TriStar Greenview - June 15, 2018
by Dr. Michael Campbell

It’s hard to tell if a stabbing or burning pain in your groin area is a hernia.

Some hernias are small and do not have a bulge or lump that identifies them. Also, there are multiple types of hernias and they can occur on different areas of the body.

Dr. Michael Campbell, general surgeon at TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital, shares telltale signs that you may have a hernia:  

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a protrusion of an organ through an abdominal wall or cavity that it is normally contained in due to a weakness in muscle layer.

What causes hernias?

Hernias can have many different causes. Most commonly, hernias are attributed to weakness in muscles resulting from:

  • Recent surgery where there’s weakness at the incision site
  • Muscle defect from birth
  • Trauma or car accident
  • Increased exercise or tearing a muscle
  • Lifting heavy objects over a prolonged period of time

What are different types of hernias?

There are groin hernias and they are not as common in women. These are actually hernias that come out through the lower abdominal muscles on your left or the right side. They cause a bulge in the groin, and often, a dull pain.

There are also hernias that form at the belly button. They are usually described as a knot or a soft, squishy mass.

Another type of hernia that's not so common is a hiatal hernia that runs from the stomach up into the chest. A major symptom of a hiatal hernia is having reflux.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

The most common symptom of a hernia is feeling a knot or bulge. Sometimes, people will experience a dull pain. However, if you tear a muscle, it will hurt so bad that there’s a sharp, almost burning, sensation.

Another sign you may have a hernia is if you’re experiencing digestive issues, such as stomach swelling, intermittent nausea or vomiting.

How are hernias diagnosed?

Most hernias are self-diagnosed. Most people report feeling something is not quite right. If a hernia is very small, we will usually do an ultrasound or even a CAT scan for further evaluation.