That hernia isn’t going to go away on its own!

Many people dismiss hernia pain out of fear that they’ll have to undergo surgery, but if left untreated, hernias can lead to dangerous complications. Surgeons at Fairview Northland Medical Center offer the latest surgical options to correct the hernia with minimal pain and a quick recovery.

What is a hernia?

The most common type of hernia is an abdominal hernia, which is an opening or weakness in the muscular structure of the wall of the abdomen. The lining of the abdominal cavity protrudes through the opening and causes a bulging of the abdominal wall.

“While a hernia may appear suddenly, it usually develops over a long period of time,” says Joseph Pietrafitta, MD, general surgeon at Fairview Northland Medical Center. “A hernia can be caused by intense overexertion or even by something as simple as a cough or sneeze.”

While most hernias form in the groin at or near the internal ring (the entrance to a canal between the abdomen and groin), they can also occur in the abdomen, thigh or genital area.

There are several types of hernias:

  • Inguinal hernia – the most common type of hernia, occurring in or near the groin
  • Incisional hernia – occurs at the site of a scar from a previous surgery in the abdominal wall
  • Ventral/Epigastric hernia – an abdominal wall hernia, above the umbilicus
  • Umbilical hernia – “belly button” hernias can occur at any age
  • Femoral hernia – occurs where the leg joins the lower abdomen
  • Hiatal hernia – occurs when part of the stomach slips up from the abdomen into the chest


Symptoms include:

  • Progressively worse pain, aches and/or a burning sensation
  • Discomfort that radiates into the hip, back, leg and/or abdomen
  • Pain when straining, lifting and/or coughing
  • Temporary relief from pain when you lie down
  • Bulging area, but no pain

A hernia can become dangerous if a piece of intestine becomes trapped or strangled inside. Constant, intense pain at a swollen site may be a medical emergency and should be evaluated immediately by a doctor.

Treating hernias

The pain associated with a hernia won’t go away on its own, and delaying treatment may make it even worse—early diagnosis can help you avoid potentially serious complications.

The majority of hernia repairs can be performed quickly and safely, and don’t require general anesthesia or hospital stay. Patients are able to return to their activities with minimal discomfort.

Plan your hernia treatment with us today

If you suspect you have a hernia, consult with your primary care doctor first—not all lumps or swellings on the abdominal wall or in the groin are hernias.  If your doctor agrees it’s a hernia, ask for referral to Joseph Pietrafitta, MD, a hernia repair surgery expert at Fairview Northland Medical Center.

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