Know the Types of Hernias commonly found in Human bodies

Updated on November 6, 2020

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Do you feel a lump in your groin area? Wondering what it is? A protruding mass of tissue that bulges out from your inner groin area, abdomen or belly button can be a cause of hernia. A hernia is a condition that arises in people with a weak abdominal wall, which may force the internal contents of the abdomen towards the outside causing a bulge or swelling. A person suffering from hernia may experience shooting pain, constipation, heartburn, cough and reflux.

Why does hernia occur?

Numerous factors are associated to cause a hernia, it results due to a combination of muscle weakness and strain. A hernia can develop quickly or over a long period of time depending upon its cause. You may come across various types of hernia while browsing through the internet.  Looking at the pictures you may correlate one with the type you are suffering from. Below mentioned are different types of hernia.

Types of Hernia

Based on the location and severity of the condition a hernia can be classified into different types.  Different types of hernia along with their location are mentioned as below.

  1. Inguinal hernia:
    An inguinal hernia is commonly observed as protrusions in the inner groin area. This type of hernia usually affects men as they tend to have weaker muscles in their groin area. Inguinal hernia may disappear when the person is sleeping and can slide in and out of the abdominal wall. An inguinal hernia is classified into two types:
  • Direct inguinal hernia:  Protrusions occur directly through the posterior wall of the inguinal canal. 
  • Indirect inguinal hernia: Occur when the abdominal contents passes through the deep inguinal ring alongside the spermatic cord.
  1. Ventral hernia:

    Ventral hernia  are protrusions of tissue in the weak abdominal wall. Ventral hernias are non-inguinal and are associated with pain, swelling or fullness. The symptoms may fade away with the change in position. Ventral hernias can be acquired or congenital. Most of the ventral hernias are called incisional hernias as they form at the healed site of past surgical incisions. The more complex form of ventral hernia can be seen in people who are obese, and have co-morbidities and they require extensive treatment.
  2. Umbilical Hernia:

    Umbilical hernia occur near the belly button. It results when a part of fatty tissue or small bowel pushes the abdominal wall close to the navel or the belly button. Associated factor with umbilical hernia include increased intra-abdominal pressure as a result of obesity, pregnancy, and abdominal tumours which may pull the abdominal tissue near the weakened fascia.  Umbilical hernias commonly affect the newborn babies or women with multiple pregnancies.
  3. Epigastric Hernia

    Epigastric hernias appear above the umbilical region of the abdomen. A bulging sac is formed in when diaphragm exerts an extra strain on the epigastric region. This type of hernia results due to fat and tissue trapping inside the opening of the hernia, between the belly button and the breastbone. Epigastric hernias are usually present at birth and remain asymptomatic initially. However, the bulge becomes more prominent in later stages causing pain and tissue damage.
  4. Spigelian Hernia

    It is a type of ventral hernia characterized by a protrusion in the abdominal wall due to the accumulation of preperitoneal fat, omentum, bowel or an organ. Spigelian hernia is found in the weak space between the stomach muscles near the semilunar line of the transversus abdominis muscle. These are rare and complex type of hernia which make it difficult to diagnose and a localized pain near the area can aid in diagnosis.
  5. Flank/ Back Hernia:

    Flank hernias also known as lumbar hernias are located in the side or back of the abdominal wall. It develops following an injury in the flank area or due to the defects in the postero-lateral abdominal wall. The defect may cause the tissues inside the abdomen to protrude out resulting in pain. Flank/back hernia may also occur as a result  of kidney surgery or due to traumatic injury to the back or the side of the abdominal wall.
  6. Femoral Hernia:

    A femoral hernia are relatively uncommon type of hernia accounting for just 3% of all hernias. Femoral hernias develop just below the inguinal canal in the groin or inner thigh region. Excessive straining or pressure applied in the groin due to heavy weight lifting, chronic cough and obesity can result in femoral hernias. Femoral hernias may require immediate medical intervention if it gets trapped in the femoral canal.
  7. Hiatal hernia:

    A hiatal hernia is a protrusion in the muscle wall of the diaphragm. It occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges out into the chest through the large muscle that separates the stomach and the chest. The symptoms of hiatus hernia include acid reflux, heartburn and sleepless nights.
  8. Parastomal hernia:

Parastomal hernia results due to the protuberance of abdominal contents through the stoma. Stoma is a small opening in the abdomen that allows waste to be collected from the body bypassing normal function. It is covered by a small pouch and is usually painless. Stoma may weaken the abdominal wall increasing the risk of parastomal hernia.

  1. Obturator hernia:

It is a rare type of hernia, where the contents of abdomen protrudes through the obturator foramen of the pelvic floor. It is commonly found in women due to difference in the anatomical structure. Obturator hernia is associated with malnutrition, advanced age, and comorbidities.


The above mentioned different types of hernias are classified based on location and severity. Some types of hernias may remain asymptomatic for a prolonged period of time while some may pose serious complications and require immediate medical attention. Therefore, it’s essential to diagnose such problems at an early stage in order to avoid complications during surgery.

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