The wall of the abdomen has natural areas of weakness.

Hernias can develop at these and other sites due to heavy strain on the abdominal wall, ageing, injury, an old incision, or weakness from birth.

In men especially, groin (inguinal) hernia is very common. When the testicle descends into the scrotum during development the internal lining of the abdominal cavity is pulled down into the scrotum. This sac should dissolve with the hole on the inside of the abdominal wall closing. In approximately 25-30% of men, this sac does not dissolve. It sits for years like a deflated long balloon along side the vessels to and from the testicle. The inner hole can weaken at any time with bowel or fat coming down into the sac towards the scrotum.

Belly Button (umbilical) hernias develop where the umbilical cord was connected. This hole never fully closes. With childbirth, weight gain etc this gets stretched open and fat and occasionally bowel protrudes through the abdominal wall.

Incisional hernias can occur at any place the abdominal wall has been opened at operation or other trauma. They can be very large and often have lots of bowel within them.

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