A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a hole or a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue called fascia. The most common types are inguinal (inner groin), incisional (resulting from an incision), femoral (outer groin), umbilical (belly button), and hiatal (upper stomach).
In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall or into the inguinal canal in the groin. About 80% of all hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area. These hernias are more likely to cause complications, so if you or your child has a swelling in your groin, especially when you stand, cough, cry or strain, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. These types of hernias need to be corrected by surgery.
In an umbilical hernia, part of the small intestine passes through the abdominal wall and causes a swelling near the navel. Common in newborns, it also commonly afflicts obese women or those who have had many children. These hernias rarely cause problems unless they are very large. In children they normally get smaller as the child grows and most are no longer noticeable by age 4. Surgery is not usually recommended unless the hernia is causing problems.
Please see your doctor if you suspect you have a hernia, especially if it gets painful and tender.
(Adapted from WebMD