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Diseases & Conditions

Hernias

A hernia occurs when the inside layers of the abdominal wall weaken then bulge or tear. The inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area to form a balloon-like sac. This, in turn, can cause a loop of intestine or abdominal tissue to slip into the sac, causing pain and other potentially serious health problems.

Men and women of all ages can have hernias. Hernias usually occur either because of a natural weakness in the abdominal wall or from excessive strain on the abdominal wall, such as the strain from heavy lifting, substantial weight gain, persistent coughing, or difficulty with bowel movements or urination. Eighty percent of all hernias are located near the groin. Hernias may also be found below the groin (femoral), through the navel (umbilical) and along a previous incision (incisional or ventral).

What are the symptoms of hernias?

  • A noticeable protrusion in the groin area, or in the abdomen
  • Feeling pain while lifting
  • A dull aching sensation
  • A vague feeling of fullness

For information on hernia treatment and surgery options at Cleveland Clinic, please download our free hernia treatment guide.

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