What Is Inguinal Hernia Repair?
An inguinal hernia occurs when soft tissues protrude through an area of weakness or a defect in your lower abdominal muscles, often in or near the groin area. Anybody can get an inguinal hernia, but it’s more common in males than females.
Inguinal hernia repair, inguinal herniorrhaphy, and open hernia repair are various names for the surgery that corrects this condition. During the procedure, your surgeon pushes the bulging tissues back into the abdomen while stitching and reinforcing the portion of the abdominal wall containing the defect.
Surgery isn’t always necessary, but hernias generally don’t improve without it. In some cases, an untreated hernia can become life-threatening. While there are some side effects and risks associated with surgery, most people have positive results.
What Causes an Inguinal Hernia?
Doctors perform a physical exam to diagnose an inguinal hernia. The cause isn’t always known, but hernias could be the result of weak spots in the abdominal wall. Weaknesses can be due to defects present at birth or formed later in life.
Some risk factors for inguinal hernia include:
- fluid or pressure in the abdomen
- heavy lifting, such as weight lifting
- repetitive straining during urination or bowel movements
- chronic cough
Both adults and children can get inguinal hernias. Males are more likely to develop an inguinal hernia. People with a history of hernias are at increased risk of having another hernia. The second hernia usually occurs on the opposite side.
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What Are the Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia?
The symptoms of an inguinal hernia include a bulge in the groin area and pain, pressure, or aching at the bulge, especially when lifting, bending, or coughing. These symptoms usually subside during rest. Men may also have swelling around the testicles.
You can sometimes gently push back the bulging tissue of a hernia when you lie on your back. You may not notice any symptoms if your inguinal hernia is small.
See your doctor if you suspect you might have a hernia.
Do I Need an Inguinal Hernia Repair?
Immediate surgery isn’t always recommended when a hernia isn’t causing a problem. However, it’s important to note that most hernias won’t resolve without treatment. They may also become larger and more uncomfortable over time.
Most people find the bulge from a hernia to be painless. However, coughing, lifting, and bending might cause pain and discomfort. Your doctor may suggest surgery if:
- your hernia gets larger
- pain develops or increases
- you have difficulty performing daily activities
A hernia can become very dangerous if your intestines become twisted or trapped. If this happens, you may have:
- increased heart rate
- darkening of the bulge
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. This is a life-threatening condition requiring emergency surgery.