Hernia After C-Section: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Rabia Akram, MD Written by - Dr. Diksha Sangle


Hernia After C-Section

Childbirth by cesarean section, commonly called C-section, is a medical procedure that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. C-sections are often performed for various medical reasons; like any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and complications. One such complication that can occur after a C-section is a hernia.

Childbirth by cesarean section, commonly called C-section, is a medical procedure that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. C-sections are often performed for various medical reasons; like any surgical procedure, there are associated risks and complications.

A hernia is a medical disorder in which an organ or tissue protrudes through a weakness or opening in the muscle or connective tissue surrounding it. In C-sections, hernias that develop afterward are hernias or incisional hernias after the C-section. We will explore how it can occur, the risk factors, common symptoms to watch for, diagnosis, available treatment options, and post-operative care.

The Connection

The Connection between C-Section & Hernia

This lies in the surgical process and the changes it introduced to the abdominal wall. Here is an explanation of this connection:

The incision in the abdominal wall

  • To deliver the baby, a surgical incision is made into the uterus and abdominal wall during a C-section.
  • This disrupts the normal integrity of the abdominal muscles and connective tissue.

Weakened abdominal wall

  • The incision site, while carefully sutured and closed after the procedure, may still result in weakened or compromised abdominal muscles and fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds muscles).
  • This weakening can create vulnerabilities in the abdominal wall.

Pressure and strain

  • After a C-section, the abdominal muscles experience increased pressure and strain, especially during activities requiring core strength, such as lifting, bending, or coughing.

Risk of herniation

  • Combining weakened abdominal structures and increased intra-abdominal pressure can create favorable conditions for Hernia.
  • They can occur when internal organs or tissue protrude through these areas in the abdominal wall.

Location of incisional Hernia

  • They typically occur near or at the site of the C-section incision.
  • They can manifest as bulges or lumps under the skin and may cause pain or discomfort. 4 The Connection | Researched based study from ScienceDirect


Symptoms of Hernia after C-Section

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Swelling or bulge
  • Tenderness
  • Changes in appearance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Discomfort during activities
  • Changes in size or shape

Following a C section, the following typical signs of a hernia may appear:

Pain and discomfort

  • You may experience pain or discomfort near the C-section scar or in the abdominal area.
  • From mild to severe, this pain might come on suddenly or gradually.


  • A noticeable bulge or lump may develop at or near the C-section incision.
  • When you strain or stand up straight, as well as when you lie down, this bulge may become more noticeable.


  • The area around it may become tender or sensitive to touch. You might feel discomfort when you press on or around the bulge.

Changes in appearance

  • The appearance of the scar may change. It may look distorted or irregular due to the protrusion of tissue through the weekend wall.

Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • It can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or changes in bowel habits.
  • These may become more common if the tissue becomes trapped or incarcerated.

Discomfort during activities

  • Activities that pressure the abdominal area, such as lifting heavy objects or coughing, may lessen the discomfort or cause pain at the site.

Changes in size or shape

  • The size and shape of the bulge may change over time, becoming more noticeable or increasing as the Hernia progresses. 1 Symptoms | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health , 2 Symptoms | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

 How severe is Hernia after a C-section?

  • The severity can change according on the type of hernia, its size, location, symptoms, and if it has become imprisoned or strangulated, among other considerations.


What Causes Hernia after C-Section?

Surgical technique

  • The surgical technique used during the C-section can influence the risk of a hernia.
  • Strategies that involve a larger incision or multiple incisions may increase the risk.


  • This places additional strain on the abdominal muscles and connective tissue.
  • These structures can become weakened and more prone to herniation as a result of excessive body weight.


  • Advanced age, particularly for women over 35, may be associated with a higher risk.

Multiple pregnancies

  • Women who have had multiple pregnancies, especially if they have undergone various C-sections, may have an increased risk of hernia development due to repeated stress on the abdominal wall.

Infection or complications

  • Postoperative complications such as infections or poor wound healing can increase the risk.

Chronic coughing or straining

  • Chronic coughing or straining can cause the abdominal muscles to experience repetitive stress, which can lead to the development of hernias.
  • These conditions include smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and constipation.

Genetic predisposition

  • Some persons may be genetically predisposed to developing hernias, making them more likely to do so following surgery.

Pregnancy-related factors

  • Larger babies, multiple pregnancies, or a history of high-risk pregnancy can increase the risk.

Strenuous activities

  • Engaging in heavy lifting or strainers physical activity soon after a C-section before the abdominal muscles have had sufficient time to heal can increase the risk.

Lifestyle factors

  • Smoking and inadequate nutrition can hinder the healing of tissues and may promote the development of hernias. 3 Causes | Researched based study from ScienceDirect,4 Causes | Researched based study from ScienceDirect, 2 Causes | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Hernia After C-Section: Diagnosis

Clinical examination

  • The doctor will often conduct a physical examination. They will enquire about your health background and symptoms.

Visual inspection

  • During the examination, the healthcare provider with a visually impaired area pays close attention to the C-section scar site.
  • They can ask you to cough or stretch, which occasionally makes the hernia more noticeable.


  • The provider will gently press on and around the area of concern.
  • They will assess for tenderness and feel for any bulging or irregularities in the abdominal wall.

Imaging studies

  • It is occasionally necessary to order imaging studies to verify the diagnosis and assess the size and placement. Typical imaging techniques include:


  • This examination produces images of the abdomen using sound waves.

CT scan (computed tomography)

  • An abdominal region’s detailed cross-sectional images from a CT scan can be used to evaluate the area and any prospective consequences.

MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)

  • In some circumstances, MRI scans are useful because they can provide extra details about the hernia and the tissues around it.

Differential diagnosis

  • Consider other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of a hernia, such as muscle strains or other abdominal wall issues.
  • The goal of the diagnostic process is to eliminate these potential diagnoses. 5 Diagnosis| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Hernia after C-Section Treatment

Observation and lifestyle changes during treatment

  • Small, asymptomatic hernias might not need surgery right away. Your healthcare provider may recommend monitoring the Hernia while making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of its worsening.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding strenuous exercise, and treating diseases like chronic cough or constipation are examples of this.

Belt or support for hernia

  • Sometimes supporting the abdominal wall and easing discomfort can be accomplished by wearing a hernia belt or truss.
  • Usually, those who are not surgical candidates or those who are awaiting surgery are advised to do this.

Surgical repair (herniorrhaphy or hernioplasty)

  • It is the most common definitive treatment for Hernia after a C-section.
  • Depending on the size, location, and the surgeon’s preference, the repair can be done through open or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
  • The surgeon will reposition the projecting tissues and strengthen the weak abdominal wall using sutures, mesh, or other materials during the treatment.
  • Laparoscopic surgery involves smaller incisions and may offer quicker recovery times and less scarring than open surgery.

Emergency surgery (for incarcerated Hernia)

  • If the hernia becomes strangulated (the blood supply to the herniated tissue is impaired) or imprisoned (the trapped tissue cannot be pushed back into the abdomen), immediate surgery is required.
  • This is a serious problem that needs to be treated by a doctor right now. 5 Treatment| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health


Hernia After C-Section: Recovery & Postoperative Care

Hospital stay and discharge

  • The majority of hernia repair procedures are outpatient, so you can anticipate leaving the hospital the same day as the surgery or the day after.
  • Sometimes, especially if you have other medical issues or difficulties, you might need to spend the night in the hospital.

Treatment of pain

  • After surgery, you’ll probably feel some pain and discomfort. To address this, your healthcare practitioner will prescribe painkillers.
  • Take pain medications as prescribed and follow any recommendations for over-the-counter pain relief.

Activity restrictions

  • Avoid strainer activities and heavy lifting sizes that engage the abdominal muscles for the recommended period specified by your surgeon. Typically, this may be for a few weeks.
  • Gradually resume light activities and increase your activity level as advised.

Diet and hydration

  • Follow your surgeon’s recommendations, including a soft diet or nutritional restrictions immediately after surgery.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid carbonated beverages that cause gas and discomfort.

Bowel movements

  • Anesthesia and painkillers used during surgery might cause constipation. Your surgeon may recommend tools, softeners, or tips to help prevent it.
  • Reintroduce high-fiber foods into your diet gradually to encourage normal bowel motions.

Incision care

  • Keep an eye out for infections at the incision site, such as redness, swelling, heightened discomfort, or discharge.
  • Keep the incision site protected from excessive moisture and avoid exposure to direct sunlight unless fully healed.

Driving and returning to work

  • Please consult with your surgeon about when it is safe to resume driving and return to work.
  • This may depend on your work type and the specific surgical procedure.

Physical activity and exercise

  • Gradually introduce physical activity and exercise following your surgeon’s guidance.

C-section after hernia mesh repair

  • If your hernia repair involved the use of surgical mesh, your surgeon will provide specific care instructions to it, including any limitations of precautions. 5 Recovery| Researched based study from National Institutes of Health
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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