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Ventral Hernia


A ventral hernia is a bulging of organs or abdominal tissue through a weak spot or opening in the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made up of fat and muscle. It holds the organs in place. The types of ventral hernias are epigastric, umbilical, spigelian, and incisional.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your symptoms, such as pain or vomiting, get worse.
  • Your abdomen is larger than usual.
  • Your hernia increases in size or is purple or blue.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Do not lift anything heavy. Heavy lifting can make your hernia worse or cause another hernia. Ask your healthcare provider how much is safe for you to lift.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids may prevent constipation and straining during a bowel movement. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat foods high in fiber. Fiber may prevent constipation and straining during a bowel movement. Foods that contain fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss may prevent your hernia from getting worse. It may also prevent another hernia. Talk to your healthcare provider about exercise and how to lose weight.
  • Wear an abdominal binder as directed. An abdominal binder well help prevent the hernia from happening again. It will hold it in the correct place after your healthcare provider reduces the hernia. Ask your healthcare provider if you can take the binder off for sleep. Apply the binder first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed. Do not wear your binder over your clothes. Apply it to your bare skin. Gently wash your skin under the binder daily. Pat your skin dry. Ask your healthcare provider what you should use to keep the area dry, such as cornstarch.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to see a surgeon to plan for surgery to fix your hernia. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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