​Hernia Obstruction


A hernia is a displacement of a body organ as it pushes through the muscle or tissue containing or surrounding it. A hernia can occur anywhere in the region of the abdomen. The most common types of hernias are:

  • Inguinal hernia: This type of hernia occurs in your lower abdomen.

  • Femoral hernia: This occurs in your groin, or the top of your inner thigh.

  • Incisional hernia: This occurs in a surgical wound or incision.

  • Umbilical hernia: This occurs in the abdomen near the navel. 

  • Epigastric hernia: This occurs between the navel and the lower part of the rib cage.

  • Obturator hernia: This is an extremely rare abdominal hernia and develops mostly in women in the pelvic cavity.

Most hernias are caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall. Other causes can be ageing, obesity, having a tough physical job or straining for long times. A hernia could turn into an emergency if left untreated. ​

Symptoms of hernias include:

  • Swelling beneath the skin of the abdomen or the groin. This may feel tender. Sometimes it disappears when you lie down. This swelling usually increases with time.

  • A feeling of heaviness in your abdomen 

  • Pain or discomfort experienced in the abdomen or groin, especially when lifting things, coughing, having sex or bending over. 

  • Vomiting​​ and nausea

If you are facing any of the above symptoms and suspect that you may be suffering from hernia, seek immediate help from your doctor working with the GI and Surgery Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital as hernia can be life-threatening and may require emergency surgery.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

To test for hernia, your doctor will conduct a physical examination by pushing the hernia back through the abdominal wall, to see if it is a reducible or an irreducible hernia. A reducible hernia is a hernia that flattens out when you lie down or push against it. This is not an immediate threat to your health, although it can be painful and become worse if untreated. A non reducible hernia occurs when the loop of the intestine becomes trapped and a person loses the ability to make the bulge flatten out. Non reducible hernias are very painful and require immediate medical care. Usually no other investigation is required to confirm diagnosis. In some difficult and confusing cases, your doctor may advise you to have an ultrasound or CT (Computerized Tomography) scan.

Hernia is usually treated with surgery. During surgery, the surgeon will attempt to place the protruding organ or tissue back into the abdominal wall. There are two ways that a hernia repair can be carried out:

  • Open surgery: In this type of surgery, the surgeon will make a large incision in your abdomen

  • Laparoscopic surgery: In this type of surgery the surgeon will only make a very small incision in your abdomen, and then use a specially designed camera and instruments to perform the surgery.

Both types of surgery have advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor can help you in choosing better treatment option for you depending on your condition. 

Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do before your surgery”.
Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do on the day of your surgery”.

In some cases, a part of the intestine can push through the weakened walls and become trapped, or strangulated, causing severe pain. This causes the blood supply to be cut off and gangrene can set in. A strangulated hernia can be life-threatening and you need to get it surgically treated immediately.

Other complications include painful swelling of the scrotum or testicles in men.​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on "what to do after your surgery"

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.