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Inguinal Hernia

What is inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine or other abdominal contents protrudes through a weak area in the abdominal wall near the inguinal canal. This protrusion can cause a visible bulge or lump in the groin area, which may become more noticeable when standing, coughing, or straining.

What causes inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias typically develop due to a combination of factors that weaken the abdominal wall, including:

  • Congenital predisposition: Some individuals are born with a weakness in the abdominal wall, making them more prone to developing hernias.

  • Aging: As people age, the muscles and tissues of the abdominal wall may weaken, increasing the risk of hernias.

  • Chronic straining: Activities that involve repeated straining or heavy lifting can strain the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of hernias.

  • Conditions that increase abdominal pressure: Conditions such as obesity, chronic coughing, constipation, or pregnancy can increase pressure within the abdomen, contributing to the development of hernias.

What are the symptoms of inguinal hernia?

Symptoms of inguinal hernia can vary depending on the size and severity of the hernia, but common symptoms may include:

  • A visible bulge or lump in the groin area, which may become more prominent when standing, coughing, or straining

  • Pain or discomfort in the groin, particularly when bending over, coughing, or lifting heavy objects

  • A sensation of heaviness or pressure in the groin

  • Swelling or enlargement of the scrotum in men

  • Aching or burning sensation in the groin area

How to treat inguinal hernia?

Treatment for inguinal hernia may involve observation, lifestyle modifications, or surgical intervention, depending on the size, symptoms, and individual circumstances.

 

Treatment options may include:

  • Watchful waiting: Small, asymptomatic hernias may be monitored over time with regular check-ups to assess for any changes or progression.

  • Lifestyle modifications: Avoiding heavy lifting, straining during bowel movements, or activities that increase abdominal pressure may help prevent hernias from worsening.

  • Hernia truss or support garment: Some individuals may find relief from wearing a hernia truss or support garment, which can help reduce discomfort and prevent the hernia from protruding.

  • Surgery: Surgical repair is often recommended for symptomatic or large inguinal hernias to prevent complications such as incarceration or strangulation. Surgery typically involves pushing the herniated tissue back into place and strengthening the abdominal wall with stitches or mesh.


Treatment decisions should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, preferably a paediatric general surgeon, who can evaluate the specific circumstances of the hernia and recommend the most appropriate management approach.

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