A hernia is most commonly caused by a combination of muscle strain and muscle weakness. It can develop quickly or over a longer time period, depending on the cause. One of the common causes of hernia is failure of the abdominal wall to close properly in the womb (this is called a congenital defect).
Sometimes the weakness of the muscles is present at birth; but more often hernia occurs later in life. Anything that may cause an increase in pressure in the abdominal area can cause hernia. This includes lifting heavy objects without stabilizing the abdominal muscles, constipation, and even diarrhea.
Most of the cases of hernia occur in men. Serious complications from the condition are rare, the most common being incarceration or entrapment of the tissues inside the hernia. This can cause damage or death of the tissue.
Surgery will relieve the pain and discomfort, and make the hernia bulge go away. Hernia cannot heal on its own. A person can wait to have surgery if the hernia does not bother them, but it tends to get worse over time.