Do you have a protruding mass of tissue in your lower abdomen area? You might have developed Inguinal Hernia.
An inguinal hernia forms when tissue like a part of your intestine protrudes through a weak spot.
It often forms in the abdominal muscles.
This, resulting in a bulge that can be painful, especially when you cough, bend, or lift a heavy object.
However, in many cases, a hernia does not cause any pain.
Moreover, keep in mind that an inguinal hernia is not always dangerous.
Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that if this condition does not improve on its own it can be life-threatening.
In such conditions, your doctor will recommend surgery to fix an inguinal hernia that is painful or growing.
Inguinal hernia, moreover, is a common surgical procedure.
Let’s discuss it in detail as follows:
Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia
It is important to note that inguinal hernia is most noticeable by its appearance.
They often cause bulges along the pubic or groin area.
These can appear to increase in size while you stand or cough and can be painful and sensitive to touch.
Other symptoms of this condition are as follows:
Pain while coughing, exercising, or bending over.
Burning sensations, a sharp pain, a heavy or full sensation in the groin area, and swelling of the scrotum in men.
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Signs and Symptoms in Children
Inguinal hernia can also develop in newborns and children.
It often results from a weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at the time of birth.
In some cases, the hernia may be visible only when the infant is crying, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement,
Moreover, the infant may also be irritable and have less appetite than usual.
However, in an older child, a hernia is more likely to be painful and apparent
This is especially the case when the child coughs, strains during a bowel movement, or stands for a long period of time.
Signs of Trouble
If you are unable to push the hernia in, the contents of it may be trapped or incarcerated in the abdominal wall.
Such an incarcerated hernia can become strangulated which cuts off the blood flow to the tissue that is trapped.
This condition can be life-threatening if you do not get immediate treatment.
Signs and symptoms of such hernia are as follows:
Nause, vomiting, or both, fever, and sudden pain that intensifies suddenly.
Moreover, a hernia bulge that turns red, purple, or dark and the inability to move your bowels pr pass gas are some signs of trouble.
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Causes of Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernial have often no apparent cause, however, others might occur as a result of;
Increase in pressure within the abdomen, a pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal walls, and pregnancy.
Moreover, straining during the bowel movements or urination, strenuous activity, or chronic coughing or sneezing are causes of it.
In most cases, the abdominal wall weakness that leads to this condition happens before birth.
This is the weakness in the abdominal wall muscle that does not close properly.
In other cases, it may occur later in life when the muscles weaken or deteriorate due to different factors.
These can be aging, strenuous physical activity, or coughing that accompanies smoking.
Moreover, such a weakness can also occur later in life especially after an injury or abdominal surgery.
It is important to note in men, the weak spot often occurs in the inguinal canal.
This is where the spermatic cord enters the scrotum.
On the other hand, in women, the inguinal carries a ligament that helps to hold the uterus in place.
Hernia can occur, in some cases, occur when the connective tissue from the uterus attaches to the tissue surrounding the pubic bone.
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Types of Inguinal Hernias
Inguinal hernias can be indirect or direct, incarcerated or strangulated.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Indirect Inguinal Hernia
This one is the most common type of hernia and can occur in premature birth.
Usually, before the inguinal canal becomes closed off.
However. this type can occur at any time during your life and often affects men.
Direct Inguinal Hernia
A direct inguinal hernia occurs in adults as they age and is due to the weakening of muscles during adulthood.
This can lead to direct inguinal hernia, according to popular belief.
Moreover, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIDDK, this type of hernia is most common and prevalent in men.
Incarecerated Inguinal Hernia
Incarcerated inguinal hernia occurs when the tissues become stuck in the groin area and are not reducible.
It means that you cannot push it back into place.
Strangulated Inguinal Hernia
A strangulated hernia is a more serious medical condition and occurs when your intestine is in an incarcerated hernia has no blood flow.
A strangulated hernia can also be life-threatening and require emergency medical care.
Diagnosing Inguinal Hernia
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose an inguinal hernia during a physical exam.
During this, they will ask you to cough while standing so that they can check the hernia when it is more noticeable.
However, when in a reduced size, your doctor should be able to push it back into the abdomen.
Either when you are lying down or on your back.
If in case this is unsuccessful, you have an incarcerated or strangulated inguinal hernia.
In some cases, your doctor can also order image testing.
These include abdominal ultrasound, CT Scan, or an MRI.
If the hernia is small and is not causing any trouble, your doctor might recommend waiting for a while.
In some cases, wearing a supportive truss can also help to relieve the symptoms.
However, check with your doctor before using it because it is important that the truss fits properly.
Moreover, it is important that you use it properly.
On the other hand, if your child has this condition, your doctor may try applying manual pressure to reduce the bulge before considering surgery.
Enlarging or painful hernias usually need surgery to relieve discomfort and prevent serious complications.
There are 2 types of hernia operations:
- Open hernia repair
- Minimally invasive hernia repair.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
Open Hernia Repair
In this procedure, your doctor will use local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia.
They will then make an incision in your groin and push the protruding tissue back into your abdomen.
Your surgeon will then sew the weakened area, reinforcing it with a synthetic mesh or hernioplasty.
They will close the opening with the help of stitches, staples, or surgical glue.
After the surgery, your doctor will encourage you to move about as soon as possible.
However, it can take a few weeks before you are able to go back to your daily life routine.
Minimally Invasive Hernia Repair
This procedure requires general anesthesia. Your surgeon will operate through several small incisions in your abdomen.
They may use laparoscope or robotic instruments to repair your hernia.
Gas is used to inflate your abdomen in order to make the internal organs easier to see.
A small tube that contains a camera will then be inserted into one incision.
With the help of this camera, your surgeon will insert tiny instruments through one small incision to repair the hernia using a synthetic mesh.
If you choose to have this procedure, you will experience less discomfort and scarring after the surgery.
Moreover, it will be easy to return to normal routines quickly.
It is important to note that long-term results of laparoscopic and hernia surgeries are comparable.
Minimally invasive hernia surgery allows the surgeon to avoid scar tissues forming, thus, it might be a good choice if you have a hernia after open hernia surgery.
This might also help if you have hernias on both sides of your body or bilateral.
As with open surgery, it can take a few weeks before you get back to your daily routine.
Complications of inguinal hernia are as follows:
Pressure on the Surrounding Tissue: In most cases, this hernia can enlarge over time, in case you do not repair it surgically.
In men, a large hernia can extend into the scrotum, thus causing pain and swelling.
Incarcerated Hernia: If the contents of the hernia become trapped in the weak point of your abdominal wall. the content can obstruct the bowel.
It can lead to severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and the inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.
Strangulation: An incarcerated hernia can cut the blood flow off to the part of your intestine.
Moreover, it can lead to the death of affected bowel tissue and is a life-threatening condition.
Therefore, you will need immediate surgery in this case.
Preventing Inguinal Hernia
You cannot prevent the congenital defect that makes you suspectable of an inguinal hernia.
However, you can reduce strain on your abdominal muscles and tissues. For this:
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Consult your doctor about the best exercises and diet plan for you.
High-Fiber Foods: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain fibers that help to prevent constipation and straining.
Smoking: Besides causing many different diseases. smoking often causes a chronic cough that can potentially lead to an inguinal hernia.
Avoid Heavy Lifting: In case you want to lift something heavy, you must always bend your knees, and avoid bending your waist.
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Though you cannot prevent genetic risk factors, you can reduce your risk of developing the severity of abdominal hernias.
Early surgical treatment can help cure this condition, however, there is always a slight risk of recurrence and complications. These include infection after surgery or poor surgical wound healing.
Thus, call your doctor immediately if you experience new symptoms or if side effects occur after treatment.