Inguinal hernia. Symptoms, causes and treatments

Inguinal hernia

75% of hernias occur in the groin area. According to medical studies, males are much more likely to have them. The risk of having an inguinal hernia in a man throughout his life is estimated at 27%, while inguinal hernias in women occur only in 3%.

Hernias appear when a viscera protrudes out of the abdomen because of a weakness or hollow in the peritoneum, which is the muscular wall that holds the abdominal organs. In the case of the inguinal muscles, the lump arises in the groin as a result of a rupture of the abdominal wall that allows the small intestine to exit through the inguinal canal in the form of a sac. In men, it can even go down to the scrotum.

In most cases, only the doctor’s examination is necessary to diagnose an inguinal hernia. However, in overweight patients or when a hernia is small, it is sometimes necessary to perform other complementary tests, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan.

Inguinal hernia

Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia

Anyone may suspect that you have a herniated groin if you have any of these symptoms:

  • A lump in the groin that usually feels clearly palpable
  • Mild pain when the patient coughs, bends or performs some physical exertion
  • Severe pain at the time the hernia evolves

There may be a hernia incarceration, a complication that makes it impossible for the bowel to return to the abdominal cavity. It can also be a strangulated inguinal hernia, which compromises the blood circulation of the intestine. In these two cases, it is important to go to the doctor urgently.

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An inguinal hernia can be congenital or acquired. It is estimated that 5% of children have a hernia of this type from birth. When it is acquired, the causes are often varied, although physical overexertion, cough, chronic constipation, overweight, or cystic fibrosis, among others, is noteworthy.

It is also classified as a direct or indirect inguinal hernia depending on whether it emerges outside or inside the epigastric vessels. The direct exits through a defect of the abdominal wall and the indirect one are introduced into the inguinal canal.

 Inguinal hernia treatment

The only definitive treatment is inguinal hernia surgery. This surgery reintroduces the abdominal contents that had come out, recovering the inguinal wall at the same time and strengthening it so that it does not happen again. It can be done in different ways, through conventional hernioplasty or through laparoscopy.

In the first case, the operation is performed inguinal, putting in place the part that has come out, through an incision in the area. A mesh of reinforcement is placed in the abdominal wall so that it does not happen again. This operation, lasting a little more than half an hour, is usually done with local anesthesia and sedation, although sometimes general anesthesia is used.

The operation of an inguinal hernia by laparoscopy is performed in the case of bilateral inguinal hernia (on both sides) or in those that have already been previously operated and have appeared again. The herniated tissue is also placed in place and a mesh of attachment in the abdominal wall. It has the same duration as the other technique, but is less invasive, as it is accessed through a couple of small incisions in the area.


Recovery from an inguinal hernia is quick and effective if medical advice is followed. In one or two weeks, depending on the technique used, the patient regains his normal life, although he should know that it is important not to lift the weight until three to six months after the procedure. It should also care for food, to facilitate bowel movements and avoid constipation. Currently, only 5% of cases of hernias return. More on

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