For Immediate Release

Friday, October 23, 2020



Wondering about that aching in your belly or groin? A hernia, which is relatively common and can afflict anyone, could be the cause. Hernias cause 3.6 million ambulatory care visits and 380,000 hospitalizations each year, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. A hernia occurs when an internal organ, or other body part, protrudes through the surrounding wall of muscle or tissue.

Hernias can be caused by a variety of circumstances including muscle weakness, straining from heavy lifting or previous injury. Sometimes people are born with weak abdominal muscles, and sometimes abdominal muscles weaken with age. Other causes of a hernia can include diarrhea, constipation and persistent coughing or sneezing. Additionally, lifestyle factors can lead to hernias especially if you are overweight, smoke or don’t have a healthy diet which causes the abdominal wall muscles to weaken.

Signs that you or your loved one might have a hernia include discomfort in the groin area that gets worse when bending or lifting something, a bulge in the groin or scrotum, or swelling in the scrotum, heaviness in the groin or abdomen, pain or discomfort during a bowel movement or urination, pain or discomfort toward the end of the day, particularly if you are standing a lot, and any symptoms of a strangulated hernia, which include fever, vomiting, nausea, and severe cramping.

The most common forms of hernia are:

Inguinal hernia: When the intestine or the bladder extends into the abdominal wall or into the groin’s inguinal canal. This type of hernia is most common in men.


Femoral hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. Femoral hernias are less common than inguinal hernias and mainly affect older women.

Umbilical hernia: Fatty tissue or part of the intestine pushes through the abdomen near the navel (belly button).


Hiatal (hiatus) hernia: Part of the stomach pushes up unto the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm.

A hernia in the abdomen or groin can produce a noticeable lump or bulge that can be pushed back in, or that can disappear when lying down. Laughing, crying, coughing, straining during a bowel movement, or physical activity may make the lump reappear after it has been pushed in.

In the case of hiatal hernias, there are no bulges outside of the body. Instead, symptoms may include, heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, frequent regurgitation (bringing food back up) and chest pain.

Enlarging or painful hernias usually require surgery to relieve discomfort and prevent serious complications. Michael Marcucci, MD, general surgeon, will host a free, virtual seminar on Tuesday, November 3, to discuss diagnosis and treatment options, including minimally invasive robotic surgery for hernia repair. Register today to learn more! Visit:

Located in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia and a member of Tower Health, Chestnut Hill Hospital is a 148-bed, community-based, university-affiliated, teaching hospital committed to excellent patient-centered care. Chestnut Hill Hospital provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient, diagnostic and treatment services for people in northwest Philadelphia and eastern Montgomery County. With more than 300 board-certified physicians, Chestnut Hill Hospital’s specialties include minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery, cardiology, gynecology, oncology, orthopedics, urology, family practice and internal medicine. Chestnut Hill Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission and is affiliated with university-hospitals in Philadelphia for heart and stroke care and residency programs. For more information, visit