A hernia is a condition in which an internal organ or tissue bulges through a weak area of muscle, (fascia) most often occurring in the abdomen. A combination of muscle weakness and straining contribute to the development of a hernia (such as heavy lifting, severe diarrhea or constipation, or persistent coughing or sneezing). There are several types of hernias, including: inguinal (groin), umbilical (abdomen), incisional (related to scar tissue), hiatal (upper stomach), femoral (leg), and congenital diaphragmatic (a birth defect requiring surgery).

Though the majority of hernias are not immediately life threatening, they will not go away on their own and will require surgical correction to prevent potentially dangerous complications.