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How is a hernia diagnosed?

Most hernias are self-diagnosed. People notice something is not quite right, and then they usually go to their primary care provider for a physical exam. On exams, hernias are almost 100 percent diagnosable. Sometimes if the hernia is very small, an ultrasound might be needed to look at the area to see if there's indeed a hernia present. A computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan might be needed for further, more definitive evaluation on those people that are difficult to examine.

A hernia is diagnosed during a physical examination. Diagnosis is based on the hernia symptoms and location. During a physical examination, the doctor will want to exam the hernia bulge. Depending on the location of the hernia, you may be asked to stand and cough, making the bulge easier to see. A testicular exam may also be part of the exam. In harder to diagnose cases or to confirm an initial diagnosis, x-ray, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs can often be used to capture images of the hernia; sports hernias and some intraparietal (interstitial hernias) are the exception.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.