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Is a hernia serious?

A hernia can be very serious if it is not treated. Without treatment, a hernia can grow larger and cause more problems. The structures within the hernia may get stuck (known as an incarcerated hernia), which predisposes the blood supply to these structures getting compressed and leading to tissue death. This is known as a strangulated hernia, and it is a very serious condition that can make a person suddenly unwell and potentially lead to death, if not treated. Also, if a loop of intestine gets stuck within a hernia and it gets compressed, it can cause a mechanical obstruction of the bowel, leading to abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, constipation and abdominal distension. If this complication is not immediately treated, the person can become very unwell and it can potentially be fatal.

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About this article

Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 22 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Votes: 181 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Hernia


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