June is Hernia Awareness Month, which aims to bring public awareness to symptoms, diagnosis, warning signs and the latest treatment methods of different types of hernias. More than 5 million people have some type of hernia, but only 750,000 of them actually seek medical attention each year. Below, we will discuss the different types of hernias and how they’re treated, and how you can get involved with Hernia Awareness Month.

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a protrusion caused by tissue bulging through the muscle in front of it. The majority of hernias occur in the abdominal area, including the groin. Sometimes you can feel a soft lump in these areas, but the lump may disappear when you press on it or lie down. You may experience pain especially when you bend over or lift things.

Types of Hernias

What is a groin hernia?

Most hernias are considered groin hernias, which, as the name notes, occur in the groin area. There are two main types of groin hernias:

·Inguinal hernias: Nearly all groin hernias are inguinal. They occur when your intestine pushes through your lower abdomen and begins to disturb an area of the groin called the inguinal canal. These hernias aren’t necessarily unsafe, but they need to be treated to prevent further complications that can be more dangerous.

·Femoral hernias: Very few groin hernias are femoral. Oftentimes these are mistaken for inguinal hernias and occur when the intestine bulges through a different area of the groin called the femoral canal.

What are umbilical hernias?

Umbilical hernias: This type of hernia is most common in newborns, especially premature newborns. They are the second most common type of hernias and occur when fat or part of the intestine pushes through the area near the belly button.

What is a hiatal hernia?

Hiatal hernias are different from other hernias because they occur in an area called your diaphragm, the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. With a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach bulges through an opening in the esophagus and into the chest.

While there isn’t a defined lump you will notice, you may experience symptoms that resemble those of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as heartburn, chest pain, or a sour taste in your mouth. Hiatal hernia treatment usually starts with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, but sometimes treatment will involve surgery. 

Hernia Awareness Month was created to help more people become aware and receive treatment for their hernias. If you suspect you or someone you love may be suffering from a hernia, contact a hernia doctor immediately for treatment. Untreated hernias can often lead to other health complications.