Our internal body organs, like the intestines and stomach, are all held in place by body tissues. Sometimes these tissues may develop a weak spot or rupture, and the organ may protrude through it. This can happen suddenly because of a trauma, or take time to develop, as the organ gradually works its way out. Either way, it can lead to serious infections, pain and complications, and must be treated as soon as possible.
Sometimes, you can spot a hernia because of a small bump or bulge which may appear. This usually signifies that an organ is pushing through the layers of muscle and skin. But sometimes, a hernia may not be visible. In such cases you may be alerted by pain. A hernia pain may be sharp or dull and is usually caused because the organs are getting twisted. Sometimes frequent chest pain and heartburn could be a sign of hiatal hernia.
Hernias can usually be felt in the groin or inside the belly button. You can press these areas softly and see if you feel anything out of the ordinary. If the pain becomes worse when you press a certain area, it could confirm the fact that you have hernia.
To test for hernia in the groin, stand in an upright position and apply stress as if you wish to empty your bladder and bowels. Press against the scrotal skin and pubic tubercle with your finger. You will be able to feel the inguinal ring.
If you suspect hernia, it is best to get yourself checked by a doctor, who would use other diagnostic tools to confirm the condition. These could include any of the following:
- Your doctor may take an X-ray to find out a hernia. For a hiatal hernia, you would be advised a barium X-ray. You will be required to drink a chalky liquid which contains barium. An X-ray will show up the outlines of the organs more clearly, and indicate if there is a hernia.
- Your doctor may also do an endoscopy to find out if you have a hernia. This consists of passing a flexible tube which has a fiber-optic light attached to its end, down your throat, and monitoring the pictures on a computer screen.
- Since an inguinal hernia is the most common hernia, your doctor may do only a physical test to find out your problem. While doing a physical examination, you would be asked to strain or cough, to make the hernia bulge out.
- If your doctor suspects that infection and intestinal blockage has set in because of a hernia such as a strangulated colon, you may also need a blood test.
Submitted by M T on April 21, 2010 at 12:27