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Inguinal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Inguinal Hernia occurs when a part of the intestine passes through a weak area of ​​the lower abdominal wall. Schedule your appointment today.

Inguinal Hernia: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Inguinal Hernia occurs in the abdomen near the groin area. This Hernia occurs when a small part of the fat or intestinal tissues pass through a weak area of the lower abdominal wall near the groin canal. 

An Inguinal Hernia is not always dangerous, but if it doesn't get better on its own and you ignore the symptoms, it can become a serious, even life-threatening, health problem. If the Inguinal Hernia is large enough, you may need surgery.

About 5 out of 100 children may have an Inguinal Hernia.

Signs and Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia:

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Inguinal Hernia are:

  • Lump in the area near the groin (on either side of the pubic bone) 

  • A feeling of pain or burning where the lump is located

  • Pain in the groin when coughing, exercising, or bending 

  • Burning sensation

  • Acute pain

  • Feeling of heaviness in the groin

  • A sensation of pressure in the groin

Signs and Symptoms of a Severe Inguinal Hernia:

When an Inguinal Hernia interrupts blood flow to the trapped tissue, it is called a strangulated hernia and can become very serious.

Signs and symptoms of a strangulated hernia include:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting 

  • Fever

  • Sudden pain that quickly intensifies

  • Hernia lump that turns red, purple, or darker

  • Constipation and inability to evacuate

Causes of Inguinal Hernia:

Many Inguinal Hernias have no apparent cause. However, others occur as a result of:

  • Heredity

  • Straining when defecating or urinating

  • Obesity

  • Pregnancy

  • A weak spot in the abdominal wall

  • Chronic coughing or sneezing

  • Chronic Constipation

  • Lifting something heavy without protection

Other Inguinal Hernias can occur when a person is older. His or her muscles are weakened or impaired due to age, the coughing caused by smoking, or strenuous physical activity.

Risk Factors:

People who have any of the following risk factors are more likely to develop an Inguinal Hernia, for example:

  • History of close family members with hernias

  • Being male: Men are 8 times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than women

  • Age: As we age, muscles become weaker 

  • Chronic Cough

  • Chronic Constipation

  • Great efforts in evacuations

  • Enlarged prostate

  • Pregnancy: can weaken abdominal muscles and cause more pressure inside your abdomen

  • Low birth weight

  • Premature birth

  • Overweight or Obesity

  • History of a hernia: you are more likely to develop another groin hernia if you already had one in childhood

Treatment of Inguinal Hernia:

Depending on the size of the Inguinal Hernia you have, its symptoms, and the evaluation that your specialist makes to know which is the most appropriate treatment for you.

The definitive treatment for Inguinal Hernia is Surgery and consists of the reintroduction of the abdominal contents and the repair or reinforcement of the groin wall.


If the Inguinal Hernia is tiny and does not cause you any discomfort, your doctor may recommend that you keep it under observation, be careful and wait before undergoing surgery. 

If Inguinal Hernia occurs in children, the doctor may try to reduce the bulge before considering surgery.

If the Inguinal Hernia is very large or causes a lot of pain and discomfort, surgery is necessary to avoid possible serious complications. There are two types of surgery for this Hernia: open repair and laparoscopic repair.

  • Open Inguinal Hernia Repair (Open Inguinal Hernia):
    In this surgical procedure, the Surgeon makes an incision in the groin and pushes the protruding tissue into the abdomen. He then proceeds to sew up the area, reinforcing it, usually with a synthetic mesh (hernioplasty).

    The recovery time from this surgery is several weeks before you can resume your daily activities.

  • Laparoscopic Repair (Laparoscopic Inguinal Herniorrhaphy):
    This type of surgical procedure is known as Minimally Invasive Surgery, in which the Surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen through which he operates. 

The laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions and guided by the tiny camera at one end; the Surgeon can repair the Hernia with a synthetic mesh.

The recovery time for minimally invasive surgery is usually much shorter than for open surgery. The scars are barely noticeable; however, it must be done by a very experienced Surgeon.

How do I prepare for Inguinal Hernia Repair Surgery?


Ask your Surgeon for precise instructions about the procedure and your specific medical condition. He or she will probably recommend that you fast the night before your surgery. Ask a family member, friend, or other trusted person to help you get home from the hospital after surgery. It is also important to mention to your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.


Post-operative recommendation for Inguinal Hernia:

Your Surgeon will provide the care and recommendations you should have after undergoing open or laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia repair after surgery; however, some recommendations you may want to consider are:

  • Eat soft foods

  • Avoid coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages

  • Increase your water consumption

  • Take the pain medications prescribed by your doctor at the suggested times

  • Wear elastic underwear (very loosely packed)

  • Limit physical activity for the first few days 

  • Avoiding climbing stairs


Warning signs after Inguinal Hernia Surgery:

  • High fever
  • Changes in wound color (if it has turned red or purple)
  • Swollen, hard or hot wound
  • Unbearable pain
  • Excessive bleeding in the wound area


Prevention of Inguinal Hernia:

  • Use your legs, not your back, when lifting something heavy

  • Try not to strain yourself when you go to the bathroom

  • Lose weight

  • Eating a high-fiber diet

  • Consider your family records

  • Quitting smoking


Eating a proper diet rich in fiber with some vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help you avoid constipation and control the painful symptoms of a groin hernia.

When you visit your Doctor, don't forget to keep a detailed record of your symptoms. If you have already been tested or are taking any medication, it is also important to attach it. If your Doctor has recommended you an Inguinal Hernia procedure, follow all the recommendations for a speedy recovery. If you require a Second Opinion, contact us!

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