Your Hernia Questions, Answered

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Your Hernia Questions, Answered

Hernias are usually self-identified due to bulging, swelling, and/or pain. It’s important to consult your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms and they are affecting your daily life. Here are a few frequently asked questions about hernias that I’ve answered below.

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a hole that allows an organ or tissue to protrude outside the cavity containing it.

Where are common places that hernias may occur?

Common places a hernia may occur include the groin, belly button, or a previous surgery incision. They can also occur internally. For example the stomach can herniate or be pushed into the chest cavity and cause chronic acid reflux.  

How can I test myself for a hernia?

You may have a hernia if you have a lump or bulge on your abdominal wall.  It may get bigger or be sore with coughing or straining.  The lump may seem to go away when your muscles relax or you lay down. Sometimes special imaging or tests need to be done to see the hernia.

What type of treatment options do I have to remove a hernia?

Hernias that are causing symptoms or that are at risk of causing emergencies are often repaired with surgery. There are many surgical options to repair hernias. The decision is based on many factors.

Do hernias go away on their own?

No, they only get bigger with time.

What does a hernia in your stomach feel like?

Some people have a hiatal hernia, where a part of the stomach and esophagus protrude up into the chest. Patients typically have more severe heartburn like symptoms or upper abdominal/chest pain. The best way to find this out and diagnose it is through an endoscopy.

How serious is a hernia?

The severity of a hernia can vary depending on its location and what is inside of the hole. If you are not certain; it probably needs to be evaluated.

What should I do if I think I may have a hernia?

If you think you have a hernia you are encouraged to see your doctor or you can make an appointment directly with me (Dr. Gerrish) or Dr. Schaeffer by calling Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic at (605)882-7777.


Learn more: Prairie Lakes General Surgery

Written by Dr. Greg Gerrish, General Surgeon
Last modified on Wednesday, June 12, 2019