How does an inguinal hernia manifest itself? How to treat it?

14 November 2023
A woman suffering from an inguinal hernia. En

A soft, palpable and visible lump in the groin area may just be one of the most characteristic symptoms of inguinal hernia. What are the other symptoms of this condition? How does an inguinal hernia develop and how can it be cured?

What is a hernia? What does it look like?

A hernia is said to occur when organs (usually from the abdominal cavity) are displaced beyond their normal position in such a way that they pass outside the abdominal shell through the so-called hernia gates.

What does an inguinal hernia look like?

An inguinal hernia, as the name suggests, reveals itself precisely in the groin area. It can be visible as a bulge or lump. Its contents are usually intestine (lean or fat) or visceral fat.

Types of inguinal hernia

  • Indirect inguinal hernia – most commonly diagnosed as an inguinal hernia in children, especially newborns. This type of hernia may result from malformation of the inguinal canal.
  • Direct inguinal hernia – is sometimes diagnosed in children and adolescents, but most often affects adults. It is formed as a result of weakened abdominal muscles. Various factors contribute to its occurrence (including heavy lifting, but also constipation, overweight and obesity).

How does an inguinal hernia develop?

This is one of the types of ventral hernia that statistically occur more often in men than in women. The formation of this and other types of ventral hernia can occur due to various factors, but the process goes as follows:

  • As a result of the weakening of the abdominal muscular coatings, there is a displacement of organs from inside the abdominal cavity to the outside.
  • The displaced organs constitute the contents of the hernia and are located in the so-called hernia sac, which extends outside the shell through the hernia gates.

In the case of an inguinal hernia, the process of its formation is not necessarily sudden, but is often gradual. For this reason, the condition is sometimes underestimated or may even go unnoticed until it begins to cause additional symptoms.

Inguinal hernia – symptoms

Among the most characteristic symptoms of an inguinal hernia is the appearance of a bulge or lump in the groin area. It is usually quite soft and most visible when one assumes an upright position.

What may be the other symptoms of inguinal hernia?

  • Pain that can radiate from the groin to the lower extremities.
  • A pulling sensation in the pit of the abdomen or in the groin area.
  • Men may also experience pain and swelling in the scrotal area.

An inguinal hernia may not cause any symptoms for a long time, or they may be very negligible. A worrying sign is an increase in symptoms, severe pain, nausea or vomiting, fever, bloating and stopping the ability to defecate. These symptoms may indicate hernia entrapment – that is, the hernia becomes wedged, which can cause obstruction, ischemia and even necrosis of the contents of the hernia sac. Hernia incarceration is an emergency and requires urgent medical attention, as failure to provide adequate treatment can result in necrosis, the development of sepsis and even death of the patient.

Treatment of inguinal hernia

The most effective treatment that can be implemented for an inguinal hernia is surgery. However, it does not have to be performed immediately in every case. What does it depend on? First of all, it depends on the size of the hernia, as well as the accompanying complaints. Small, drainable hernias (that is, those that can be drained back into the body with the hand) can be left under observation for a while, but it should be expected that they will not disappear on their own. Hernia surgery is the only way to get rid of a hernia and not run the risk of becoming incarcerated.

What does inguinal hernia surgery involve?

This is a surgical procedure during which the hernia sac, along with its contents, is retracted back into its place (inside the abdominal cavity). The hernia gates are sutured and reinforced to prevent them from reopening.

In modern clinics and hospitals, hernia surgeries are performed using tension-free and mesh-reinforced techniques – this means that the tissues are sutured without tightening them and can be reinforced with mesh, minimizing the risk of recurrence. Inguinal hernia surgery can be performed classically, but also laparoscopically and even using modern surgical robots. Do you suspect an inguinal hernia in yourself or a loved one? Make an appointment for a surgical consultation!

Hernia surgery and what’s next?

The less invasive the inguinal hernia surgery was, the easier and faster it will be to return to standard levels of daily activity. This is why laparoscopic and robotic surgical techniques are so popular. However, regardless of whether the hernia was removed during traditional surgery or laparoscopic surgery, it is important to follow your doctor’s individual instructions after the procedure.

What else is worth remembering?

  • In the first few weeks after surgery, avoid lifting weights and tightening abdominal muscles.
  • An easily digestible diet that will not cause constipation is advisable.
  • Physiotherapy and mobilization of the scar is an option worth considering, and especially if the surgery was performed in the traditional manner.

If you are left with scars after inguinal hernia surgery and want to reduce their visibility, you may want to consider a series of laser treatments that reduce the visibility of scars and other skin imperfections.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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