Causes of hernia

Causes of hernia

What causes hernias? –  Is it heavy lifting, or straining to go to the toilet?  There is no real evidence for this.

No-one really knows the true answer to this question – the cause is ‘multi-factorial’. There are a number of possible reasons, and usually you need two or more of them at a time.  So for instance you may have an inherited or developmental weakness, but you won’t get a hernia unless you also lift a grand piano or push a broken down car.

The hole or defect that the hernia pokes through will have come about in one of two ways.

EITHER through a natural opening that should have closed during the time we develop and has now reopened –

OR a man made (surgeon made!) opening in the abdominal wall that was closed after an operation, and has now opened up (see ‘incisional hernia’).

So examples of the first type– natural holes that have reopened – will be inguinal hernias at the groin and umbilical hernias at the umbilicus or naval.

The second type, through a previous incision, are all called incisional hernias.

If a hernia returns / recurs, in the same place, it is called a recurrent hernia.  So if a previous inguinal hernia repair breaks down, the resulting ‘new’ hernia is called a recurrent inguinal hernia.