Can You Get a Hernia From Coughing? & The Cough Test Debunked

As far out as this may sound, while incredibly rare, this is completely possible. A hernia occurs when your abdominal wall becomes weak or damaged, and your organs push through the wall. Sorry that’s a little graphic. Think of it this way: Remember that movie Alien with Sigourney Weaver? Image that instead of the Alien coming out of your chest, he’s just coming out of your pelvis. That makes everything better right?

Just how powerful is a cough?

It’s a good thing that ‘Coughs’ are a species, because would definitely be their slaves by now. A typical cough begins with a deep breath, immediately followed by the compression of the lungs to release a crackling burst of air. And it happens in a fraction of a second. According to, an average human cough could fill about “three-quarters of a two-liter soda bottle” with “air that shoots in a jet several feet long”. More than that, the particles a cough produces and travel at almost 100 Miles Per Hour (MPH). Woof. That should be proof in itself that coughing and hernia’s go hand in hand.

Alright here is the science:

Coughs are strong enough to crack ribs and get hernias

Unfortunately, men are extremely more likely to get a hernia than women are. This is because men have a natural weakness in this area (and it’s our only weakness). There are a number of different causes for a hernia occurring. For example: It’s not uncommon for men to let pride and ego grab hold of reality making them believe they can lift a ridiculous amount of weight by themselves. However, the majority of hernias occur because they are actuallyborn with them. So even if ego doesn’t get in the way, you still may get it no matter what.

The Cough Test for Hernias DEBUNKED

Maybe you don’t know if you have a hernia and want to check yourself out before having the doctor do it. Sounds reasonable. It’s the age old ‘turn your head and cough’ phrase, the bane of men’s physicals. While this can be a little awkward with the process, it’s extremely vital to making sure you’re a-ok. What men DON’T realize is that they are actually trying to feel your inguinal canal, which is above family jewels. This is where hernias are likely to happen because of the genetic weakness in men’s abdominal wall. Coughing creates pressure on this canal, and the doctor will be able to feel if there is an intestinal leak. That only leaves one last question: Why turn your head? Well. If you were a doctor would you liked to be coughed on?

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