What is a Hernia?. Shouldice.

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What is a Hernia?

Hernias are quite common, particularly in men. Anyone can develop a hernia at any age. In fact, people are often surprised to learn that babies can actually be born with hernias.

A hernia may develop when there is a weak spot or opening in the wall of muscle and connective tissue that supports your abdomen. Once you have a weakness in your abdominal wall, anything that increases the pressure in your abdomen may push fat or part of an organ through the opening. When the tissues or organs inside your abdomen bulge through a weakness in your abdominal wall, it is called a hernia.

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How is a hernia repaired?

Hernias will not get better by themselves. If you have a hernia, you will probably need an operation to repair the weak spot in your abdominal wall. A hernia that is not repaired can get bigger and may lead to more serious health problems.

In some cases, however, a hernia may be diagnosed but does not have to be repaired right away. For example, an ultrasoundAn ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the tissues and internal organs in your body. may identify a hernia at a very early stage, when it is still quite small. Your doctor may suggest a period of ’watchful waiting‘ to see how the hernia develops. If it stays small and does not interfere with your health, an operation may not be necessary. An experienced surgeon will be able to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan in a situation like this.

What can you do?

A hernia can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. However, if you have a bulge in your groinThe groin is the area just above the skin crease, where the upper leg meets the abdomen., it usually is caused by a hernia. If you think you have a hernia, talk to your doctor or come to our walk-in clinic for an examination. Our walk-in clinic is available at no direct cost to our patients.

Whenever possible, we recommend that you come to our clinic for an examination because your symptoms may not be caused by a hernia. Shouldice surgeons specialize exclusively in treating hernias and have years of experience. They are always available during clinic hours to provide an expert diagnosis and treatment plan. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the best way to avoid an unnecessary operation.

If you are one of our international patients or live more than 1 hour (100 km/60 miles) from Shouldice, you can complete and submit the medical questionnaire available on this website.

What Is A Hernia? Learn About Hernias. Hernia Defined By Shouldice Hernia Hospital Learn About The Causes Of A Hernia, Hernia Symptoms and How To Repair Hernias.