The intestines can experience a multitude of complications, including severe hernias and bowel obstructions. These co-occurring disorders cause a lot of pain and can be deadly if left to worsen. Thankfully, multiple treatment options can help an individual overcome these issues and live a happy and healthy life.

Here, you can learn about the connection between hernias and bowel obstructions. We also will share some advice to help you make proper health decisions for yourself or your family.

Abdominal Hernia Triggers and Causes

Abdominal hernias occur when an intestine works its way through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. If the intestine gets squeezed by the hernia, it can lead to more problems. The intestine may become cut off from its blood supply and become a strangulated hernia.

This painful situation develops when excessive pressure is placed on the bowels to cause primary tissue weakness. Multiple types of force can contribute to the development of this painful condition and its worsening.

For example, people who lift heavy objects may put undue strain on their abdomen that triggers a hernia. Typically, this type of lifting occurs in people who perform manual labor careers where heavy lifting is an essential task.

Other things that put pressure on your abdomen include diarrhea, constipation, or persistent coughing and sneezing. Poor nutrition or obesity may also have a link to causing hernias. In fact, these factors may combine with concerns such as poor nutrition and obesity. These factors increase a person’s risk of developing hernias and, even worse, of suffering from problematic bowel obstructions.

What Does a Hernia Feel Like?

A protrusion along the outside surface of the abdomen may be visible or felt if you have a hernia in the belly area. Hernia patients report minor pain, aching, or a pressing sensation at the hernia site. Any action that exerts pressure on the abdomen, such as heavy lifting, jogging, or bowel motions, exacerbates the discomfort. Some patients have a bulge but are not bothered by it.

Hernia Symptoms

When a hernia develops in a person’s body, they can experience several symptoms. Some symptoms include severe pain in the lower abdomen, general weakness, gurgling stomach, acid reflux, and chest pain. Other obvious symptoms of a hernia include:

General abdominal pain
Bulges around your abdomen
Soreness around the bulge
Burning sensations around the bulge
Pain when moving

Tears in the abdominal wall or abdominal muscles, usually lead to hernias appearing around the belly button. However, they may also appear near or around the groin and are called inguinal hernias. Groin hernias can sometimes be pushed back into place without surgery but will require surgical attention eventually.

Symptoms of Inguinal Hernias

An inguinal hernia is a particular type of hernia that occurs in the groin, and they are especially common among men. Symptoms include:

A bulge on either the right or left of the pubic bone that’s more visible under physical stress, including while coughing
Itching and pain around the bulge
Burning sensations around the bulge
Pain and discomfort while walking, bending, lifting, or coughing
Heaviness around the groin
A dragging feeling in the groin
Pressure in the groin area
Weakness around the groin

Depending on the severity of the hernia, a male patient may experience pain and swelling around the testicles, especially if the herniated intestine descends into the scrotum.

Hernias Trigger Bowel Obstructions

When the small intestine herniates, the intestine becomes restricted and is usually cut off from its blood supply. The restriction also makes it more difficult for digesting materials to pass through into the large intestine.

The severity of this issue varies depending on the level of the hernia and the type of hernia that develops.

Common types of hernias that cause intestinal obstructions include inguinal hernias, femoral hernias, and incisional hernias. Hiatal hernias are another common type of hernia but occur in the upper digestive system.

Unfortunately, a bowel obstruction can cause a multitude of other health issues. In fact, some bowel obstructions may combine and become a potentially deadly set of problems. Seeking immediate care and attention from a doctor will help you minimize and prevent dangerous complications.

Symptoms of Bowel Obstructions 

Bowel obstructions may take some time to develop, but the symptoms of this condition often occur very suddenly. For example, these symptoms can include, severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, severe constipation, nausea, vomiting, and swelling. Some patients even find themselves unable to pass gas.

Often, these symptoms become sharper and more intense as the obstruction worsens.

In some cases, bowel obstruction may worsen and cause multiple complications. For example, issues such as dehydration could trigger electrolyte imbalances, punctures in the intestines, and even death of the surrounding tissue. This cavalcade of symptoms may cause long hospital stays, coma, and even death if left untreated.

Constipation caused by hernia can be relieved in a few ways:

Drinking more water can help soften stool
Eating foods rich in fiber will help move food along
Eating yogurt or foods with other probiotics can aid the digestive tract
Walking can help loosen stool with motion
Take a stool softener
Use a laxative with a doctor’s go-ahead for hernia constipation
Severe bowel obstructions caused by hernias require a two-part treatment method. Early treatment methods for an obstruction include nasogastric tubes fed into the noose to remove fluids and gas. Doctors then wait and hope that the obstruction passes. Doctors may also perform treatments such as enemas or surgery to remove the obstruction or repair the hernia.

After the danger of the bowel or intestinal obstruction has passed, the patient needs hernia repair surgery. Depending on the location of the hernia there will be different treatment options.

Types of Hernia Repair Surgery

This treatment option varies depending on the type of hernia and the severity of the injury. For example, open hernia repair requires opening up the body and pushing the hernia back into place. Laparoscopic hernia repair uses smaller incisions paired with a tube to insert repair tools carefully.

With new advances in technology, robotic laparoscopic surgery is now available here in Tennessee. These procedures are far less invasive than open surgery, allowing the patient to recover in less time.


The dangers of hernias and bowel obstructions are too severe to ignore. Surgical repair is necessary if you want relief from the painful effects of intestinal obstruction.

If you or someone you love has a hernia or similar concerns, set up your appointment at The Surgical Clinic today. Our team will examine the issue and take steps to manage it quickly and efficiently.

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