We all get those intermittent, nagging stomach ‘pulls’ now and then. They can be a result of a strained muscle from a hard cough or sneeze, over-exercising the core, heavy-lifting or even a gastrointestinal issue.
But that sensation can also be a symptom of a hernia, which requires prompt medical diagnosis and treatment.
Conversely, some people worry they have a hernia when, in fact, it is just an acute muscle strain or tear. Keep in mind, however, that hernias can occur from the abdomen, down through the torso and into the groin area.
So what are some signs to help identify your belly or groin-region pain?
Physical Lumps and Bumps
- When someone experiences a pulled abdominal muscle, there can be inflammation and some swelling, but generally no physically-identifiable marker.
- A hernia usually causes a noticeable bulge on the surface of the abdomen. This bulge can be painless but change in size with exertion.
- Hernias are generally aggravated by exertion. Exertion may be related to one’s occupation or on occasion, patient factors such as chronic cough, constipation or prostate enlargement in men. These exacerbating factors need to be addressed in order to minimize the risk of it recurring after there’s been a surgical repair of the hernia.
Pain or No Pain
- A pulled abdominal muscle can cause mild pain or sudden sharp pain, which may be aggravated by coughing, laughing and sneezing in a consistent area.
- Hernias don’t usually cause pain initially. But as they grow, they can cause discomfort that many people describe as ‘achy or heavy.’ The physical bulge doesn’t cause tenderness unless abdominal contents have become trapped in the hernia, which is an emergency situation for which you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Abdominal muscle strains can happen in various locations and include any of the abdominal wall muscles.
- Abdominal hernias normally occur at specific sites, most commonly in the groin region, the belly button or around previous surgical incisions or other abdominal wounds.
- Other types of hernias are not so easily discernible. Beyond the medical history of the individual and a physical examination by a surgeon, sophisticated imaging like CT scans may be required.
Joseph Kacmarski describes his groin hernia diagnosis and treatment at Prime Surgicare >>>
A pulled stomach muscle can be uncomfortable, certainly. What your trainer or high school gym teacher told you is true—before working-out or playing sports, take precautions and stretch beforehand for at least six-10 minutes.
Bend your knees deeply if you must lift heavy items and, most importantly, keep moving your body every day to stay limber and as flexible as possible.
“I Think I May Have a Hernia”
Call Prime Surgicare at (732) 982-2002 where you will receive an appointment to see me or one of our experienced hernia specialists.
Our board certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic and general surgeons have performed hundreds of hernia repair operations at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold and Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge.
The old adage is true — when in doubt, check it out.
Dr. Seun Sowemimo and Dr. Bennet Togbe are board-certified and fellowship-trained, general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeons in NJ. They specialize in minimally invasive weight loss surgery and general surgery procedures including diverticulitis, gallbladder and hernia conditions. They are the top NJ surgeons at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties.
To learn more, visit our YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732)-982-2002.