The symptoms of a hernia can actually help your doctor determine which kind of hernia you may be experiencing. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 75% to 80% of hernias are inguinal or femoral.
Approximately 2% of all hernias are incisional or ventral. Between 3% to 10% are umbilical, and these hernias affect 10% to 20% of newborns. Here are the most common causes of hernias in a variety of age groups.
Strain on The Abdomen or Groin
There are many ways that you can put pressure on your abdomen or groin area, including the following:
- Exercise: If you consistently complete an exercise incorrectly or over-exercise your abs, you may develop a hernia. In fact, a very common sports injury in men is athletic pubalgia, better known as a sports hernia, which develops due to strain while playing sports. A sports hernia often develops in athletes that consistently train with sudden changes of direction or intense twisting. Children may be more at risk of developing sports hernias, too.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women can lose abdominal strength and experience hernias. In addition, pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the entire body, but especially the back and abdominal areas. Intra-abdominal pressure can also cause an umbilical hernia in expectant mothers.
- Lifting: They say you should always lift with your knees, and hernias are the reason why. Sometimes, a sports hernia can develop due to lifting weights. Sudden or consistent strain while lifting heavy objects can cause back issues and a hernia.
- Frequent coughing: When you cough, you intensely engage your diaphragm and your ab muscles, which can cause a hernia to develop.
- Constipation: If you suffer frequent bouts of constipation, you could find yourself getting a hernia from straining to have a bowel movement.
Weak muscle tissue is susceptible to intestines pushing against them. So, babies and children commonly develop umbilical hernias when their abdominal muscles don’t finish developing during pregnancy. What’s more, these children may continue to have problems with weak or underdeveloped ab muscles, which can lead to future issues with hernias.
As we age, our muscle strength is reduced, which makes us more at risk to develop hernias. It’s common for older men to develop inguinal hernias and older women to develop femoral hernias. Regular exercise, physical therapy, and low-strain activities may be able to help prevent hernias from developing or getting worse.
Obesity and Weight Gain
It’s possible for men and women who suffer from obesity to develop an umbilical hernia due to weakened ab muscles. Plus, if you’ve had a hernia previously, being overweight can increase your risk of developing another hernia in the future.
A strong diaphragm not only helps you breathe better, it can also prevent diaphragmatic hernias. Developing a congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a risk for some babies who are born with undeveloped or weakened diaphragms.