A Word From Our Experts

Danielle Press, MD
Union General & Endocrine Surgery


Commonly called a “rupture,” a hernia is a weakness or tear in the wall of your abdomen. Men and women of all ages can have hernias. Children can have them, too. Since the month of June is Hernia Awareness Month, we’ve asked Dr. Danielle Press, a General and Endocrine Surgeon with Union Hospital, to tell us more about hernias and how they are treated.

What causes a hernia?

Picture an old tire. Its outer wall is like the layers of tissue surrounding your abdomen (the abdomen wall). The tire’s inner tube is like the thin inner lining of your abdomen (the peritoneum). Like a tire holds air, your abdomen holds the intestines and other vital organs. If the wall gets weak, a hernia may form.

How do you know if you have a hernia?

It’s usually easy to recognize a hernia. You may notice a bulge under your skin, or you may feel pain when you lift heavy objects, cough, or sneeze. The pain may be sharp and immediate. In some cases, the pain may get worse or the bulge may become larger toward the end of the day or after standing for long periods of time.

Where do hernias occur?

A hernia may occur at the site of a previous surgical incision anywhere on the abdomen. Other areas where hernias can occur are around the “belly button” or in the groin area.

How are hernias treated?

If you think you have a hernia, see your doctor right away. If you have a hernia, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery. Surgery repairs the hernia and helps to prevent future complications such as strangulation and gangrene of the intestines. Within a short period after surgery, full recovery will occur. Then you can return to your normal activities, free of the pain and worry your hernia caused you.