Q:

What is an epigastric hernia?

A:

Quick Answer

An epigastric hernia occurs when fat pushes through a weak area in the upper abdominal muscles between the breastbone and the navel. These hernias tend to occur in those under 50 and typically are unnoticed due to their small sizes, states Drugs.com.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, these hernias often present no symptoms but may cause pain in the upper belly and require surgery to repair.

According to About Health, epigastric hernias can also be present at birth, though in these cases, although the hernia will not heal itself, surgery can be postponed unless the hernia threatens to become an emergency. Regardless, About Health claims that this type of hernia is fairly visible as a bulge in the abdominal region, so even if in some cases, an epigastric hernia is a reducible hernia, meaning the bulge only seems to appear when there is abdominal pressure, such as from crying, it is still easily diagnosable.

Finally About Health states that a hernia becomes an emergency when it is strangulated, meaning the tissue bulging outside of the muscle is squeezed so tightly that it is being cut off from the blood supply. In this case, immediate surgery is required, otherwise the tissue outside the hernia could die.

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