An umbilical hernia is a bulge or pouch that forms in the abdomen. This type of bulge occurs when a section of the intestine pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, near the belly button. It can develop in young children and adults.
Hernias can be classified as internal or external and as abdominal or thoracic. Abdominal wall hernias can occur spontaneously (presumably from congenital defects) or after surgery. When they occur after surgery, they are called incisional hernias, which can range from small defects to extremely large ones.
Inguinal hernias account for 75% of all abdominal wall hernias, and with a lifetime risk of 27% in men and 3% in women. This happens when tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscle. These types of hernias are most noticeable by their appearance. They cause bulges along the pubic or groin areas that can increase in size when you stand up or cough. This type of hernia may be painful or sensitive to the touch.
When a ventral hernia occurs, it usually arises in the abdominal wall where a previous surgical incision was made. In this area the abdominal muscles have weakened; this results in a bulge or a tear. In the same way that an inner tube pushes through a damaged tire, the inner lining of the abdomen pushes through the weakened area of the abdominal wall to form a balloon-like sac. This can allow a loop of intestines or other abdominal contents to push into the sac.
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