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Hernia symptoms

2-minute read

The symptoms of a hernia depend on the size of the hernia and where it is. Typical symptoms include:

  • a bulge or lump in the groin or abdomen
  • pain, burning, aching, heaviness or discomfort, especially when coughing, straining or lifting
  • a pulling sensation around the lump or bulge

Some hernias may not cause any symptoms at all.

If you have a hiatus hernia in your stomach, you may also experience:

  • heartburn
  • reflux
  • pain in the chest or stomach
  • difficulty swallowing, or bringing food or drink back up into your mouth

If you have an inguinal hernia in your groin, you may also experience:

  • weakness or pressure in your groin
  • swelling and pain around the testicles

If you think you or someone in your care may have a hernia, it’s important to see a doctor to discuss treatment options.

Occasionally, tissue from inside the abdomen gets trapped in the hernia. Usually, the tissue can be gently pushed back into the abdomen.

But sometimes, it can’t. The symptoms of this include:

  • redness and tenderness at the site
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sudden abdominal pain that quickly gets worse
  • bloating
  • a hernia bulge that looks red, purple or dark
  • inability to open your bowels or pass wind
If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor straight away, as you may need emergency surgery.

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Last reviewed: January 2019

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