How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18462
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr. D. Love is online now

I saw a doctor about lower back pain and while examining me

Resolved Question:

I saw a doctor about lower back pain and while examining me he said I had a very large hernia in my stomach. It is not in my groin but rather up high and give the appearance of a long, large bulge. What is this type of problem called and what are treatments?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer.
Is this hernia at the belly button?
Or is it higher than the belly button in the center?
If neither of these locations, where is it located?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Dr. It is higher than the belly button. Also I am 66yrs old and have little or no heart burn.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Very good.

A visible hernia that is above the belly button and in the center is called a ventral hernia. It is due to a weakness or tear that has developed of the fibrous tissue in the middle of the abdominal wall. The muscles of the abdominal wall are arranged in layers, but are attached to fibrous tissue as the muscles approach the center line of the abdomen (we refer to it as the midline). There are no muscle fibers that cross the midline. If this fibrous tissue weakens or tears, so that there is a hole in the fibrous tissue, then the contents of the abdominal cavity can protrude through this point of weakness or tear.

A similar hernia can also occur if there had been a prior surgery that had cut through this fibrous tissue. They would have sutured the fibrous tissue back together as they were closing at the end of surgery and a scar would have formed. Over time, this scar can weaken in the same manner as described above. However, when a hernia happens in this setting, it would also be called an incisional hernia.

To clarify another term, there also is a hernia that can affect the upper abdomen in which a portion of the stomach is protruding through the diaphragm. This type of hernia is called a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is not visible when looking at the abdomen and cannot be felt on exam. It requires a diagnostic study to detect the presence of a hiatal hernia.

I mention this because this is the type of hernia in the upper abdomen that is associated with acid reflux and heartburn. A ventral hernia is not associated with acid reflux or heartburn. Some people with a ventral hernia can have heartburn, but so can some people without a ventral hernia, and the rate of heartburn does not appear to be greater in someone with a ventral hernia. So, the fact that you are having little or no heartburn is to be expected with a ventral hernia.

Treatment would depend upon the severity of the problem. The only good treatment is surgery to repair the hernia. If the hernia is mild, then using a supportive wrap around the abdomen can be used. But if it is a larger hernia, such as you describe in your question, the treatment would typically be surgical repair, unless the person has a high surgical risk because of other medical problems.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Dr. D. Love and 6 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you