“So a hernia is a defect in generally connective tissue layer that separates one part of the body from another.”, says Jeffery Bell, a General Surgeon with Washington Regional Medical Center.

“For example, the most common hernia is an inguinal hernia, because of some developmental problems and stresses on the abdominal wall, part of abdominal contents will push out through the groin and cause a bulge. But honestly a hernia can happen between any two body cavities.”

Dr. Bell says the biggest symptom of a hernia is a bulge that can be also associated with pain. “It can be associated with changes in bowel habits, it can be associated with abdominal bloating, but really probably the two most common things that people see is a bulge that goes up and down, and discomfort with it.”

Dr. Bell states if somebody sees that they have an abdominal bulge that they’re worried is a hernia, we’re happy to see any of those people in his office. “But if you have a relationship with a physician, a lot of times it’s a good thing just to have them evaluate it first because sometimes it can be simply said, “No, that’s not a big deal,” or, “It is a big deal.” But generally if someone is young and healthy, we at least like to look at them, because they have a long time to, to let the hernia develop, and the hernias are much easier to fix when they’re smaller, and when they’re easier to fix, the risk of them coming back is much lower. And that’s actually the biggest risk of hernia repair, is the hernia coming back.”