Hernias can make you feel bloated and gassy, like there’s pressure in your abdomen that can only be relieved by burping or passing gas.

Hernias happen when fatty tissue or parts of an organ squeeze through a weakening or tear in the tissues or muscles that surround it.

Many types of hernias happen in your abdomen, but they also occur in your thighs and groin.

Read on to learn more about the types of hernias that can cause gas and bloating, how hernias are diagnosed and treated, and how to help prevent them.

A hernia can cause gas and bloating by changing the arrangement and shape of the organs in your abdomen. This can trap gas in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and increase gas pressure in your GI tract to uncomfortable levels.

Types of hernias that can cause gas and bloating include:

  • abdominal hernia
  • inguinal hernia
  • hiatal hernia
  • umbilical (epigastric) hernia

Abdominal hernia

Also called a ventral hernia, this type can happen when an organ pushes through your abdominal muscle. You can usually feel an abdominal hernia through your skin. Abdominal hernias often shrink to the touch when you lie down.

Some of the most common causes of an abdominal hernia include:

What are the symptoms of an abdominal hernia?

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia happens when fat or intestine pushes through your abdominal wall into an area near your groin called the inguinal canal — a space where many blood vessels and ligaments pass through.

You have an inguinal canal on both sides of your abdomen. An inguinal hernia can happen in either side if your abdominal tissue or muscle is weakened and cause a large bulge to appear in your groin area.

Other inguinal hernia symptoms

Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia happens when your stomach pushes up through an opening in your diaphragm called the hiatus.

Your stomach usually sits below your diaphragm, which helps move your lungs up and down when you breathe. But your stomach can sometimes squeeze through the hiatal opening in your diaphragm when you strain or overwork your diaphragm muscles by:

  • coughing
  • throwing up
  • straining too hard to poop
  • lifting objects that are heavy

Other hiatal hernia symptoms

Umbilical (epigastric) hernia

An umbilical (epigastric) hernia happens when an organ or tissue squeezes through a weak spot in your abdominal wall between your chest bone (sternum) and belly button.

This type of hernia usually happens when your abdominal wall doesn’t close all the way as a fetus or a young child. It doesn’t always cause symptoms aside from a bulge under your skin in this area.

Other umbilical hernia symptoms

  • bump getting bigger when you cough, sneeze, or laugh
  • pain or tenderness around the bump
  • having multiple bumps in this area

Contact a doctor or healthcare professional right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • intense stomach, chest, or groin pain
  • feeling sick for no obvious reason
  • throwing up frequently or over a long period of time
  • having trouble burping, passing gas, urinating, or having a bowel movement
  • painful, sudden swelling around the bulge
  • fever
  • bleeding that won’t stop

Here are some of the diagnostic tests a doctor might use to detect a hernia:

Some hernias will go away on their own with rest. A doctor may want to monitor them over time to make sure they don’t get worse.

Other treatments for hernias may include:

  • open or laparoscopic surgery to reduce or get rid of herniated tissue
  • wearing a truss (a device that resembles a belt and provides support) to keep the hernia from moving around
  • acid reducers to relieve pain or discomfort, such as antacids, H2 receptor blockers, or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

Here are some tips for helping prevent gas and bloating caused by a hernia:

  • Eat and drink slowly to reduce how much air you swallow.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages to reduce carbon dioxide in your gut.
  • Avoid chewing gum or candy that can cause you to swallow air.
  • Quit smoking (this can be difficult, but a doctor can build a plan to quit that works for you).
  • Go on a walk after eating to help move air through your GI tract.
  • Take an antacid to reduce stomach acid that can cause gas and pain.

Some other common causes of gas and bloating can include:

Hernias can cause gas and bloating that continues until your hernia goes away or gets treated.

Call 911 or local emergency services if you have intense abdominal or groin pain that doesn’t go away or happens along with a painful, swollen bulge.