There are two main categories of hernias, named according to where they occur on the body. Within each of these categories, there are different types of hernias.
Inguinal Hernias (also called Groin Hernias)
Direct Inguinal Hernia
This type of hernia occurs in the weak muscle next to the opening of the inguinal canal in the groin area. Direct hernias typically occur in men over 40, and may result from aging or injury. Indirect Inguinal Hernia – image: indirect-inquinal-hernia As the most common type of hernia in men, an indirect hernia occurs when a loop of intestine and/or fat presses into or through the inguinal canal in the groin area. This area may be weak at birth, allowing hernias to form later in life. Both men and women can get this type of hernia.
This hernia is more common in women, who may get it as a result of a weakness in the femoral canal area of the groin.
Ventral Hernias (also called Abdominal Hernias)
With abdominal surgery comes the risk of an incisional hernia. This type of hernia bulges through the scar from a past surgery, and can occur anywhere on the abdomen months or years after surgery.
This hernia is seen in children and adults of both sexes in the umbilical ring that surrounds the navel. It may be caused by a defect that is present at birth, or may occur over time due to obesity, excessive coughing, or pregnancy.
An epigastric hernia pushes through the abdominal wall between your lower breastbone and navel. Both men and women can get this type of hernia, which is usually the result of a weakness present at birth combined with intra-abdominal pressure along the midline.
Other types of hernias
Your doctor may use other terms to describe your hernia. If you have hernias on both sides of your groin, these are known as bilateral hernias. If your hernia occurs in the same spot as a previous hernia repair, it is called a recurrent hernia.