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What are the Most Common Symptoms of an Intestinal Hernia?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An intestinal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestines begins to protrude through the abdominal wall. Common symptoms of an intestinal hernia include abdominal pain, the presence of a lump in the abdomen, and fever. There are different types of intestinal hernias, including reducible, irreducible, and strangulated hernias. Treatment options vary according to individual symptoms as well as the type of hernia present, although surgical intervention is often necessary.

A reducible intestinal hernia often becomes noticeable due to the development of a lump in the abdominal area, frequently in the groin region. Often, this type of hernia is not painful unless someone presses against the lump. The lump may increase in size when performing activities such as standing or coughing. Occasionally, the patient may experience pain before a noticeable lump develops. In many cases, as long as the hernia is not large, it can be pushed back into its normal position.

An irreducible hernia often occurs when a reducible hernia can no longer be pushed back into its normal position. There may be considerable abdominal pain associated with this type of intestinal hernia, although the pain frequently comes and goes. This type of intestinal hernia may sometimes lead to a bowel obstruction, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

A strangulated hernia begins as an irreducible hernia, but the blood supply to the intestines gets cut off. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms may include constant pain and tenderness in the abdominal region. Nausea and vomiting are common in patients with a strangulated hernia as well.

If intestinal hernia symptoms are mild, no immediate treatment may be necessary. In these cases, a doctor will closely monitor the patient for potential signs of complications. Pain medications may be prescribed if the patient is experiencing moderate to severe pain.

If the intestinal hernia becomes large, causes a bowel obstruction, or becomes strangulated, surgical intervention often becomes necessary. The damaged portion of the intestine may be removed, or a piece of sturdy mesh material may be inserted into the abdomen to prevent the intestines from protruding through the abdominal wall. This type of surgery has a high success rate, although the hernia still has a small chance of returning. In the most severe cases, when extensive intestinal damage has occurred, the entire colon may have to be removed in order to save the life of the patient.

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Discussion Comments
By LisaLou — On Dec 22, 2011

Many times hernias are small and do not become a major health threat. One of my aunts had a situation that was a lot more serious.

She lost about 60 pounds over the course of several months, and they couldn't figure out why she couldn't keep her food down.

I don't know all of the medical terminology, but somehow a hernia had become so big and was causing all kinds of problems for her.

She had to have surgery to correct this problem. They were hoping to do it by laparoscopy, but once the surgery started realized they would have to cut her open.

This greatly increased her recovery time, but at least they figured out what was wrong. She is now on the mend and able to keep her food down.

By golf07 — On Dec 22, 2011

I have a sliding hiatal hernia that is not serious, but can be annoying.

I was having a lot of classic acid reflux symptoms like heartburn and nausea. When they performed an endoscopy, they discovered I had a hiatal hernia.

Since my symptoms were mild they recommended I try medication to see if that would help.

I felt a difference in as little as 2 days. It was nice to have the constant heartburn gone. I can really tell a difference if I slack off.

Avoiding greasy, high fat foods also helps, but the medication made the biggest difference for me.

By andee — On Dec 21, 2011

My dad was just diagnosed with an intestinal hernia. The only symptom he had was a small lump at the bottom of his abdomen.

When he was lying down, he could not even feel the lump. The only time he felt the lump was when he was standing, and he didn't have any type of pain with it.

When you find something like this, your first fear is cancer, so he scheduled an appointment with his doctor right away.

The doctor immediately knew what it was and said he would have to have surgery for this hernia repair. Even though it would be a laparoscopic surgery, he would still need to be in the hospital overnight.

He is just thankful it was not more serious, and that the hernia can easily be repaired.

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