Hernia Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on January 16, 2022
2 min read

Symptoms depend on the type of hernia. In some cases, you may not have any symptoms.

For inguinal, femoral, umbilical, and incisional hernias, symptoms may include:

  • An obvious swelling beneath the skin of the abdomen or the groin. It may be tender, and it may disappear when you lie down.
  • A heavy feeling in the abdomen that sometimes comes with constipation or blood in the stool.
  • Discomfort in the abdomen or groin when lifting or bending over.
  • A burning or aching sensation at the bulge
  • Weakness or pressure in your groin
  • Heartburn
  • A hard time swallowing
  • Shooting pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles

Symptoms of a hiatal hernia may include heartburn and upper abdominal pain.

Strangulated hernia symptoms

Usually, you can push a hernia in. But sometimes, you can’t. It can get stuck in your abdomen. If the trapped part gets cut off, or strangulated, from blood flow, it’s a serious situation and can be life-threatening.

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms of a strangulated hernia, including:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or both
  • Fever
  • Sudden pain that gets worse quickly
  • A hernia bulge that turns red, purple, or dark
  • Not being able to poop or pass gas


Hernias are common in kids, especially babies. They can happen when part of their abdominal wall is weak at birth. If your child has one, you’ll usually notice a bulge in their groin area or around their belly button. Your baby may also cry a lot and refuse to eat. Hernias often bulge when your child cries, coughs, or strains to poop. You may also notice that their belly is tender to the touch.

You should see a doctor if you:

  • Suspect that you have a hernia
  • Can't get the hernia to go back in or it goes soft; seek medical care right away, as this is an incarcerated hernia and can lead to organ strangulation.
  • Have a painful or noticeable bulge in your groin on either side of your pubic bone
  • Know you have a hernia, and you have symptoms of a strangulated hernia. Seek medical care right away.