Hernias can develop very quickly or over a long period of time; hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain. Hernias can affect people of both sexes and ages, although certain factors such as being overweight, persistent coughing or pregnancy that can cause a hernia, even straining through weight-lifting or constipation.
The two most common hernia types are inguinal hernias and incisional hernias, but there are also umbilical hernias and hiatal hernias. If you suspect you may have a hernia you should seek medical advice; typically doctors can diagnose a hernia through a physical examination. However you may require X-rays or ultrasounds to detect small body wall hernias, and endoscopy (or other tests) to diagnose a hiatus hernia.
Most hernias eventually require fixing as they will otherwise grow larger over time. Larger hernias are riskier to repair and more prone to recurrence than smaller hernias. The risk of developing dangerous complications from an untreated hernia is on average 1% per year. There are a range of hernia repair techniques available for every type of hernia depending on its size and location.
We often choose to perform laparoscopic surgery for hernia treatment (keyhole surgery), as it is associated with the lowest re-occurrence and infection rate.