What increases my risk for a hernia?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Your risk for a hernia increases if you have congenital openings or weakness in your abdominal muscle wall. If you lift heavy objects frequently, incorrectly, or without support your risk also increase. Sudden weight gain, obesity, and pregnancy places pressure on abdominal organs, increasing the risk for a hernia if an opening in the wall is present. Straining during bowel movements, chronic coughing or vomiting, and prior abdominal surgery and/or injury can increase your risk for abdominal hernias. Gender and age can are other factors that can increase the frequency of hernias. Some hernias are more prone to develop in men (inguinal), while others are more prone to develop in children (umbilical) and women (femoral).

A hernia occurs when soft tissue bulges through a weak spot in the muscle wall, either in the abdomen or the groin. Usually, a hernia can appear out of the blue and begin to bother people by a nagging or a dull throbbing type pain. Although anyone can suffer from a hernia, some people are at higher risk. People with a chronic cough or folks who do a lot of heavy lifting in their jobs have a slightly higher risk. Pregnancy is another major risk factor for hernia.

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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.