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Published on April 12, 2016

Do You Think You Have a Hernia?

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital to offer free screenings and information

West Philadelphia (April 2, 2012) – For some, it can cause sudden pain when you cough or move. For others, a lump or "swelling" develops over time and may not cause any pain at all. But for the nearly five million Americans who suffer from one each year, a hernia can lead to other health problems if left untreated. For example, if the bowel gets trapped inside the hernia sac, and the blood supply gets pinched off, this becomes an emergency.

What is a hernia?

Anyone—men, women and children—can get a hernia.

A hernia is when an internal organ bulges through a weak area of muscle. The abdomen and groin are the most common areas affected by a hernia.  Signs and symptoms can include pain, discomfort or swelling.

A hernia can occur for various reasons:

  • When a muscle is weak or strained—for example, during heavy lifting, when muscles are stretched during pregnancy or significant weight loss, or straining during a bowel movement
  • When a medical condition, such as lung disease, chronic coughing or an enlarged prostate, causes increased pressure in the abdomen

Some people are born with weak abdominal muscles, making them more susceptible to developing hernias.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital in West Philadelphia offers a program that’s solely dedicated to the treatment of all types of hernias. Treatment begins with proper diagnosis by a professional healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician.

Types of hernias include:

  • Inguinal – the most common type of hernia in both men and women, although inguinal hernias are more common in men 
  • Femoral – occurs more frequently in women and may be felt as a lump and/or pain below the groin crease 
  • Umbilical – occurs more frequently in pregnant women or obese people, but also occurs in babies
  • Incisional – occurs when a surgical wound does not heal properly

A hernia is usually treated with surgery. At Mercy Hernia Care, surgeons use the latest minimally invasive techniques that result in smaller incisions, fewer stitches, less pain and much faster recoveries, also known as "tension free repair."

Your surgeon will use a thin, yet sturdy material called a “mesh” to repair the hernia. The mesh allows new growth of your body’s own tissue. The mesh can go under or over the muscle to support weakened area and is held in place by a few sutures.

Free Screenings and Information

Dr. Leon Clarke, Director of Surgery at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, leads the team of physicians, nurses and clinicians who work one-on-one with each patient throughout the diagnosis, treatment and recovery phases. 

Dr. Clarke is offering free hernia screenings this Saturday, April 7, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., in the Mercy Family Health Associates office at 1575 N. 52nd Street, Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19131. To reserve your spot for a free hernia screening, call 215.748.9343.

Dr. Clarke will also speak about hernia care during Dine with the Docs on Saturday, April 21, starting at 11:00 a.m., in the cafeteria at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, 501 South 54th Street, Philadelphia, PA. A complimentary lunch will be served. To reserve your spot for Dine with the Docs, call 1.877.GO.MERCY (466.3729).

Media Contact

Mary Beth McCloy
Communications Manager

Mercy Health System
One West Elm Street
Suite 100
Conshohocken, PA 19428

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