Spigelian Hernia

Spigelian Hernia

What is a Spigelian Hernia?

A Spigelian hernia (sometimes called a lateral ventral hernia) is a rare type of hernia through the spigelian fascia, the layer of tissue that separates two groups of abdominal muscles. The muscles are called the rectus muscles and the lateral obliques. Spigelian hernias are usually small and therefore risk of strangulation is high. Most occur on the right side, and occur more frequently in women than men, especially between the ages of 30-70. An untreated spigelian hernia can block a portion of the bowel or cut off the blood supply to other organs and tissue. This condition can be life-threatening, and it is important to receive prompt medical treatment.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of a spigelian hernia vary from person to person and can be similar to other hernias in the abdomen. This means that it is impossible to diagnose a spigelian hernia based on symptoms alone.

Spigelian hernias tend not to cause noticeable swelling due to their location between muscle layers. However, very thin people with visible abdominal muscles may notice some swelling.

Most people with a spigelian hernia experience abdominal pain or vague discomfort, especially when straining the abdominal muscles during activities such as lifting heavy objects or straining to have a bowel movement.

Some typical symptoms to watch for include:

  • Pain in the abdomen that seems unrelated to food, illness, or other common sources
  • Sudden changes in bowel function, such as constipation or a change in stool or bleeding
  • Abdominal pain when lifting, coughing, or having a bowel movement
  • A soft, unexplained swelling in the abdomen
  • Most people do not feel a swelling, and there does not need to be a noticeable swelling for there to be a spigelian hernia.
  • A spigelian hernia can occur on either side of the abdomen, but most people feel pain in the lower abdomen.

A spigelian hernia can block the bowel or other vital organs, which is a life-threatening complication that requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of a blockage include:

  • Intense, unbearable abdominal pain that may come on suddenly or appear after a long period of less severe pain
  • Nausea and vomiting accompanied by severe pain, particularly when seemingly unrelated to food or a virus
  • Not having a bowel movement for several days, especially if this is accompanied by intense stomach pain
  • The appearance of blood in the stool

What are the Causes?

Similar to other types of hernias, Spigelian hernias are caused by weaknesses in the muscles of the abdominal wall, which allows the protruding of organs and tissue.

The weakened area can be something a person is born with, or it can develop over time. If it develops over time, it can be because of an injury or increased pressure within the abdominal cavity. This weakened area allows tissue and organs to poke through the spigelian fascia.

Although there is not a specific cause for this weakness, risk factors for a spigelian hernia include:

  • A chronic cough, such as with the lung condition COPD or bronchitis
  • Frequently straining to have a bowel movement
  • Trauma to the abdomen, such as during surgery or due to a major injury
  • Frequently straining to lift heavy objects
  • Excess fluid in the abdomen due to conditions such as liver problems
  • Being overweight
  • Being pregnant

 

Treatment

A spigelian hernia requires surgery for it to be repaired. If you suspect you have a strangulated hernia, call 911 immediately for emergency medical care.

If you are experiencing hernia symptoms, call Avalon Hernia today at (626) 310-0772 for a consultation with a hernia expert.

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