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Incontinence

Are my symptoms those of a hernia?

02/09/2006

Question:

I have been working out 3-5 times weekly for the past month in an attempt to lose weight. I have been doing cardio and leg weights to keep my strengthen my surgically repaired Achilles tendon. I have been doing a seated press, extensions, and curls. Over the last period of about a week, I have been experiencing symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath, twinges of upper abdominal pain, and slight chest pain and pressure. Also, I have had several momentary (around 1 second each) periods of light-headedness and/or weakness while sitting or standing. Originally I researched the symptoms of fatigure and attributed these symptoms to fatigue and the crunches I began doing last week, but now I am not so sure. A few nights ago, I went to the gym and did my normal exercises and returned home feeling fine. Some time afterward, I began to feel a slight discomfort in my lower abdomen down into my leg. The discomfort is specific to one side of my lower abdomen, and does not extend into the center of the area. I felt for lumps in the area or signs of any protruding organs, but there don`t seem to be any. I by no means have a six-pack, so signs of a hernia or other abdominal injury might be a bit more difficult to track. The discomfort I am experiencing returns when I am stretching the area or when I begin physical activity, but is relieved somewhat once I am "loose". Also, there is no pain/discomfort when I push in on the area in question. Is it possible that my symptoms are those of a hernia or might I simply have a pulled muscle? Are there any simple tests that will help me know for sure? Thank you for your help.

Answer:

If I had to guess I would bet this represents a pulled muscle based on your description.  A hernia is a possibility but I would bet on a muscle pull.  The best way to rule out a hernia is to have a physical examination and for this reason I suggest you consult with your primary care physician who should be able to simply examine you for a hernia.

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Response by:

Martin I Resnick, MD Martin I Resnick, MD
Formerly, Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University