Hernias occur when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscles or tissue that holds it in place. For instance, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall. While most hernias occur in the abdomen between your chest and hips, they can also occur in the upper thigh and groin areas.
Most hernias are not life-threatening, but they do not go away on their own and sometimes require surgery to prevent dangerous complications.
Factors that contribute to developing a hernia include:
- Age – muscles weaken as you age
- Strenuous exercise
- Family history of hernias
- Chronic cough
- Chronic constipation
- Previous hernia repair
Symptoms of a hernia can include the following:
- A bulge or lump in the affected area
- Discomfort or pain in the area around the lump
In many cases, hernias have no symptoms. You may not know you have a hernia unless it shows up during a physical or medical exam.