Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal Hernia: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

An inguinal hernia can occur when the contents of the abdomen or a part of the small intestine bulges. It mostly pushes through the weakened section of the lower abdominal wall. In most cases, the fat content in your abdomen can bulge near the groin area. So, the problem can occur near the left or right inguinal canal. Many people ignore the signs as it may feel small or insignificant. So, they fail to seek treatment at the right time. When you seek proper treatment at a specific time, you can avoid complications. Therefore, it prevents further protrusion as well as discomfort.

What Is Inguinal Hernia?

The problem affects your abdomen area. So, you can feel a bulge near the groin region. It commonly occurs when a part of your intestinal tissue or fat pushes through the weak area in the abdominal region. You can mostly observe it near the left or right inguinal canal. It is due to the fact that the canals reside at the base of your abdomen. Both men and women have the inguinal canal. But, men suffer from an inguinal hernia more compared to women. For men, their testes descend through the inguinal canal. It happens a few weeks before birth. While for women, each canal represents the location of passage for the uterus (the round ligament). So, the hernia at the on the passageway or near it can cause pain. The bulge restricts the movements leading to discomfort.

Symptoms Of Inguinal Hernia

The swelling in the groin region is the main sign associated with the problem. So, when you see the noticeable sign, get treatment immediately. Most people ignore the bulge leading to severe discomfort. So, if you see the bulge along with areas like the groin or pubic area, then get medical attention. Along with the bulge, you can also see other signs like:

  • When you cough or stand, the bulge seems more prominent
  • You can experience sharp pain in the abdominal region
  • The affected area becomes sensitive or painful to touch
  • Experience immense pain while bending, coughing or exercising
  • Burning sensation in the abdominal region
  • Men experience swelling of the scrotum
  • Feeling a full or heavy sensation in the groin area

Causes of an inguinal hernia

inguinal hernia There isn’t one cause for the particular type of hernia. However, weak spots within the abdominal and groin muscles are thought to be a major contributor. Extra pressure on this area of the body can eventually cause a hernia. Some risk factors can increase your chances of this condition. These include:


Your genetics plays a major role in the problem. If your family has a history of people with an inguinal hernia, then you are at risk of getting the problem.

Prior Problem

You may have an inguinal hernia before, which you may have sought treatment to alleviate the problem. People with prior hernia problem can face recurring incidents in the latter part of their life.


The problem is prevalent among male compared to female. It is due to the fact that the issue occurs at the opening that allows the testicles to descend. It happens during fetal development. In the majority of the cases, it closes before birth. Only a small space remains that allows the spermatic cord to pass through a child’s scrotum. But, when it fails to close properly, it can result in weakness in the abdominal region. So, it can result in a tear or bulge as time progresses.

Premature Birth

Babies born at less than thirty-three weeks of gestation can suffer from the issue. It is due to the weak abdominal wall.


Excess weight can trigger the problem. The additional fat accumulated in your body can increase the abdominal girth. So, it can put pressure on your abdominal walls and make it weak.


Getting pregnant can cause several changes in the body. Constant pressure on the abdomen and urinary bladder are the problems that pregnant women face. It can weaken the abdominal walls

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis

It is the progressive that can restrict your breathing ability. So, it can cause coughing fits, which will put a strain on your abdomen.

Chronic Constipation

Constipation makes it difficult for you to have a proper bowel movement. It results in difficulty while passing stools, which can put a strain on the abdomen walls. It can make it weaker as time progresses.

Types Of Inguinal Hernias

The protrusion of your abdominal cavity contents through your inguinal canal can result in the condition. It is classified into two types, direct and indirect. So, let us see the issue in detail to know what the difference between the types is.

Indirect Inguinal Hernia

It is the most common type of hernia. Premature babies can suffer from the issue. It is due to the fact that the inguinal canal does not close off in premature births. But, the condition can affect people at any time in their life. It is the condition that commonly affects the male population compared to females.

Direct Inguinal Hernia

The problem affects people as they get older. So, it is common for people who are older in age. The weak muscles can trigger the problem. The problem affects men compared to others. Therefore, men enduring the stress or strain can suffer the problem more frequently. It weakens the muscles around the inguinal canal. Sometimes, previous surgery in the lower abdomen can result in weakened abdominal muscles. So,

Complications Due To Inguinal Hernia

If you fail to get treatment for the complication, then it can result in severe complications. Some of the common health problems linked to the issue are:

Pressure Around Tissue

An inguinal hernia can develop severe pressure on the surrounding tissue. A hernia can enlarge with passing time without surgical intervention. Men facing the problem can extend into the scrotum. Therefore, it can result in swelling and pain.

Incarcerated Inguinal Hernia

The small intestine or fat from the inside of your abdomen can become stuck in your groin region. It can also get stuck in the scrotum area. The problem can become reducible. So, your health care provider cannot push it back into its actual place. It makes it difficult for your doctor to massage the hernia back into your abdomen region. So, the trapping of the hernia’s contents at the weak point of the abdominal wall can cause severe health issues. The obstruction in the bowel can trigger problems like:

  • Vomiting
  • Severe pain
  • Nausea
  • Problems with bowel movement (example: trouble while passing gas)

Strangulated Inguinal Hernia

It is severe health with serious complications. The problem can result in the intestine cutting the blood flow. The lack of blood flow can result in the death of the tissue in the bowel. So, it is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention. The condition can have fatal complications that need invasive surgery to correct the problem.

Diagnostic Methods To Detect Inguinal Hernia

The swelling is the main symptom that indicates some problem in your abdomen. When you notice it, you need to seek medical attention. It is better to get medical advice as you may never when something can become a fatal complication. When you get the appointment, your doctor performs various tests. It is to eliminate the possibility of other underlying health issues. So, the healthcare professional uses the following diagnostic techniques to detect the problem:

Physical Examination

In most cases, the doctor detects the issue during the physical examination. Your doctor may ask you to cough when you stand. The action can result in hernia to become visible. In most cases, the doctor physically checks for the bulge in your groin region. Your standing combined with coughing action can provide a prominent view of the health problem. So, your doctor can take appropriate steps to overcome the issue.

When you have a reducible inguinal hernia, the doctor can push it back. It is performed when you lie down on your back. It works for simple forms of the problem. Therefore, it is ineffective when you have incarcerated or strangulated forms of the problem.

Sophisticated Imaging Techniques

Sophisticated Imaging Techniques
Ultrasound Image of inguinal hernia

In some cases, your doctor may fail to come to a conclusion with just the physical examination. In such cases, sophisticated imaging tests can provide conclusive results. The doctor can suggest an ultrasound of the abdomen, CT scan or MRI to get a comprehensive view of an inguinal hernia.

Inguinal Hernia Treatment Options

When you see the symptoms, you need to get medical help immediately. If your doctor cannot correct the issue during the physical examination, it indicates a serious problem. So, you need surgical intervention to alleviate the issue. You need the assistance of a well-trained surgeon to get relief from the problem. Two options are available before your doctor to cure the issue. Open inguinal herniorrhaphy and laparoscopic herniorrhaphy can provide you relief from the distress. The former has one large and open incision on your abdomen. It is made near the groin region to solve the issue. While the laparoscopic method makes several small incisions to perform the surgery. Your doctor uses a lighted camera lowered using a thin and long tube to see the inside of the abdomen.

Inguinal Hernia Treatment Options

Returning the tissues in your internal abdominal region back to the cavity is one of the goals of the surgical procedures. It also repairs the defect sustained to the abdominal wall due to an inguinal hernia. In most cases, your doctor can use mesh to reinforce and strengthen the abdominal wall. After the procedure, the surgeon closes everything using adhesive glue, staples, or sutures. Your doctor may adopt the following surgical options to cure the issue.

Open Hernia Repair Surgery

Your doctor may suggest anesthesia to go through the procedure. So, you need to have sedation, local anesthesia or general anesthesia to undergo the invasive surgery. The surgeon makes a big incision on your abdomen region. The open wound can help your doctor push the protruding tissue back into the abdominal region. After pushing the tissue, the doctor takes steps to strengthen the abdominal wall. The weak tissue gets reinforced with the synthetic mesh. The sewing of mesh to the weak wall is also known as hernioplasty. Your doctor closes the incision using surgical glue, stitches or staples. The surgery may take some time to heal. But, you need to move as soon to avoid other complications. So, you need to start with slow movements for some weeks till you can resume your normal routine. Though it takes time to heal, it has fewer complications.

Laparoscopy Procedure

Laparoscopy Procedure

It is the minimally invasive surgical option to treat the condition. But, you require general anesthesia to undergo the surgery. Several incisions made on your abdomen makes it easier for your doctor to operate. Then, your abdomen gest inflated with gas. It helps the doctor to see the internal organs clearly using the camera. The next step is to lower the camera of small size using the small tube through one incision. The camera guides the laparoscopic surgeon to repair a hernia with the help of other tiny instruments. The rest of the incision helps your doctor to use the tools on your hernia. The surgery also strengthens the abdominal wall using the synthetic mesh. The type of surgery is ideal for people who have had earlier hernia surgery in a more traditional manner. So, it is also a good option for people who observe inguinal hernia reoccurrence. It is an ideal choice for people who suffer from hernias on both sides of the body (also known as a bilateral hernia).

The laparoscopic surgery can repair an inguinal hernia without causing scarring. You also tend to feel less discomfort compared to other surgical procedure. So, you can quickly resume your normal activities without any delay. It heals faster as your doctor makes several small incisions to repair the problem. But, you may face some drawbacks associated with the procedure. Some studies indicate that a hernia can reoccur with the procedure. It also increases the complication associated with the surgery. So, you need to get help from a laparoscopic surgeon with good experience. A proficient professional with extensive experience can repair a hernia without other risks. Therefore, research about your doctor’s experience before opting for the laparoscopic surgery.

Preventing Inguinal Hernias

You cannot prevent the genetic risk factors that can lead to the problem. But, you can take some steps to reduce the severity of the inguinal hernias. At times, the steps can prevent the issue from affecting you. So, you need to follow the steps suggested below:

Healthy Weight

Excess weight can increase the fat content in your body. It puts pressure on your abdominal wall when you move or stand. So, you need to reduce the weight by adopting a good diet and exercise plan. Take tips from your doctor to develop the right exercise and diet plan that will help you drop the pounds.

Include Exercise

Including physical activity in your life can provide you with huge benefits. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise that will not affect your health. So, choose the right exercise that will prevent hernias without putting pressure on the abdomen. So, you can include beneficial exercise like:

  • Yoga
  • Lightweights
  • Pilates
  • Crunches or sit-ups
  • Aerobics like cycling or running

High Fiber Diet

Include high fiber foods that will prevent excess strain on your bowel movement. So, make sure you take a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. The inclusion of nuts, seeds, and legumes will prevent constipation as well as strain.


Drink plenty of water. It can reduce the chances of constipation and prevent an inguinal hernia.

Avoid Lifting Heavy Objects

When you suffer from a hernia, you need to avoid lifting heavy objects. If you have to lift something heavy, maintain caution. You must always bend from your knees instead of your waist while lifting something.

Quit Smoking

Smoking can trigger several problems in your body. Your health can suffer due to the habit. But, when you suffer from a hernia, smoking can worsen the problem. Smoking can cause a chronic cough. It may put pressure on your abdomen. It can put strain and lead to the development of health issues. At times, the already existing inguinal hernia becomes worse with the coughing.

Do Not Depend On Truss

Do Not Depend On Truss

A truss is a supportive garment that is designed to keep a hernia in its place. But, you must not completely depend on the hernia truss to correct the problem. It may or may not prevent complications. Therefore, reduce your reliance on such garments. Understand that your doctor suggests the hernia truss only for a short duration of time. It helps you before the surgery to make you more comfortable. But, never mistake it as the replacement for the surgery.


An inguinal hernia can cause severe pain and discomfort in your body. But, you can treat the condition with proper medical attention and care. When you see the symptoms, you need to get treatment immediately. It will reduce the complication associated with the condition and prevent the severe issues linked to it. The condition does not clear on its own. So, you need proper medical care. The early surgical treatment can cure the issue. Remember, the invasive procedure may not alleviate the problem completely. You still face the problem of recurrence and other complications. The invasive procedure has a high risk of infection as well as poor healing of the wound after the surgery. Always convey your problems to your doctor to find a cure to the issue.

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