What is a hernia?

Dr. de Caestecker discusses what a hernia is. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


A hernia happens when part of an internal organ or some tissue creates a bulge through weakened muscle, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Hernias are common and most frequently occur in the abdomen, according to the NIH. Various types of hernias include:

  • congenital diaphragmatic hernia – a birth defect that needs surgery to repair
  • femoral hernia – a bulge in the upper thigh just below the groin
  • hiatal hernia – a small opening in the diaphragm allowing the upper part of the stomach to move into the chest
  • incisional hernia – occurs through a scar
  • inguinal hernia – the most common type, occurs in the groin, more common in men than in women
  • umbilical hernia – happens around the belly button

Men, women, and children all can have hernias, though some people are born with weak abdomens and can be more likely than others to get hernias, according to the NIH.

Having muscle weakness and doing an activity that causes strain, such as heavy lifting, might be a contributing factor for causing hernias, according to the NIH.

Talk to your doctor for more information about hernias.

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