Inguinal hernia is a condition in which the tissue pushes itself through weak spots of groin muscle. This in turn may cause bulging of groin area which may cause pain. The soft underlying tissue, mostly part of intestine comes out through weak spots of abdominal wall. Inguinal hernia may cause sharp pain when one coughs or lifts heavy object. This disorder has to be operated and does not go away without treatment. Inguinal hernia can be cured completely by surgical procedure.
It is true that inguinal hernia occurs without any apparent cause. But some doctors believe that when a person exerts too much pressure on the abdomen or engages in straining activities like that of difficult bowel movements, he can get hernia.
Often, the opening of the muscle wall fails to close properly after birth causing inguinal hernia. There will be a weak area in the stomach muscle and when one exerts pressure, the tissue pushes itself through some opening to bulge out. Hernia can occur anytime and even for children.
Obesity can increase the chance of getting hernia. The person who is engaged in work involving lots of lifting and moving heavy objects is prone to get inguinal hernia easily. Very often men have this problem but some women may also have inguinal hernia during pregnancy since there would be tremendous pressure on her belly due to the development of baby.
If there is any weak point on the abdominal wall, it can cause hernia in due course.
Bulging of groin or scrotum area is the only symptom of identifying hernia. It can be felt like a round structure or lump. It can cause bulging slowly as a process taking several weeks or even months. For some men, it can appear suddenly while lifting heavy objects or while coughing. Hernia can be painful but not always. There will be swelling of groin area and the affected person will feel heavy in the bottom. Pain and discomfort may not be present for all people having hernia. There can be tugging or burning sensation in that region. In rare cases, there can be nausea with vomiting when the tissues of the intestine get trapped inside hernia.
Children may also get inguinal hernia when they laugh or cries. You can observe for bulging of scrotum or groin area and the child may cry with pain.
Your doctor will look for the above symptoms and physically examine the body for diagnosing hernia.
Unlike popular belief, hernia will not go on its own and it needs surgery. For some people hernia may not give any pain or hurt but for others it may cause huge bulging and exert pressure and heaviness on the area. Small hernias without any pain or pressure need not be operated but large hernias have to be repaired as soon as it is detected.
Surgery is the only option of treatment available for inguinal hernia. During the process, the surgeon will make an incision and gently push the tissue well inside the intestine and close the opening of inguinal canal through sutures. It can be done by laparoscopic method in which small incision is made and a tube with camera is sent inside for completing the surgery.
If you delay the surgery it can cause strangulation when the intestinal tissue gets blocked in the hernia causing intense pain.
Who are at risk?
Men are more inclined to get inguinal hernia than women. Men inherit weakness during the formation of testicles inside the womb. In male babies, the testicles are formed well within the abdomen which later on is pushed down into the inguinal canal deep into the scrotum. After birth, the passage of inguinal canal may not close fully leaving some space for the spermatic cord to go inside. This gradually makes the area weak and hence men are more prone to get this problem than women.
In girl babies the inguinal cord will close completely after birth giving no room for the development of hernia. Putting extra pressure on the abdomen due to pregnancy can cause hernia in rare cases.
People with family history of hernia have more risk of getting it later in life than others. Having fibrosis can increase the risk of getting hernia for women. Chronic cough and constipation problem and infants who are born before the full term of pregnancy also have more chance for getting inguinal hernia than others.
You can prevent getting hernia by maintaining healthy weight and eating fiber rich foods. While lifting heavy objects, do not strain very much and bend your knees well enough to lift the object. Quit smoking and do regular exercises.