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Hernias are a common medical condition that occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue. Identifying the symptoms early can help you seek prompt medical care and avoid complications. Here are some key indicators that may suggest you have a hernia.

Notice a bulge or lump in the affected area

One of the most apparent signs of a hernia is the presence of a bulge or lump in the affected area. This bulge is typically more noticeable when you stand up, strain, or engage in activities like lifting heavy objects. It may disappear when you lie down. The bulge is usually soft and may be tender to the touch. In some cases, you might even be able to push it back in. This lump is commonly found in the abdominal area, groin, or near previous surgical sites.

Experience pain or discomfort

Pain or discomfort is another common symptom of a hernia. This pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, severe pain, and it often worsens with physical activity. Activities such as bending over, coughing, or lifting can exacerbate the discomfort. The pain may be localized to the hernia site but can sometimes radiate to other areas. For example, in the case of an inguinal hernia, the pain might extend to your groin or thigh.

Feel a heavy or dragging sensation

A hernia can cause a heavy or dragging sensation in the affected area, often described as a feeling of weight or pressure. This sensation can be particularly noticeable after standing or sitting for prolonged periods. This heavy feeling is due to the organ or tissue pushing through the weak spot and pulling down on the surrounding structures.

Observe changes in bowel movements or urination

Certain types of hernias, particularly those in the abdominal area, can affect your digestive system and urinary function. You might experience changes in bowel movements, such as constipation or difficulty passing stool. In some cases, hernias can cause urinary issues, including difficulty urinating or an increased urge to urinate. These symptoms occur because the hernia can put pressure on the intestines or bladder, disrupting normal function.

Develop a burning or aching sensation

Another common symptom is a burning or aching sensation at the site of the hernia. This feeling can be persistent or intermittent and is often exacerbated by physical activity. The hernia puts pressure on surrounding nerves, which can lead to irritation and discomfort. This symptom can be particularly noticeable in hiatal hernias, where part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.

Experience nausea or vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be signs of a more serious hernia complication, such as strangulation. Strangulation occurs when the blood supply to the herniated tissue is cut off, leading to tissue death. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. If you experience persistent nausea or vomiting along with other hernia symptoms, seek medical help right away.

Notice a sense of fullness

A sense of fullness or bloating in the abdomen can be another indicator of a hernia. This feeling can occur even if you haven’t eaten much and may be accompanied by other digestive symptoms like gas or indigestion. The sensation of fullness is often due to the hernia interfering with normal digestive processes, causing food and gas to accumulate.

Have difficulty swallowing

In the case of a hiatal hernia, where part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through the diaphragm, you might experience difficulty swallowing. This occurs because the hernia can cause a narrowing of the esophagus, making it hard for food to pass through. You might also experience symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn or regurgitation of food or sour liquid.

Do you have these signs and symptoms?

If you notice these signs or symptoms, there’s a strong chance you may have a hernia, and you should consult a medical professional without delay. At NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions, we are dedicated to providing expert care and advanced surgical treatments for hernia patients. If you suspect you have a hernia, reach out to us for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment.

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