Health and MedicineDiseasesInguinal hernia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Inguinal hernia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Do you have an inguinal hernia? We discover what it is and what it consists of, what its causes, what symptoms it produces are and how it is treated. Know all the information.

The so-called inguinal hernia occurs mainly when an organ in the abdominal area gradually moves from its original position due to an external agent or due to the weakening of a certain muscle or tissue in the entire surrounding area. It usually occurs in the intestinal area, very close to the inguinal region and is characterized by the appearance of a small lump in the groin or in the scrotal sac.

This channel closes, preventing the testicles from returning back to the abdomen. However, if this area does not close completely, a section of intestine can move into the said canal, causing the hernia.

It is, in fact, also a condition that can also appear in girls and adult women, since although they do not have testicles, they do have the inguinal canal.

What is an inguinal hernia?

The so-called inguinal hernia is a type of hernia that, according to various statistical data, tends to represent around 85% of all hernias. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most common surgical procedures, which are performed during childhood.

As the male fetus grows and matures during pregnancy, the testes develop in the abdomen. Then they move to the scrotum, through an area called the “inguinal canal.”

That is, it basically consists of a bulge in the groin region, which tends to increase in size with the effort that the person can carry out, and which decreases or disappears when the person is at rest or in bed.

What are your causes?

The inguinal hernia can appear after birth and therefore can be a congenital pathology due to a series of malformations during the gestation period. It is also characterized by being a hernia that has a higher incidence in middle-aged men (40%)  while in women it does not exceed 20%.

In short, this type of hernias usually manifest due to a defect or malformation or inguinal canal. However, there are other risk factors that considerably increase the development of this pathology.

Among all of them, it is worth highlighting especially those Caucasian men over 50 years of age with a high family history of inguinal hernia. Also a chronic cough or generalized constipation can be closely related to the appearance of this hernia.

Likewise, an excessive physical load and with too much pressure in the abdominal area accompanied by other conditions such as obesity or uncontrolled smoking can also cause the appearance of an inguinal hernia.

Therefore, as we mentioned, although inguinal hernia can appear in childhood precisely due to the weakness of the lower abdominal wall as a result of the poor closure of the “inguinal canal”, there are also other causes of inguinal hernia:

  • Weakening of tissues due to age.
  • Pregnancy in women.
  • Intense strain of the abdominal muscles.

Inguinal hernia symptoms

As we have already mentioned, this hernia is characterized by the appearance of a slight bulge around the entire groin or abdomen that in most cases is accompanied by strong pain and swelling in the entire surrounding area. Although these discomforts can also be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Fibrosis or high fever
  • Pain that usually comes on suddenly
  • Considerable constipation at any time of the day.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and general malaise
  • Stomach ache
  • Irritation in the area and crying if babies are suffering from this hernia.

On the other hand, it should be noted that the hernia is usually visible when the person makes an involuntary effort by coughing uncontrollably or by exerting too much effort or pressure when defecating.

Inguinal hernia treatment

The most common and widespread treatment when treating inguinal hernia usually consists of a surgery that is called herniorrhaphy or hernioplasty, an operation that has already been performed in more than 20 million patients over the last few years.

However, because there are inguinal hernias with some subtle differences, the procedure to treat them may vary slightly.

In fact, if this type of hernia has not yet developed too much, there is the possibility of  removing it manually by gently massaging the fingers throughout the affected area during the 24-48 hours after the appearance of the lumps.

Although those patients who suffer from a much more developed and painful inguinal hernia, it seems very important that they undergo a surgical operation as soon as possible in order to mitigate their symptoms little by little.

Once this is known, we are going to differentiate between two types of surgery to treat inguinal hernia. First, there is open surgery, which basically consists of a 6 cm long incision along the groin. There the hernia is reduced and then a polypropylene mesh is added to it that closes the wound but at the same time allows proper circulation.

On the other hand, there is another more modern surgery called laparoscopic repair, which consists of inserting a thin tube with a tiny camera inside. Once it reaches the affected area, an incision is made where a gas is introduced through this tube that “inflates” the entire abdominal area. It is a type of surgery that hardly leaves any discomfort and heals much faster.

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