Inguinal hernia

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Overview

Inguinal hernia repair is an extremely common operation performed by surgeons. More than 800,000 repairs performed annually. An inguinal hernia is an opening in the myofascial plain of the oblique and transversalis muscles that can allow for herniation of intraabdominal or extraperitoneal organs. These groin hernias can be divided into indirect, direct, and femoral based on location. Most patients present with a bulge or pain in the groin. Healthcare professionals recommend repairing all symptomatic hernias to avoid complications. An open or laparoscopic approach can be used with the goal of defect closure and a tension-free repair. A mesh is usually used for a tension-free repair. When the mesh is contraindicated, primary suture repair can be performed.

Symptoms

nguinal hernias are most noticeable by their appearance. They cause bulges along the pubic or groin area that can appear to increase in size when you stand up or cough.


This type of hernia may be painful or sensitive to the touch.


Symptoms may include:


pain when coughing, exercising, or bending over

burning sensations

sharp pain

a heavy or full sensation in the groin

swelling of the scrotum in men

Causes

There isn’t one cause of this type of hernia.


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:


heredity

a prior inguinal hernia

being male

premature birth

overweight or obesity

pregnancy

cystic fibrosis

chronic cough

chronic constipation

Risk factors

Being male. Men are eight times more likely to develop an inguinal hernia than are women.

Being older. Muscles weaken as you age.

Being white.

Family history. ...

Chronic cough, such as from smoking.

Chronic constipation. ...

Pregnancy. ...

Premature birth and low birth weight.

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Complications

If the contents of the hernia become trapped in the weak point in the abdominal wall, the contents can obstruct the bowel, leading to severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and the inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas. Strangulation. An incarcerated hernia can cut off blood flow to part of your intestine.

A stuck (or “incarcerated”) hernia is when contents of the hernia become trapped in the abdominal wall. If a doctor is unable to move it back into place, a bowel obstruction can occur and it becomes difficult to have a bowel movement. An obstruction can cause other symptoms, too, like abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea.


Sometimes, though, a stuck hernia cuts off blood flow to the intestines and abdomen, resulting in tissue death. This is a life threatening emergency requiring surgery.


Even when tissue death doesn’t occur, a growing hernia can lead to pressure in the groin area. This can cause pain, swelling, or a heaviness in this part of the body.

Prevention

Use proper lifting techniques. Athletes or those who do heavy leaving, are at risk of an inguinal hernia every time they pick up something. ...

Maintain a recommended healthy body weight. ...

Increase core strength. ...

Control diabetes. ...

Quit smoking.

Although you can’t prevent genetic risk factors, it’s possible to reduce your risk of occurrence or the severity of abdominal hernias. Follow these tips:


Maintain a healthy weight for you.

Eat a high-fiber diet.

Quit smoking cigarettes. Quitting is often difficult, but a doctor can help build a cessation plan that works for you.

Avoid heavy lifting.

Early surgical treatment can help cure inguinal hernias.