What Can Cause a Female to Have a Hernia?

Coughing, lifting heavy weights and being pregnant can cause inguinal hernias that are non-congenital, states Mayo Clinic. Inguinal hernias are usually congenital in origin and are the most common hernias in women, according to the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. Overweight women and women who have experienced prolonged childbirth or several pregnancies are at higher risk of umbilical hernias, notes The New York Times. Umbilical hernias occur more frequently in women than in men.

Hernias in the groin are inguinal hernias, while hernias in the abdomen are umbilical hernias, states the University of Rochester Medical Center. Hernias are places in which tissue bulges through muscle, according to The New York Times. Pain from hernias can be debilitating, and hernias can become life-threatening if intestinal tissue lodges in muscle.

Inguinal hernias in women may occur at points where the connective tissue supporting the uterus connects with the pubic bone, according to Mayo Clinic. Congenital inguinal hernias occur when the abdominal lining does not close completely after birth. Weakness in the abdomen can make women more susceptible to inguinal hernias resulting from physical exertion, chronic coughing, being overweight or being pregnant, or these risk factors can cause a hernia on their own.

Umbilical hernias may also be congenital, resulting from incomplete closure of the abdomen around the navel following birth, states Mayo Clinic. Among adult women, excessive abdominal pressure from repeated pregnancy, surgery on the abdomen and being overweight can cause umbilical hernias.