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Types of Hernias

At Hernia Center Los Angeles, our hernia surgeons have earned the respect of patients and physicians based on their superior surgical skills and unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality of personalized patient care and attention. We treat all types of hernias, creating a customized hernia surgery treatment plan for each patient.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia is a medical condition where an organ or tissue bulges out through a weak spot in the surrounding muscles or connective tissue. It can happen anywhere in the body, but it is most common in the abdominal area. Hernias are usually harmless, but if they cause pain or other symptoms hernia surgery may be necessary. In severe cases, a hernia can lead to complications that require emergency hernia surgery.1

What Causes Hernias?

Hernias are caused by a combination of factors, including muscle weakness and strain. Muscle weakness can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, genetics, and chronic coughing or straining. Straining during bowel movements, heavy lifting, or pregnancy can also contribute to the development of hernias.

In some cases, hernias can be caused by a congenital defect or a previous surgical incision. In these cases, the hernia may not develop until later in life.2

Hernia Symptoms

The symptoms of a hernia can vary depending on the location and size of the hernia. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all, while others may experience pain or discomfort.

Common symptoms of a hernia include:

  • A bulge or lump in the affected area
  • A bulge or lump in the affected area
  • Pain or discomfort in the affected area, especially when lifting, coughing, or straining
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the affected area
  • Nausea or vomiting3

In some cases, a hernia can become trapped or incarcerated. This can cause severe pain, nausea, and vomiting, and may require emergency surgery.

Types of Hernias

All hernias are not alike, and the procedures that our doctors use for hernia repair are also not all identical. Your hernia doctor will recommend a hernia surgery treatment plan for you based on a complete examination and determination of your surgical goals.

Graphic showing the different types of hernias

Complex Hernias

Complex hernias require expert care. Factors that can make a hernia complex include when a patient has multiple hernias at the same time, recurrent hernias, infection, strangulation (when a hernia constricts blood supply of an organ), or incarceration (a hernia that can't be pushed back into place).

Learn More About Complex Hernias

Epigastric Hernia

An epigastric hernia is caused when fatty tissue or part of the intestine pushes through a weakness in the abdominal wall.

Learn More About Epigastric Hernias

Femoral Hernia

Femoral hernias occur just below the groin area, in the upper thigh. They are more common in women than men and are often caused by straining during bowel movements or pregnancy.

Learn More About Femoral Hernias

Incisional Hernia

Incisional hernias occur at the site of a previous surgical incision. They are more common in people who have had abdominal surgery.

Learn More About Incisional Hernias

Ventral Hernia

Ventral hernias occur at a weakness or a gap in the abdominal wall. Umbilical hernias, incisional hernias, and epigastric hernias are all types of ventral hernias.

Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernias occur in the upper stomach area, where the stomach bulges up into the chest through a hole in the diaphragm. They are more common in people over the age of 50 and in those who are obese. Hiatal hernias may cause symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, and chronic acid reflux.

Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias occur when part of the intestine pushes through a weakness in the groin area (inguinal canal), and are the most common type of hernia by far. They are more common in men than women and are often caused by straining during bowel movements, heavy lifting, or prolonged coughing. An inguinal hernia may appear as a lump in the groin or near the testicles.

Learn More About Inguinal Hernias

Lateral Hernia

Patients undergoing orthopedic or spinal surgery, especially through an abdominal approach, have an increased risk of nerve injury and herniation to the abdominal wall musculature. When this occurs, it is called a lateral hernia.

Learn More About Lateral Hernias

Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernias occur when part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal wall near the belly button and are more common in infants and young children. They can also occur in adults who are obese or pregnant.

Learn More About Umbilical Hernias

Pediatric Hernia

When children have hernias, they are almost always present at birth. Your doctor will recommend not just a method of repairing a child's hernia, but also the best time to do it.

How are Hernias Diagnosed?

A hernia is usually diagnosed through a physical examination. Your doctor will examine the affected area and may ask you to cough or strain to see if the hernia protrudes. In some cases, imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, X-ray, or CT scan, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Hernia Treatment

Hernia treatment depends on the type and severity of the hernia, as well as the patient's overall health. Watchful waiting, lifestyle changes, and medication may be recommended for patients with small or asymptomatic hernias. When a patient's hernia causes pain or other symptoms, surgery is required.

At Hernia Center Los Angeles, our hernia doctors specialize in open surgery with minimal incisions, as this reduces the rate of hernia recurrence when compared with other surgical techniques for hernia treatment. During hernia surgery, an incision is made in the abdomen or groin to access the hernia, then the protruding tissue is pushed back into place and the weakened area is reinforced with stitches or a synthetic mesh. The incision is then closed with stitches or staples.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hernias

Can a hernia be prevented?

While hernias cannot always be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing one. These include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heavy lifting, quitting smoking, treating underlying medical conditions, and practicing good posture.

Who gets hernias?

Anyone can get a hernia, but there are certain risk factors that increase a person's chance of developing a hernia, including:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chronic constipation
  • Sudden twisting movements
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Straining
  • Heredity
  • Disorders of the connective tissues
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Pregnancy

What are the risks of hernia surgery?

There are risks and complications associated with any surgical procedure, and the best way to reduce hernia surgery risks is to work with a highly experienced hernia surgeon. Risks and side effects of hernia surgery are rare, and may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Nerve damage4

Contact Us

If you have a hernia that requires surgical repair, it is important that you entrust your health to a hernia surgeon who has superior skill, expertise, and experience. To learn more about your treatment options, please contact Hernia Center Los Angeles to schedule a consultation with a respected hernia doctor.

1 Cleveland Clinic. Hernia. Available: Accessed March 31, 2023.
2 National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information. Hernias: Overview. Available: Accessed March 31, 2023.
3 National Library of Medicine. Hernia. Available: Accessed March 31, 2023.
4 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Hernia Surgery Benefits, Risks, and What to Expect. Available: Accessed March 31, 2023.