A hernia is simply a hole or defect in the abdominal wall. Hernias are common and occur at natural points of weakness such as the groin or the navel (umbilicus), or at the site of a scar from a previous operation. When you stand up, cough or strain your ‘insides’ push out through the hole so you see or feel a swelling under the skin. The swelling will usually disappear when you lie down.
In the following pages I have tried to answer the most common questions that people ask when they first realise they might have a hernia.
Is a hernia painful?
Is there always a swelling?
Do I need an operation?
What happens if I do nothing, if I just leave it?
How are hernias repaired?
What about keyhole surgery?
I have had some problems with my heart in the past and I am worried about having a general anaesthetic.
How do I know which operation is best for me?