Hernias can be life-threatening if they become incarcerated or strangulated.
An incarcerated hernia is one that becomes trapped outside the hernia wall. A strangulated hernia is an incarcerated hernia that become pinched or twisted and cut off from the blood supply. Gangrene (tissue death) can develop within hours.Hernias that cause small bowel obstruction can also lead to fatal medical conditions. Fortunately, most hernias affect the body in milder ways. Early detection and diagnosis are important ways to prevent a hernia from becoming life-threatening.