How do I know if my hernia is incarcerated?

An incarcerated hernia is one where something is stuck inside of the hernia sac. A patient usually describes a history of always having a buldge in a particular area. That bulge sometimes becomes larger and smaller depending on activity and position. Some patients can even push the bulge back into its normal location in the body. A typical description of incarceration is when a patient describes a bulge that was previously reducible (meaning it got smaller either on its own or with pushing) and now is no longer reducible.