Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia forms in the inguinal canal (left or right) at the base of the abdomen, close to the groin area. They are a result of either fatty or intestinal tissue pushing through a weak region in the abdominal wall. 

 If the hernia formed is small and not causing a lot of discomforts the doctor may recommend observation and ask to wear a truss to support the bulge (to relieve symptoms).

However, if the hernia continues to enlarge and is painful, surgery is the only course of action. 

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What is an Inguinal Hernia


An inguinal hernia forms in the inguinal canal (left or right) at the base of the abdomen, close to the groin area. They are a result of either fatty or intestinal tissue pushing through a weak region in the abdominal wall.

Many do not seek medical help because it causes no symptoms and is small. However, evaluation by a doctor can help prevent complications in the future.


Types of Inguinal Hernia


Inguinal hernias can be of four types: Indirect or direct, incarcerated or strangulated.

Indirect inguinal hernia: Indirect inguinal hernia, a commonly observed hernia, often has been known to occur in premature births, before the closure of the inguinal canal. 

This type of hernia may also occur at any other point in life. Its formation is mostly observed in males.

Direct inguinal hernia: A direct inguinal hernia is believed to be formed as a result of aging, which is responsible for the weakening of the muscles. 

A direct inguinal hernia is much more predominant in males, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Incarcerated inguinal hernia: A hernia where the bulging tissue cannot be pushed back into its original position is an incarcerated hernia. The tissue gets stuck in the groin area.

Strangulated inguinal hernia: The intestine is an incarcerated hernia and with no blood flow to it, is a strangulated inguinal hernia. It is a serious and life-threatening medical condition. It needs to be treated as a medical emergency. 


Causes of Inguinal Hernia


There is no specific cause for most inguinal hernia. Others could be formed because of the following causes:

  • ​A weak spot in the abdominal wall.
  • Pressure impinging from inside the abdomen.
  • Strenuous urination or bowel movements (e.g. constipation).
  • Strained coughing or frequent sneezing.
  • Frequent vigorous activity.
  • Pregnancy
  • At birth, due to improper closure of the peritoneum (abdominal lining).
  • With ageing, as the muscles weaken.
  • Coughing, due to smoking activity.
  • Obesity
  • Family history with a close relative developing the condition.
  • Low birth weight or premature birth. 
  • Inguinal hernia in childhood predisposes for its development in later years.
  • Cystic fibrosis.


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