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Hernia Symptoms

Hernia symptoms and signs vary not just from person to person, but also depending on the type or location of the hernia. In hernias located in the abdominal area, these are the most common symptoms:

Protruding bulge

This is the most common hernia symptom, and for many people, the easiest thing to notice. The most common areas in which a bulging hernias are noticed include the groin (inguinal hernia or femoral hernias), the belly button (umbilical hernia) and the site of a prior abdominal surgery (ventral or incisional hernias). The bulge may vary in size.

Acute Pain

Some people won’t notice pain connected to the hernia, and others may notice immediate or excruciating pain. If your hernia is an acute hernia, that is, one that occurs with a sudden tearing or stretching of muscle tissue, you may experience a sharp, sudden pain. Some patients describe a pain similar to a muscle ache or strain. Others just notice a funny feeling or tearing in the groin that wasn’t there before.

Pain from an acute hernia will usually subside in a week or two, but this doesn’t mean that your hernia has gone away. Hernias do not self-repair. A hernia surgery is necessary to repair a hernia.

Localized Pain

Even if you did not experience pain with an acute hernia, you may experience localized hernia pain when the nerves surrounding the hernia are pinched or stretched as the hernia enlarges. You may also experience pain in the hernia area during exercise, or while performing strenuous work.

Referred Pain

You can also experience referred pain from a hernia. In this circumstance, the nerves around the hernia are irritated, and the pain signals travel along the nerve root to other regions supplied by the same nerve.

Depending on the size and location of the hernia, pain could travel to the testicle, thigh, back or abdomen. This happens because the nerve roots originate from the back and the nerve to the testicle originates in the abdominal region.

Generalized Abdominal Pain

Generalized abdominal pain could also be a hernia symptom. This pain is serious, and results from internal abdominal organs, such as intestines, being pinched by the hernia, resulting in a compromised blood supply. Surgeons call this a strangulated hernia.

The pain from a strangulated hernia is an abdominal pain which initially starts as a stomach ache and increases in severity, causing nausea and vomiting later.

If the pinched tissues are not treated, they will die, and the results could be fatal to the patient. Prompt surgery is needed.

Nausea and vomiting

If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting with your hernia, you should seek immediate medical treatment. This could be a sign of intestinal obstruction, full or partial, and you may require emergency surgery.


If the hernia is blocking your intestine, you may experience constipation, or possibly blood in your stool. If you have an intestinal obstruction, you may require emergency surgery.


If the protrusion compresses a nerve, you could experience numbness or loss of feeling to the area of the hernia.

Urinary Difficulties

Sometimes a patient’s bladder will be trapped within the hernia. If this happens, you could experience urinary burning, frequent infections, bladder stones and hesitancy or frequency in urinating. If you are experiencing these difficulties, you should consult your urologist or surgeon and see if they are caused by a hernia.

Other symptoms

Hernias can result in a wide array of non-specific discomforts, depending on the placement of the hernia sac or the pressure that the sac places on nearby tissues. These symptoms may or may not be related to your hernia.

Hernia symptoms are usually worse at the end of the day, and may be relieved at night, when you are lying down and the hernia naturally becomes smaller.

A thorough examination by one of our expert hernia specialists can determine if your symptoms would be relieved with hernia surgery. Schedule a consultation at the Hernia Center Los Angeles today to get the best hernia treatment Los Angeles has to offer.