Hernias happen at any age, even from birth, and are usually not life threatening. Hernias occur most frequently in men and can also affect women and children. Common symptoms of a hernia include:
A feeling of pressure or weakness in the groin
Pain or discomfort during bowel movements or urination
Pain during lifting, coughing, sneezing, or other physical activities
The abdominal walls are made up of several layers of tissues and keep vital organs in their proper position. Small canals in the layers allow nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments to pass through. When these canals or other areas become weakened, the intestine and other abdominal organs can press it, resulting in a hernia.
An incarcerated hernia cannot be flattened or pushed back into the abdomen. If the intestine is trapped tightly, the tissue becomes strangulated and can lose blood supply, and even die. With both incarcerated and strangulated hernias, prompt treatment is needed to prevent further complications.