A weakness or gap in muscles that results in tissue or organs normally held in place by the surrounding muscle to push outward is generally referred to as a hernia. The type and severity of hernias range from mild irritation to life-threatening requiring emergency surgery.
Hiatal hernias occur when the upper part of the stomach is forced up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm, a muscle separating the abdomen from the chest. A hiatal hernia causes the stomach to squeeze and retain acid and other contents. These acids and other substances could then back up into the esophagus (reflux).
There are four types of hiatal hernias: Type I, most common, means the stomach slides up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm. Type II, III and IV hiatal hernias are called paraesophageal hernias and occur when a portion of the stomach pushes up into the chest adjacent to the esophagus. A thoracic surgeon may repair these types of hernias.
Incisional or Ventral Hernias
Incisional hernias result from a weakening of the abdominal muscle following a surgical incision. They are found at or near the surgical incision, when intestine, organs or other tissue protrudes. This type of hernia usually occurs within three to six months’ after surgery but can happen at any time.
Trans Inguinal (Groin) Hernias
Trans Inguinal hernias refer to hernias that involve the intestine or the bladder protruding through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin.
Umbilical hernias occur at the belly button (umbilicus) when a loop of the intestine pushes through the umbilical ring, a small opening in the abdominal muscles of a fetus while it is in the womb through which the umbilical cord attaches to the mother. Umbilical hernias occur most often in newborns, with most closing naturally by the time the child reaches five years of age.