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Abdominal Hernia Signs & Symptoms

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Abdominal Hernia Signs & Symptoms
A man laying on a sofa holding his abdomin in pain. Photo Credit: g-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images

An abdominal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine abnormally pushes through a weak section of the muscular abdominal wall, explains the Better Health Channel, a health information website established by the Australian government. This condition can arise as a result of excess stress placed on the abdominal wall due to persistent episodes of coughing, heaving lifting or bowel movement difficulties. If abdominal hernia signs and symptoms develop, contact a doctor as soon as possible to prevent further medical complications.

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Abdominal Mass

The majority of patients who experience an abdominal hernia develop a noticeable mass or bulge beneath the abdominal area, explains the Merck Manual, an online medical encyclopedia for patients and caregivers. The abdominal mass develops when the organs within the abdomen push through the abdominal wall. A doctor can typically push the abdominal bulge back into the abdominal cavity with little discomfort.


In certain patients, an abdominal hernia can cause sensations of pain within the abdomen as a symptom of this condition. The severity of these painful symptoms can vary from mild to severe and are typically characterized as dull and constant, explain medical professionals at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Certain activities, such as coughing or sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time, may exacerbate painful abdominal hernia symptoms in some patients. If symptoms of abdominal pain become progressively worse, contact a doctor immediately as such sensations can indicate a hernia-related complication called strangulation.

Nausea or Vomiting

If a piece of the intestine becomes trapped within the abdominal wall due to an abdominal hernia, blood flow to the intestine may be cut off, explains the Merck Manual. This hernia complication is called strangulation and can lead to severe inflammation and infection in affected patients. A patient who develops a strangulated abdominal hernia can become nauseous or may begin to vomit as symptoms of this condition. Left untreated, a strangulated abdominal hernia can be fatal.

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