How is a hernia diagnosed?

Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Are you ready to jump into spring, but are experiencing pain you think could be a hernia? A hernia occurs when an area of tissue or organ pushes through the groin or abdominal muscle.

If left untreated, hernias can lead to severe complications. That’s why it’s important that you don’t put off care. Scheduling an appointment with an experienced hernia surgeon, who can quickly diagnose and treat your hernia, is the first step to getting back to normal quickly and safely.

Diagnosing a hernia

Hernias are generally pretty straightforward to diagnose. Your hernia surgeon will review your symptoms and make a diagnosis based on a physical exam. Depending on the type of hernia he or she suspects, the surgeon may order other diagnostic tests.

Abdominal wall hernia

An abdominal wall hernia is generally visible or can be felt by your surgeon. During a physical exam, your doctor will feel your groin area and testicles and ask you to cough. Coughing may make the hernia more prominent.

Sometimes a hernia cannot be diagnosed through a physical exam alone, and other diagnostic tests are needed. Some examples of these include:

  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to generate images of your pelvic area and abdomen. In women, ultrasounds can help your doctor rule out other causes of pain, such as ovarian cysts or fibroids. In men, an ultrasound can help diagnose inguinal or scrotal hernias.
  • CT scan (computer tomography). A CT scan uses X-ray technology to generate images of the abdominal area and organs. Typically, a CT scan is ordered to rule out other potential causes of abdominal pain and swelling.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). An MRI uses radio waves and a magnetic field to generate images of your organs and abdomen area. Your doctor may order an MRI if you have pain that is getting worse with exercise. Because exercise can cause a hernia without a bulge, an MRI can reveal tears in the abdomen.

In rare instances, a hernia can create other complications, such as becoming trapped within the abdominal wall and cutting the blood supply cut off. If your doctor suspects this has occurred in your case, he or she may order other imaging tests or blood tests to determine if you have any signs of infection.

About the Hernia Center of NGMC

At the Hernia Center of NGMC, our surgeons specialize in hernias. Each surgeon performs between 15 to 30 hernia surgeries a month. This means by choosing the Hernia Center of NGMC, you are getting surgeons who are highly experienced and offer the highest quality surgical care possible. In fact, our surgeons at the Hernia Center have been recognized by Surgical Review Corporation for their quality outcomes and expertise.  You can trust that you will receive the highest quality care possible at the Hernia Center.

If you think you have a hernia, schedule your appointment by calling 770-219-4040 or