Causes of Abdominal Lump

Abdominal lump occurs when an area of swelling or a bulge protrudes from a person’s abdominal area. Possible causes of abdominal lump include tumors, lipomas, hernias, hematomas, and undescended testicles. Not all abdominal lumps require treatment, but some may require surgery.

READ ALSO: Abdominal Pain

Abdominal lumps can be hard or soft and may be painful. However, they may also appear with no additional symptoms.

Causes of Abdominal lump


The muscles and tissue wall inside a person’s abdomen are usually strong enough to keep the internal organs and intestines intact. However, there are times when the muscles can weaken, causing an internal part of the body to push through them, resulting in a hernia.

READ ALSO: Umbilicial Hernia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Hernias can occur if a person strains their muscles, which can happen as a result of:

  • lifting heavy objects
  • over-straining during coughing
  • over-straining due to constipation

Some types of hernia develop as a result of particular circumstances:

An incisional hernia may occur because surgery has weakened the abdominal wall.

Umbilical hernias, which usually only appear in babies, occur because the abdominal wall just behind the naval becomes damaged. This type of hernia may resolve by itself as the baby grows.


Lipoma is a fatty lump that develops underneath the skin and tend to grow increasingly over time as the fat gathers to form the lump. They can develop on any part of the body and may feel rubbery to the touch. Lipomas are harmless and do not require treatment, though it can be removed surgically.


A hematoma occurs when broken blood vessels leak their contents, which then gather under the skin. This usually happens after an injury to the area. If this takes place in the abdomen, a bulge may appear alongside the discolored skin. Hematomas usually heal themselves over time.

READ ALSO: All to Know About Spigelian Hernia


An abdominal lump may be a tumor in rare cases. It may be a tumor that is growing on an organ in the abdominal area. A tumor does not necessarily mean cancer. However, it is vital that a doctor examines it properly. They will recommend treatment according to whether or not the lump is cancerous.

Undescended testicles

Undescended testicles occur in infant males when one or both of the testicles fail to move down from the abdomen into the scrotum. Undescended testicles usually require hormone therapy, but some children may need surgery.

Symptoms of Abdominal lump

The symptoms that a person may experience alongside an abdominal lump depend on the underlying condition. Often the cause will be a hernia. There are different types of hernia, each with distinct symptoms.

A person with an inguinal hernia may notice:

  • pain when coughing, bending over, or lifting something
  • a burning or aching sensation where the lump has developed
  • a feeling of heaviness or weakness in the abdomen
  • a sense of pressure in the abdomen

A person with a hiatal hernia may notice:

  • pain in the chest
  • acid reflux
  • difficulty swallowing

It is best to see a doctor immediately if abdominal lumps is associated with fever, severe pain around the lump, and vomiting.


A doctor will ask about symptoms and perform a physical exam. If a doctor suspects hernia, he or she may wish to examine it closely using ultrasound or a CT scan.

READ ALSO: Gastrointestinal Perforation: Causes and Treatment

If the lump is not a hernia, the doctor may perform additional tests to make a diagnosis. Hematomas or lipomas that are not causing the person any discomfort may be left alone.

If the doctor thinks that the lump could be a tumor, they are likely to perform imaging tests as well as a biopsy which involves collecting and examining a small tissue sample to check for cancerous cells.


A hernia itself may be harmless, but it will sometimes need surgery to prevent it from obstructing the intestines or preventing blood from flowing freely through it.

However, if a person is not experiencing any other symptoms, they may prefer to leave the hernia alone to resolve on its own. If this is the case, a doctor will continue to monitor the hernia to ensure that it does not grow or cause additional problems.

If a hernia grows larger or additional symptoms present, a doctor may recommend a laparoscopy. During a laparoscopy, the surgeon will make a small cut in the person’s abdomen and insert a tube with a light and camera so that they can see the abdominal organs. They will then sew up the hole that caused the hernia.

Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, which means that the body can recover more quickly than it would after open surgery. However, the chances of the hernia returning is greater.

Other treatment options for a hernia include:


If a person is experiencing pain or discomfort from a hernia, medication can help relieve the pains. Antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors can reduce acid production in the stomach to relieve symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

For people with a hiatal hernia, certain lifestyle changes may help, such as:

  • eating lighter meals
  • avoiding to bend over or lie down after eating
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • avoiding foods that trigger acid reflux
  • refraining from smoking
  • performing specific exercises to strengthen the weakened muscles — it is essential to consult a doctor before trying these

Some hernias are not preventable. Avoiding placing too much strain on the body could lessen the chance of a hernia developing or stop an existing one from deteriorating.

Tips to prevent a hernia include:

  • avoiding lifting heavy objects
  • avoid straining when going to the toilet
  • getting prompt treatment when ill to prevent a persistent cough developing

When to see a doctor

A person should see a doctor if they notice a lump that appears unexpectedly in the abdomen. A doctor can determine the cause of the lump and recommend the correct treatment. Not all lumps will require treatment, but some may need surgery.

A person with an abdominal lump that is causing severe pain or that coincides with fever, vomiting, or discoloration should seek speedy medical attention.


Disclaimer: The content provided on is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.


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