Hernia consultation available online

Request a consultation for a hernia symptoms online from our trusted, board-certified doctors and discuss a treatment plan today. Our physicians can refer you to a specialist near you to discuss hernia treatment options, if needed.*

Book an appointment

Typically caused by muscle weakness and strain

Treatment plans dependent on the type of hernia

Surgical treatment may be required

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor’s discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how you can save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot diagnose all cases of hernias. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms, but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person evaluation and treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about hernias

Hernias happen when an internal organ or other body part protrudes through muscle or tissue. The abdomen is covered in layers of muscle and fascia tissue, which protect the internal organs.

There are different types of hernias:

Inguinal hernias

In an inguinal hernia, tissue protrudes into a part of the groin called the inguinal canal. An inguinal hernia can occur at either of two passages through the lower abdominal wall, one on each side of the groin.

Femoral hernias

In femoral hernias, fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes into the groin. These hernias are less common than inguinal hernias. They primarily affect older women.

Hiatal hernias

In hiatal hernias, part of the stomach protrudes into the chest cavity through an opening in the diaphragm.

Umbilical hernias

In umbilical hernias, fatty tissue or part of the intestine protrudes through the abdominal cavity near the belly button.

Hernia causes

  • You can be born with a hernia or acquire it during your lifetime. Depending on its specific cause, a hernia might develop quickly or over an extended period.

    Some common causes of muscle weakness that lead to hernias include:

    • Congenital conditions, which occur during development

    • Aging

    • Trauma from an injury or surgery

    • Strenuous exercise or weightlifting

    • Chronic coughing

    • Pregnancy

    • Being overweight or obese

    • Constipation

Hernia symptoms

  • The hallmark symptom of a hernia is a noticeable bulge in the affected area with or without mild pressure or pain. For example, in the case of an umbilical hernia, you might notice a lump near your belly button.

    You might notice that the hernia bulge "disappears" when you're lying down. You might also experience pain and discomfort around the affected area.

    Some types of hernias, such as hiatal hernias, have specific symptoms, such as heartburn and chest pain. However, most hernias have no symptoms. You might not realize you have a hernia until a routine medical exam.

    A strangulated hernia may show symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, a fever, or a hernia bulge that turns red or purple. This is a life-threatening emergency that could be fatal. If you notice any symptoms, especially severe symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Hernia treatment

Most hernias do not go away on their own, and the only way to remove a hernia is through surgical treatment. This can often be done through laparoscopic surgery, depending on severity. Most people can delay hernia surgery through watchful waiting, while others may never need abdominal surgery for smaller hernias.

Your doctor will recommend surgical repair depending on the size of your hernia and the severity of your symptoms.

Hernia medications

  • If you have a hiatal hernia, over-the-counter and prescription medications can help reduce stomach acid and relieve abdominal pain. Your doctor may recommend:

    • Over-the-counter antacids

    • H2 reception blockers

    • Proton-pump inhibitors

How to prevent a hernia

It's not always possible to prevent hernias. Sometimes, hernias can occur due to inherited conditions, multiple pregnancies, or previous surgeries.

With that said, simple lifestyle changes can reduce your risk factors. The following changes can help reduce the muscle strain placed on your body:

  • If you smoke, consider quitting. You can work with your healthcare provider to create a smoking cessation plan for you.

  • Seek health care when you're sick to avoid a persistent cough.

  • Eat a high-fiber diet and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Avoid straining your body during bowel movements.

  • Perform exercises to strengthen your abdominal wall.

  • Avoid lifting weights that are too heavy.

When to see a doctor for a hernia

If you have any of the above symptoms of a hernia or suspect you have a hernia, you should book an appointment to consult with a doctor immediately.

When hernias develop, the internal tissue that protrudes is usually fat. However, it's also possible for the bowel to protrude through the muscle gap. When this happens, emergency surgery is required.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • A painful or noticeable bulge that doesn't reduce in size when you rest

  • Sudden or worsening pain

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Difficulty having bowel movements

  • Bloating

  • A racing heart rate

  • Fever

Hernia FAQs

  • What does a hernia feel like?

    If you have a hernia, you might notice a bulge along the outer surface of your abdomen. You might also experience mild pain, aching, or added pressure around the affected area. Hernia pain can worsen with heavy lifting, running, or bending down.

  • What causes a hernia?

    All hernias occur due to muscle weakness and straining. Hernias happen when pressure pushes an organ or tissue through the muscle gap opening.

  • What does a hernia look like?

    Hernias look like bulges or swelling under the skin. There are several types of hernias, and not all hernias have an outward appearance. For example, hiatal hernias may only be visible through X-rays or other forms of imaging.

  • How serious is a hernia?

    Most of the time, hernias are not serious, but some hernias may require surgical repair. If your symptoms are not severe or your hernia is small, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting to monitor for possible complications.

  • Do hernias go away on their own?

    Generally, hernias do not go away or resolve on their own, although some may become less symptomatic if related to other issues like obesity. Hernia surgery can effectively remove a hernia. Most people can delay hernia surgery for months or years through watchful waiting.

  • What are the first signs of a hernia?

    The first sign of a hernia is a noticeable swelling or bulge beneath the skin of the abdomen or groin. The bulge may feel tender, and it may disappear when you rest or lie down.

  • What are the complications of inguinal hernias?

    Without treatment, inguinal hernias can cause serious complications, including:

    • Pressure on the surrounding tissues

    • An incarcerated hernia, where contents of the hernia can obstruct the bowel

    • Strangulation, where an incarcerated hernia cuts off blood flow to the intestine

  • How common are inguinal hernias?

    Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia. Research suggests that about 27 to 43 percent of men and 3 to 6 percent of women will develop an inguinal hernia at some point in their lives.

3 simple steps to request a consultation for a hernia today

Step 1

Book a hernia consultation appointment.

Book a same day appointment from anywhere.

Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your hernia symptoms.

Visit with a doctor on your smartphone or computer.

Step 3

See a specialist near you for further treatment, if needed.

Our physicians can refer you to a specialist near you.

Related conditions to hernia

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

    Repeated coughing, a symptom of COPD, can increase pressure on the abdomen, which can increase your risk of a hernia. If you have COPD, it's important to seek treatment to reduce the frequency of coughing and improve your quality of life.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

    GERD causes frequent acid reflux, which can weaken muscle tissue surrounding the esophageal sphincter. When this muscle tissue becomes weak, the upper part of your stomach can bulge up through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This is called a hiatal hernia.

Hernia consultation pricing details

How pricing works

To request a consultation for a hernia or request a new or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits.

Paying with insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance



First month free



30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

Book an appointment

If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.


PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.