Yes, obesity is one of the risk factors that may result in the formation of hernias. Excess weight, especially in the abdominal area, puts high pressure on the abdominal wall, making the wall weak and increasing the risk of developing hernia.

Obesity is a condition where too much fat accumulates in your body to the point where it negatively impacts your health, leading to a shortened life expectancy. Obesity is becoming a serious health problem in many countries, including India. There is clinical evidence that obesity causes various medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, joint pains, PCOD, and many others. In recent years, the link between “obesity and hernias” has gained attention. Experts say that obese people are more likely to develop inguinal hernias (forms in the groin area) and abdominal hernias like umbilical or incisional hernias.

A hernia is a bulge that develops when an inside body part (organs or tissue) pushes through a weak area in the muscle wall. A hernia appears like a lump in the affected area that grows larger when you strain and decreases while resting. It may also cause pain. If hernia is left untreated, it may become complicated; swelling and pain may not decrease even with rest. Rarely, it may be life-threatening.

Managing excess weight can help manage obesity-related complications, including hernias. So it is crucial to understand the link between obesity and hernias. Here are some of the common reasons why hernias are more commonly observed in obese patients:

Increased Intra-abdominal Pressure

Weight gain results in fat accumulation, particularly in the abdominal region, which puts excess pressure on the abdominal muscles and increases abdominal pressure. This excess strain makes abdominal muscles weak and may lead to hernia development in places like the umbilical area, abdominal area, groin area, or around scars from previous surgeries.

Weakened abdominal muscles

Increased body fat means increased stress on the muscles, which may become weak over time. As the abdominal wall becomes weak, the support for internal organs also becomes weak, resulting in the development of hernias. Prolonged strain and lack of exercise can also contribute to weakened muscles and an increased risk of hernia formation.  

Chronic cough or other respiratory conditions

Respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma are common in some obese people, which may cause chronic coughing. This chronic cough frequently increases abdominal pressure, which likely increases the risk of developing hernias.

Poor tissue healing

Higher fat content in the body increases the risk of infection, which means obese people might have delayed tissue healing. This impaired healing process during the recovery following any surgery or injury increases the risk of hernia formation at incision sites. Diabetes is another complication in obese people, which also contributes to poor tissue healing.

Lifestyle and diet

Obesity is often tied up with poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle that can result in constipation. This is another reason for increased intra-abdominal pressure because people may strain during bowel movements, which increases the risk of developing inguinal and umbilical hernias.

Along with other obesity-related factors like poor nutrition and large abdominal girth, other factors like genetics, age, and gender also play a role in the formation of hernias.

Obesity can contribute to the formation or aggravation of various types of hernias, which include:

Inguinal hernias – These are the most common types of hernias, also called groin hernias, that occur in the lower abdominal wall, near the groin.

Umbilical Hernias – This type of hernia occurs near the belly button (navel).

Incisional Hernias –  This type of hernia occurs at the site of incisions that were made during previous abdominal surgery. This might be due to improper healing of incisions.

Hiatal Hernias – This type of hernia appears near the upper part of the stomach, pushing into the chest cavity, through the diaphragm. As obesity increases the intra-abdominal pressure, it pushes the stomach upward through the opening of the diaphragm.

How is treatment for hernias affected by obesity?

Surgical treatment is one of the best options to fix a hernia problem. Sometimes mesh is used to provide added strength to the area. Obesity can pose certain challenges during and after hernia treatment due to the higher level of complexity. The following are some complications caused by obesity in hernia treatment:

Surgical difficulties

The excess layers of fat in obese people can make the surgical process harder because surgeons find it difficult to cut through and visualize the surgical area. 


In cases of surgery, obese people are at higher risk of certain complications like delayed wound healing, wound infections, recurrence, and blood clots.

Anaesthesia administration

Those extra pounds of weight can inhibit the function of the lungs and oxygenation, making it more challenging for an anesthesiologist to administer anesthesia.

Longer recovery time

It is a known fact that the healing process is slow in obese people due to added stress on the incision site. So the recovery from a hernia surgery would be long and challenging.

Increased risk of recurrence

It is also a known fact that the recurrence rate of hernia is higher in obese people compared to normal people who have undergone hernia repair surgery. 

If you are suffering from hernia problems and looking for treatment, consult Dr. Venugopal Pareek, one of the best hernia specialists in Hyderabad. After considering all the factors, he will design an individualized treatment approach, especially for individuals with obesity. For more detailed information, call +91 91-777-77715 and book your slot.

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Disclaimer: Reading the information on this Bariatric Surgeon India website is not a substitute for any medical or bariatric surgery hospital consultation with a Bariatric or Laparoscopic Surgical specialist. The information should not be relied upon as a medical consultation. This information is not designed to replace a physician’s independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own health care decisions. Regards Dr Venu Gopal Pareek, Best Bariatric Surgeon in Hyderabad