The two most common symptoms of a hernia are discomfort and a bulge. Typically, there are no symptoms on awakening but with prolonged periods of standing, sitting, or lifting the symptoms appear and often intensify.
Incisional hernias are usually associated with:
- A burning sensation
- A pressure or fullness
- An ache or outright pain at the site of the hernia
- An awareness that something is present in the incision that should not be there
The bulge of an incisional hernia is located in the incision itself. Occasionally, it is just to the side. The bulge may be always present but typically goes away when the patient lays down. The reason is that the pressure that pushes tissue into the hernia when the patients stand is eliminated when the patient lays down because the tissue goes back into the abdomen. People can often push in the bulge (reduce the hernia), by applying gentle, steady pressure over the lump. If the lump does not go away, the tissue is stuck. This is known as an incarcerated hernia and requires immediate medical attention.