Are epigastric hernias dangerous?

Let’s be honest, when it comes to talking about hernias, things can get a little confusing. There are so many different types of hernias out there that even doctors sometimes have trouble keeping track. But fear not! This article is all about one specific type of hernia – the epigastric hernia. So buckle up and get ready for some wacky medical terminology!

So What Exactly Is an Epigastric Hernia?

First things first, let’s break down what an epigastric hernia actually is. An epigastric (that’s epic + gastric) hernia occurs when fatty tissue or part of your intestines push through your abdominal muscles in the area between your belly button and sternum.

“But why does this happen?” you ask? Well, it could be due to weakened muscles in that spot caused by anything from heavy lifting to certain medical conditions like pregnancy or obesity. It could also just be a random chance occurrence – life is unpredictable that way.


The symptoms of an epigastric hernia may vary but typically they include:

  • A bump or bulge in the affected area
  • Pain/tenderness around the bump/bulge
  • Burning sensation around the bump/bulge
  • Nausea/vomiting

Now before you go rushing off to self-diagnose yourself with an epigastric hernia just because your stomach hurts after Taco Tuesday… maybe wait until you’ve gone through other possibilities/conditions with your doctor.

How Do You Treat an Epigastric Hernia?

If left untreated, these lovely lumps may become larger over time which means surgical intervention might eventually become necessary.

Though as we know surgery sounds spooky and expensive but oftentimes small/reasonably sized epigastric hernias do not require immediate surgery. In fact, most small epigastric hernias can be monitored by a doctor until either:

a) The symptoms subside on their own
b) It keeps getting bigger and we’ve got surgery scheduled

So… Are Epigastric Hernias Dangerous?

Good question! As with any medical condition, there is always some level of risk involved.

If the hernia progresses without treatment it could lead to more serious medical issues such as strangulation where bowel movements are blocked due to tissue becoming stuck which also leads to potential blood flow blockages.

However if caught early enough, an epigastric hernia has less of a chance of causing those kinds of complications. This means that going in for regular check-ups with your local doc or avoiding really heavy lifting our two great ways you can avoid surgical intervention!

When Surgery Is Necessary

While in minor cases surgery may not exactly be necessary but when considering more complex circumstances like :

  • Issues associated with breathing
  • Extreme pain/discomfort level making daily life difficult
  • Signs of strangulation and related discomforts/symptoms

…that’s when surgical intervention becomes advisable/urgent (depending on severity).

Any ‘decent’ hospital should have surgeons qualified in performing this procedure so even though it does sound worrying then try focusing on what you CAN control – keeping up communication lines between yourself-and-a-doctor about how you’re feeling!

Preparing for Surgery

Assuming I haven’t scared ya off just yet let’s talk pre-surgery prep! Luckily with laparoscopic procedures being commonly used recovering from epigastric surgeries aren’t too horrible since smaller cuts equal faster healing time.

One thing doctors might advise before moving into things would be shedding extra pounds and giving smoking habits because studies show changes pay dividends. Also preparing someone else beforehand -if possible- as your caregiver during post-op recovery is also another factor to consider.

Possible Complications

The most common complications after surgery in epigastric hernia repair are post-operative pain, surgical site infections, and minor nerve or blood vessel damage. You might be asked about the same from your surgeon during one of those pre-op doc visits that always come before a big medical step!

It’s quite normal to feel worried about any upcoming surgeries but remember they’re done for the betterment of our physical health! So go forth with confidence comfortably knowing you’re getting yourself closer to optimal recovery once it’s over!


Well folks, there you have it – the low-down on epigastric hernias. While these bumps may sound scary at first glance (and who doesn’t love an adrenaline rush?!) basic steps like being aware of symptoms/regularly checking in with doctors can help mitigate risks further down in time. And while surgeries may not exactly be picnic dates, recovering takes lesser time than between seasons of GOT so just imagine what wonders lie ahead after taking this plunge towards making things better!

Stay healthy ya’ll!(and maybe avoid trying deadlifting 1k lbs?)

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