caused by weakening of the stomach muscle tissue over time, usually from aging and long-term stress on the weakened muscles.

Who gets inguinal hernias?

An inguinal hernia can happen at any age. But you could be at a greater risk if you:

  • Are male

  • Are obese

  • Are a pregnant woman

  • Have a family history of inguinal hernias

  • Smoke

What causes hiatal hernias?

In a hiatal hernia, part of your stomach pushes up into an opening in your diaphragm. Experts don’t know what causes hiatal hernias, but they may form as a result of weakening of the supporting tissue.

Who gets hiatal hernias?

You may be at greater risk for a hiatal hernia if you:

  • Are over 50 years old

  • Are overweight or obese

  • Are pregnant

  • Smoke

“Hernias are common and anyone can get them,” Cesanek says. “But it’s important to see your doctor, to get tested and to get the right treatment.”

Think you might have a hernia? Join us for our free screening event on Monday, Jan. 22. It will be held 5:30 to 7 p.m. at The Frank Banko Educational Conference Center, Room C, Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg. For full event details, visit LVHN.org/herniascreening.