Abdominal hernias are caused by scar tissue from abdominal surgery, the belly button not properly closing and heavy lifting, although many times, there is no clear cause, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Hernias can also occur in the groin area or the upper thigh area in addition to the abdomen.
Most people who develop hernias do not experience symptoms, although some experience pain or discomfort. In the worst cases, the hernia grows and shuts off the blood supply to parts of the body. Surgery must be performed immediately in this scenario, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.
To diagnose hernias, doctors use ultrasounds and CT scans as well as physical examinations where patients are asked to push, lift or cough. Risk factors for hernias include a family history of hernias, a chronic cough, chronic constipation, being overweight and smoking. To prevent hernias from forming, individuals should stop smoking, keep a healthy weight, not strain when going to the bathroom, avoid lifting weights when they are too heavy and avoid lifting weights or items improperly. The most common hernias are found in the stomach, and most will heal on their own over time, notes Healthline.