Physical activity is a good way for a man to stay healthy, but sometimes the pressure exerted on the body during certain exercises can cause an uncomfortable organ shift known as a hernia. Three major types of hernias can affect men.
A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm at the hiatus, which is the hole where the esophagus passes through. This can happen if you have a larger hiatus than normal or if constant abdominal pressure, such as straining during heavy lifting, is applied to the stomach.
Some hiatal hernias don't cause any problems, but others may result in acid reflux and heartburn. These can be treated with medication, but surgery to pull the stomach back through the diaphragm may be necessary if the symptoms persist.
Inguinal hernias occur when part of the small intestine pushes through a weak point in the abdominal wall. This hernia affects mostly men because of the specific layout of the female abdomen. These hernias are also caused by extreme abdominal pressure.
Surgery is the only available treatment for inguinal hernias. The surgeon may push the intestine back into place and strengthen the weak point in the abdominal wall, or he may cover the weak point with a synthetic mesh.
These types of hernias are similar to the inguinal variety, but they are more common in babies than adult men. Umbilical hernias occur when the small intestine pushes through an abdominal weak point near the belly button.