What are the symptoms of a hernia?

Most of the time, hernia symptoms are either masses that people can feel, new knots or bulges that they notice. Sometimes, they're also noticed as a dull pain, or a sharp pain depending on how acute the hernia is. If people tear a muscle and have an instant knot or mass they will experience a sharp pain, like a burning sensation.

Hernias can also cause problems with digestion. If hernias are bad enough they can cause stomach swelling, intermittent nausea and sometimes vomiting.

The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge under the skin. The bulge is usually soft. Depending on where the hernia develops, it may be mildly painful when the abdomen wall is stressed. Symptoms can vary and include one of more of the following:

  • heaviness or pulling sensation
  • pain when lifting and bending
  • swelling in the groin
  • difficulty sitting
  • achiness

If one or more of the following serious symptoms develop, see a doctor immediately.

  • intense pain
  • hardening of the hernia bulge
  • irreducible bulge
  • abdominal cramping
  • inability to have a bowel movement
  • fever, nausea, frequent vomiting

Serious symptoms signal a complication with the hernia that can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Continue Learning about Hernia


There are several kinds of hernias, but the all happen when pressure pushes an organ (often the intestine) through a weak spot in a muscle face or wall. Different kinds of hernias have different risk factors. 4/5 of all hernias ar...

e inguinal hernias, where the intestine (or occasionally the bladder) pushes through the lower abdominal wall-near or into the groin. Most of these occur in men, although they are also common in newborns because the abdominal walls in babies are weak. Treatment for hernias can be no treatment, to medicines to surgery. Many hernias are not serious, although larger ones certainly can be, and complications can include an obstruction of the digestive tract. Modern surgical methods to treat hernias are much improved over older techniques and recovery times are much shorter.

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.