If a person discovers a hernia or has symptoms that suggest he or she might have a hernia, the person should consult a doctor. Hernias, even those that ache, if they are not tender and easy to reduce (push back into the abdomen), are not surgical emergencies, but all hernias have the potential to become serious. If you already have a hernia and it suddenly becomes painful, tender, and irreducible (cannot be pushed it back inside), you should go to the emergency department. Strangulation (cut off blood supply) of intestine within the hernia sac can lead to gangrenous (dead) bowel in as little as six hours.