A hernia is a medical condition that occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscles or other surrounding tissue.
One of the most common hernia conditions is an inguinal hernia, in which there is a portion of the intestine that leaves the lower abdominal cavity around the genitals. Inguinal hernias is caused by swelling and a lump around the groin.
Lumps in the groin are usually visible when lifting something. Then, they will disappear when lying down. This lump or swelling can be painful.
Inguinal hernia is not a serious medical condition. However, if the inguinal hernia lump gets bigger and causes pain, this disease may potentially lead to complications (an underlying disease).
Causes of Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernias usually occur when fatty tissue or a part of the intestine gets into the groin at the top of the inner thigh. This condition generally occurs in men.
As you age, the muscles surrounding the stomach weaken. As a result, the intestines can push out through the weak muscles.
inguinal hernias is not always an age-related disease. Some activities may also cause muscle weakness and a hernia to develop – such as straining on the toilet, pushing heavy loads, and persistent heavy coughs.
In women, inguinal hernias can occur due to pregnancy. When pregnant, the fat or bowel curves into the groin through a weak point in the lower abdomen.
In some cases, inguinal hernias are present at birth.
When to See a Doctor for Inguinal Hernia?
Normally, inguinal hernias are treated by a general surgeon with a sub-specialty in Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic (Liver, Gall Bladder, Bile Ducts & Pancreas). You are highly recommended to consult a doctor immediately if a lump appears around the groin for no apparent reason.
The following are some signs of inguinal hernia:
- Bulge is dark, purple, or red.
- Not being able to pass motion or pass gas
- High fever.
- Pain in the bulge that gets worse over time.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Doctors will be able to diagnose symptoms of inguinal hernia through a series of physical tests. The physical test is done by asking the patient to stand up and cough to identify the bulge.
If the diagnosis is still not possible, the doctor will ask the patient to undergo additional tests such as:
- Ultrasound — a medical imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves and their echoes
- CT Scan — a test done to load clearer images of internal organs.
- MRI — a test performed if the results of ultrasound and CT scan prove inconclusive.
Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia
In general, the most recognizable symptom of inguinal hernia is the appearance of a bulge around the groin. Weakened abdominal muscles and tissues do not cause any symptom. Hence, you will not notice any symptoms until the intestine pushes out and a bulge appears.
Symptoms of inguinal hernia usually include:
- Bulge in the area around the groin.
- Bulge is dark, purple, or red
- Bulge appears when lifting something or when lying down.
- Bulge is getting bigger over time.
- Pain and pressure around the bulge.
- Pain when lifting something
- Nausea and vomiting if the intestine is pinched and cannot return to its normal position.
- Feeling full in the groin area
Treatment for Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernia treatment is not always done immediately. Usually, the doctor will advise you to pay attention to whether the bulge and pain persist. If you have a severe inguinal hernia, your doctor will recommend surgery.
Surgical procedures to treat inguinal hernia is done by pushing back the passage of the intestine and strengthening the weakened muscles and tissues. Another surgery will be carried out if symptoms persist and cause complications.
There are two common surgical procedures to treat inguinal hernia, namely:
- Open surgery — the surgeon will create an incision in a specific area to push the lump back into position.
- Laparoscopic surgery — a less painful surgical procedure that is more difficult to perform. The surgeon will create small incisions in several areas and then insert a laparoscope, which is a small tube with a camera at the end. Then, the inside abdomen is monitored and a special surgical instrument is inserted through the incision to return the hernia to its initial position.
Inguinal hernia surgical procedure is a low risk surgery. Complications may occur – therefore, you are advised to get routine postoperative examinations.
Treatment Cost for Inguinal Hernia
The cost for inguinal hernia treatment varies — depending on the surgical procedure.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of inguinal hernia treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal hernias occur due to weakened muscle tissue. However, there are other factors that can cause inguinal hernia, such as a heavy coughing.
There are several preventive measures for inguinal hernia, namely:
- Avoid cigarette smoke and quit smoking. Smokers cough more often than nonsmokers. Persistent coughing can cause an inguinal hernia.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Being overweight can also trigger an inguinal hernia. Starting a healthier diet and controlling one’s weight can help prevent inguinal hernias.
- Get a routine check-up with the doctor if you often experience coughing and sneezing.
- Start exercising with the right posture, especially when weight-lifting. Proper posture is good for your health
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Inguinal Hernia
Home care to treat inguinal hernia is generally carried out after the surgery. After surgery, patients will be allowed to go home immediately, but must continue to rest.
If pain occurs after surgery, you can consume the pain reliever prescribed by your doctor. Each time you are about to cough, sneeze, sit, or stand – gently press the surgical wound with your hand or pillow. This can help reduce the pain.
Avoid driving after surgery. Be sure to consult your doctor first before engaging in activities such as driving, sports, and so on.