Strangulated Hernias

Strangulated Hernias

What is a Strangulated Hernia?

A strangulated hernia is a serious life-threatening condition in which the blood supply to trapped hernia tissue is cut off. This strangulated tissue can quickly die off and release toxins and infection into the bloodstream, which could lead to sepsis or death. A strangulated hernia requires immediate medical attention.

Strangulated vs. Incarcerated Hernias

A hernia occurs when soft tissue, such as fat or part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall. An incarcerated hernia occurs when herniated tissue becomes trapped and cannot easily be moved back into the abdominal cavity. An incarcerated hernia can easily lead to a bowel obstruction or strangulation.

What are the Symptoms of a Strangulated Hernia?

Unlike other types of hernias, strangulated hernias tend to cause severe symptoms, which can include:

  • Acute pain that comes on suddenly and may get more severe
  • A hernia bulge that turns red, purple or dark
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Fever
  • Inability to move your bowels or pass gas
  • Bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Inflammation or tenderness around the hernia
  • Increased heart rate

What Causes Strangulated Hernias?

Strangulated hernias can occur at any point in a person’s life, and also may be present at birth. They typically occur when muscle tissue in the abdomen weakens, leading to potential areas where folds of tissue can push through the muscle tissue. The abdominal lining can then trap the intestines, which pinches off a bit of organ tissue and causes strangulation.

Risk factors for strangulated hernia are the same as other types of hernias and include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Strenuous activity
  • History of abdominal surgery, including cesarean delivery, which can weaken the abdominal wall
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Chronic coughing


Surgery is the only treatment for a strangulated hernia, and operation must take place as soon as possible to prevent lasting damage to the affected tissue.

If you suspect you have a strangulated hernia, call 911 immediately for emergency medical care.

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



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