There are various types of hernias, based on where they occur. Femoral, inguinal, ventral and umbilical are all types of hernias that can affect women. Generally, hernia symptoms are similar in both men and women. However, it is still important to recognize the symptoms and seek adequate treatment.
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The most common symptom of a femoral hernia is pain or tenderness in or around the groin. According to Mayo Clinic, women are most likely to suffer from femoral hernias. This pain is particularly noticeable when bending or lifting heavy objects and pressure is applied. A tender lump may develop in the area where the hernia has developed. You may also experience a heavy or dragging sensation at the hernia site. You may notice a change in your excretory functions such as constipation or difficulty urinating. If you are experiencing any pain during urination or a bowel movement, you unconsciously may be prohibiting these functions to prevent pain or discomfort. Some women report changes in how they feel during their menstrual periods. Depending on where the hernia is located, you may experience menstrual cramps, even if you don't typically have them, or you may experience more intense cramps than normal. If the hernia is severe, you may notice a change in the flow of your period, particularly if pressure is applied to the hernia.
An inguinal hernia occurs when soft tissue protrudes through a tear or break in the abdominal wall. An inguinal hernia will cause pain, particularly when coughing, bending over or lifting a heavy object. As the hernia progresses, you may develop a bulge on either side of the pubic bone. Similar to a femoral hernia, you may feel a dragging sensation at the hernia site.
A ventral hernia occurs when a portion of the abdominal muscles becomes weak and the intestine pushes through a tear. A ventral hernia can also be known as an incisional hernia if the hernia occurs at the site of a healed incision from a previous surgical procedure. Ventral hernias generally don't have many symptoms, but you may notice a bulge under the skin on your abdomen. If the intestine becomes lodged in the tear, it will cut off the blood supply. This "strangulation" is a serious health concern that can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting. Should it occur, strangulation must be treated immediately by a healthcare professional.
An umbilical hernia occurs when the intestine protrudes through the abdominal muscle near the navel. It is most common in infants, but umbilical hernias can occur in adults as well. With an umbilical hernia, you will develop a bulge near the navel that is painful or tender. If you notice this bulge, notify your doctor immediately to receive treatment and prevent long term damage.