Different Types of Hernias in Men

Hernias can be one of the most misunderstood diseases among the layman, who often tend to think it’s more complicated than it really is. The University of Michigan Health School describes it in simple terms as “a bump caused by tissue pushing through the muscle wall that supports it.”

Confusing directly gender-specific concepts: Hernias are often associated with men, but women can also get hernias. Also, a hernia can occur at any age, from birth to late adulthood.

Most hernias are abdominal hernias. Anything that strains the abdominal wall — from lifting heavy objects to exercising — can predispose a person to and lead to a hernia.

This article describes the seven types of hernias that men are most likely to experience, as well as the red flags that can alert you to one.

inguinal hernia

groin (or inguinal) hernias are the most common type of hernia, although men have a higher risk of developing hernias than women. The inguinal canal is where the testicles descend before birth. The duct contains the spermatic cord and blood vessels.

An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as fat or intestines, protrudes through a weak part of the abdominal cavity near the groin. The protruding portion can then be passed through the opening and into the groin or scrotum.

Inguinal hernias can often push back and even slide back and forth on their own. However, if the bowel segment gets stuck and strangled, the situation becomes urgent. It can be repaired with minimally invasive surgery.

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What to know about inguinal hernias

umbilical hernia

An umbilical hernia occurs when the abdominal wall weakens at the umbilical cord (navel). It is the second most common type of hernia in adults, although women are more likely to develop them because pregnancy is an obvious “risk factor” for umbilical hernias.

These hernias can often be reduced manually or repaired with surgery.

Overview of Umbilical Hernias

epigastric hernia

upper abdomen A hernia is a protrusion of fat or sometimes the intestines through the abdominal wall between the navel and the breastbone. Fat or intestines can pass through weak spots in the abdominal wall.

This type of hernia can be managed individually, but is usually at the discretion of the patient. The pain will continue and will not get better without surgery.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Epigastric Hernia

ventral hernia

A ventral or incisional hernia occurs when scar tissue weakens the abdominal wall after surgery or as a result of trauma. These hernias can occur anywhere in the abdomen where there is a scar, such as the midline or lateral margins.

Not all hernias work Laparoscopy, but this one works. During the procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen and inserts a thin tube with a camera at the end to repair it. Laparoscopy usually results in a faster recovery time and less pain.

Popping sensations are common

Men often describe the feeling of a hernia, as if something had popped out or gave way inside.

obturator hernia

One obturator A hernia occurs when part of the intestine passes through the gap between the bones in the front of the pelvis. Although computed tomography (CT) scans can confirm a doctor’s suspicion, they can be difficult to diagnose.

Prompt surgical repair is essential to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Should I have an MRI or a CT scan?

hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is a hernia that occurs inside and is not visible from the outside. It occurs when the upper part of the stomach protrudes through a hole (hiatus) in the diaphragm, an area normally occupied by the esophagus. It may be related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Hiatal hernias can be treated surgically if necessary.

Hiatal Hernia Overview

Femoral hernia

Femoral hernias are more common in women and occur when part of the bowel protrudes through the femoral canal and into the top of the thigh. The femoral canal is where the main blood vessels supplying the leg pass.

Both open and laparoscopic surgery are options. Time is often of the essence due to potential complications. That is, the bowel may become blocked or strangled.

Overview of Femoral Hernia Surgery

when to see a doctor

Hernia symptoms in men are different than in women, but should not be ignored:

  • bulges you can see or feel
  • feeling of pressure
  • A pulling sensation in the scrotum around the testicles
  • pain in the area
  • Pain is worsened by activities that increase pressure on the area, such as lifting weights, pushing, and straining

In contrast, hernias in women are difficult to diagnose because they are small. Also, women often experience internal hernias and are therefore more likely to experience constant pain and little relaxation.

The good news, if not good news, is that “almost all hernias can be repaired with surgery,” according to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.


A hernia is a bulge caused by tissue pushing through the muscle wall that supports it. Inguinal (or inguinal) hernias are the most common type of hernia, and men are at a higher risk of developing hernias. The other six common types of hernias are umbilical, epigastric, ventral, obturator, hiatal, and femoral hernias. Red flags that can alert you to a hernia include a bulge that you can see or feel, a feeling of pressure, a pulling sensation in the scrotum around the testicle, pain in the area, or pain that is worsened by activities that put pressure on the area, such as lifting weights, pushing and nervous. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

VigorTip words

Understandably, men are especially eager to prevent hernias. But the truth is, eliminating all risk factors is nearly impossible, because “anything that strains the abdominal wall can predispose a person to a hernia,” says Stamford Health. “Anything” includes weight lifting, abdominal weight gain, chronic cough and abdominal wall surgery. You can’t avoid all of these activities, but you can actively pay attention to the warning signs — and follow the conventional wisdom that the sooner a disease is diagnosed, the better the long-term prognosis.