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A hernia is a weakness or tear in the abdominal muscles that allows organs or fatty tissue to break through the weakened area in the stomach. This can cause a noticeable bulge under the skin, as well as pain and discomfort. Symptoms can worsen when standing for long periods or when straining the abdominal muscles, such as when lifting heavy objects.

Many hernias are the result of a defect or weakness in the abdominal wall that was present at birth. The area can be weakened by age, injury or surgery. Although some hernias are more common in men, they can develop in anyone.

Risk factors for a hernia include:

  • Chronic cough
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Straining while lifting heavy objects
  • Straining during bowel movements or urination (going to the bathroom)
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications, such as steroids

Patient resources

We've assembled tools and resources to help you understand hernia treatments and recovery.

Carolinas comfort scale – a groundbreaking tool for hernia recovery

To better evaluate and track the quality of life (also called QOL) for patients having hernia surgery, Carolinas Laparoscopic and Advanced Surgery Program physicians developed something called the Carolinas Comfort Scale® (CCS).

This scale is becoming the gold standard for QOL assessments in hernia patients. It’s being used by surgeons across the US and the globe, and has been translated into multiple languages.

For more information regarding the use of the CCS, email us.

A hernia handbook

This guide is a handy resource on the types of hernias and treatment options.

Chapter 1 – Inguinal and Femoral Hernias
Chapter 2 – Umbilical Hernias
Chapter 3 – Ventral Hernias
Download the Full eBook

Mobile apps to help after hernia surgery

CeQOL mobile app

CeQOL stands for Carolinas Equation for Quality of Life. Surgeons and patients who are thinking about hernia surgery can use the free app, CeQOL, to predict the chances of having chronic pain after inguinal hernia repair. Users answer 19 simple questions about themselves, their hernia and their current quality of life status as it relates to their hernia.

Using data from nearly 1,700 patients treated over the last 5 years, the CeQOL app:

  • Includes information about hernias and surgical procedures
  • Predicts the incidence of chronic discomfort following inguinal hernia repair
  • Generates a percentage chance of having discomfort a year following surgery

For information, watch the CeQOL video.

icon-ceqol-60x60.png Download CeQOL for: Apple | Android

CeDAR mobile app

CeDAR stands for Carolinas Equation for Determining Associated Risks. Patients, their family members and surgeons can use this free app to predict a patient’s risk for wound-related problems and the associated costs following ventral hernia repair. Users answer 8 questions about height and weight, body mass index, smoking status and previous hernia repairs.

The CeDAR app:

  • Includes information about hernias and surgical procedures
  • Calculates the risk that the patient will develop problems after surgery, along with the cost of treatment of those problems
  • Provides an opportunity to discuss changes needed to improve a patient's risk for complications

For information, email us at CeDAR.

icon-cedar-60x60.png Download CeDAR for: Apple | Android

Atrium Health podcast about hernias and their treatment

Listen to podcast.

Hernia treatments

At Atrium Health, our skilled surgeons have extensive experience evaluating and repairing all types and stages of hernias, including complex cases such as recurrent hernias, chronic groin pain, athletic pubalgia (sports hernias) and those requiring complete abdominal wall reconstructions. Physicians from across the country and around the world refer patients to us for treatment based on our experience, outcomes and innovative treatment for all types of hernias.

Learn about hernia treatments at Atrium Health.