Women's Health

Hernia In Women – Causes And Symptoms


Many women are often surprised when diagnosed with a hernia. Hernias in women can cause chronic pelvic pain, and hernia repair is very effective at eliminating the cause of this pain. There are several types of hernias that can develop in women.

Hernia basically refers to the protrusion or emergence of an organ or certain tissues of the body, outside the body cavity that usually contains it. Inguinal hernia (protrusion into the groin), umbilical hernia, incisional hernia, diaphragmatic hernia and femoral hernia are just a few of the many types of hernias.

Women, in particular, are more susceptible to suffering from inguinal and umbilical hernias. Listed below are a few causes and symptoms of hernia.

Symptoms of Hernia

Though hernia is generally asymptomatic in the early stages, some women do experience the following symptoms before being diagnosed with hernia.

  • Chronic Pelvic Pain: Constant pain in the pelvic area for no apparent reason. Often, tenderness in the affected area is also observed.
  • Pain during Exertion: Normal day to day activities such as lifting, straining, pulling, pushing and coughing can cause pain to a patient suffering from hernia. Mostly, women tend to suffer pain in the abdomen, especially the lower abdominal area.
  • Bulge Formation: Often, women notice a bulge or swelling in the area affected by hernia, especially the areas near the groin. The bulge may develop red, black or pink color.
  • Other Problems: Due to bowel obstruction that happens as a result of inguinal hernia, other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, nausea and dizziness are observed.

Causes of Hernia

In most cases, hernia occurs when the contents of the body compartment increase, and the boundary holding it together is weakened, causing the entrance of the organs outside the cavity. However, this weakening of the boundary is not always induced. Listed below are a few common causes that weaken the boundary holding the body contents and cause hernia to develop.

Congenital Factors

Since hernia runs in families, the weakening of the muscles that help hold the organs together are usually congenital. Certain diseases like Marfan syndrome, pregnancy that causes stretching of muscles and  even losing weight (in case of obese people) can cause hernia to develop.

Environmental Factors

Intra-abdominal pressure is considerably increased when a person suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, leading to a possibility of hernia.

Women often fall prey to inguinal hernia due to the stretching of internal muscles during pregnancy and childbirth. Abdominal hernias are frequent among patients suffering from prostatic hypertrophy, dyschezia and ascites.

Other Causes

Lifestyle and nutrition play major roles as far as diseases are concerned. The same applies for hernia. A diet lacking fiber causes constipation, which causes a strain on the bowels during defecation, increasing the risk of inguinal hernia. Also, smoking and alcohol addictions are known to weaken the muscles that help hold the organs in the compartment.

Strenuous lifestyle that includes extensive weight-lifting and physical exertion is also a major cause of hernia of parts of the brain due to an increase in the intracranial pressure. According to many researchers, thought and psychological conditions also impact the intracranial pressure, increasing the risk of parts of the brain to herniate. In women, during labor and pushing, a lot of pressure is applied by the abdominal and intrauteral muscles, causing an increased risk of hernia.

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