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Patients with previous abdominal surgery can develop incisional hernia at the incision site. Ventral hernia can also occur in patients without previous surgery and some can be congenital (present at birth).
Weakness of the abdominal wall predisposes to the development of ventral hernia and is caused by conditions that put excessive strain on the wal:
History of lifting / pushing heavy objects
Straining during urination or bowel movement
Lung disease such as chronic obstructive lung disease or emphysema (puts strain on abdominal muscle when straining to breathe and from persistent coughing)
Old age (weaker abdominal wall muscles as you grow older)