An epigastric hernia often appears between the bottom of the ribcage and the belly button, and is typically made up of fatty tissue. In most cases, this type of hernia is painless, with few symptoms besides a slight bulge beneath the skin that tends to enlarge when the abdominals are strained. On the other hand, when complications occur, there may be pain, fever, discoloration of the skin, and nausea and vomiting. These rare symptoms of this type of hernia need to be reported to a doctor soon after they show up, as they indicate a problem. In fact, a hernia that is accompanied by these symptoms is typically considered a medical emergency.
The main symptom of an epigastric hernia is a slight bulge between the navel and the bottom of the ribcage. It typically becomes more noticeable when straining the abdominals, such as when lifting heavy objects or exercising. It should be barely noticeable, if at all, when the body is at rest. If it is always obvious, a doctor should be contacted.
Some people begin to experience pain with an epigastric hernia, which is cause for concern. It typically means that it has either become much larger, or is stuck within the abdominal muscles. Pain may be felt when pushing on the site of the hernia, or it may be noticed at all times. Either way, pain is a good reason to see a doctor since it is not a normal symptom of the typical uncomplicated epigastric hernia.
Most people do not get a fever with this type of hernia, so if one occurs, medical treatment should be sought. Additionally, the onset of nausea and vomiting is only common among those experiencing complications with this hernia. While it could be due to another issue altogether, a doctor's advice should be sought, especially if this symptom is accompanied by pain and a fever.
Finally, skin discoloration is yet another symptom of complications of an epigastric hernia. In fact, it is one of the most serious symptoms since it usually indicates that the hernia has become strangulated. In most cases, it means that part of the intestine has become stuck in the abdominal wall, cutting off the blood supply. This is typically accompanied by severe pain and vomiting, and the skin around the hernia is typically black or blue. If these serious symptoms occur, immediate medical care is crucial, with surgery typically being the best way to treat the issue.