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Hernias usually develop in the abdomen but they may affect other parts of the body. Hernias can be classified in several ways, according to their location, severity or origin, for example.
Most hernias occur in the abdomen when a weakness in the abdominal wall leads to a hole forming. Some examples of the most common hernias to occur in the abdomen are given below.
Inguinal hernias occur when bowel tissue or fatty tissue protrudes into the groin area at the top of the thigh. These hernias make up 75% of all abdominal hernias and mainly affect men.
These also occur when abdominal contents protrude through to the groin area. However, these hernias tend to be more rounded than inguinal hernia and mainly occur in women rather than men.
Here, intra-abdominal tissue pokes through the abdomen, near the naval area. These hernias are more common among pregnant women and obese people.
A hiatus hernia occurs when part of the stomach or intestine protrudes into the chest area through a hole in the diaphragm.
Less common hernias that are also classified according to their location in the body include:
Hernias can also be classified according to their origin or cause. For example, congenital hernias occur as birth defects that have affected the abdominal wall of the newborn. Acquired hernias on the other hand, develop later in life for a variety of different reasons.
Hernias may also be categorized according to their severity and may be described as either complete or incomplete, for example. Complete hernia refers to when the entire organ protrudes through a weakened area of tissue, while incomplete hernia refers to when only part of the organ protrudes through.
Some other ways of categorizing hernia are described below.