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Inguinal Hernia: Causes And The Best Treatment Options

cured Inguinal Hernia

 

If you've ever had a sudden shooting pain in your groin that made you double over, you may have had an inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia occurs due to a weakness in the muscles of the abdominal wall, and fat or even organs like the intestine push through to create a sac. Men and people who lift heavy objects are more likely to develop inguinal hernias. They usually don't cause permanent problems if left untreated, but it is essential to identify and treat them as soon as possible. This article will help you understand what an inguinal hernia is, its causes and symptoms, and its treatments.

 

What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia is an abnormal bulge of the intestines through an opening in the abdominal wall caused by a weakness in the wall's muscles. A hernia can develop anywhere in the abdominal cavity with a weakness in the wall. However, hernias that occur in the groin are called inguinal hernias. The inguinal canal is located just below the groin area. Through this channel, the spermatic cord passes from the abdomen and into the scrotum. If the abdominal wall is weakened, the contents of the abdominal cavity may pass through the weakest point and enter the inguinal canal. At times the intestines push through to form a bulge in the groin area, an inguinal hernia.

 

Causes of an inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias are often caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall. This weakness can be caused by either a congenital or acquired defect. Otherwise, a hernia may develop after major surgery or trauma that causes a tear in the abdominal wall or a high-pressure injury due to lifting or other strenuous activities. Various common risk factors can make you more likely to develop an inguinal hernia, including being overweight, lifting heavy objects, a family history of inguinal hernias, a chronically constipated state, aging, smoking, and having a job that requires you to stand for long hours on your feet.

 

Symptoms of an inguinal hernia

- A sudden shooting pain in your groin when lifting heavy objects

- Feeling of pressure in your groin when you strain your muscles 

- A bulge in the groin area when you cough or lift heavy objects

- Sudden onset of pain accompanied by a fever

- Swelling around the area of the bulge 

- Urgent need to urinate

- Nausea

 

Symptoms and signs in children

Inguinal hernias in newborns and children are caused by a birth defect in the abdominal wall. The hernia may be visible when an infant is crying, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement. They may be irritable and eat less than usual.

When an older child coughs, strains during a bowel movement, or stands for an extended period of time, a hernia is more likely to be visible.

 

Who is affected by an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias are more common in people assigned to men at birth (AMAB) due to anatomy. Above the lower abdominal wall, their testicle descends through the inguinal canal into their scrotum. Because it is a preexisting opening that is quickly reopened, the area where your testicle passes through is more vulnerable to hernia. And, occasionally, it does not close completely during development.

The inguinal canal is narrower and begins under the abdominal wall in babies at birth. It transports the round ligament that supports their uterus, and this tough ligament aids in the reinforcement of their muscle wall. On the other hand, women with connective tissue diseases may be more prone to hernias, where connective tissue connects their uterus to their inguinal canal. Congenital indirect inguinal hernias can also affect girl babies.

 

Are Inguinal hernias common?

Inguinal hernias account for up to 75% of all hernias. Approximately 25% of men develop an inguinal hernia during their lifetime, compared to 2% of women. Men who are in their forties and fifties are more likely to develop direct (acquired) inguinal hernias. Indirect inguinal hernias affect up to 4% of children, and premature babies are up to 30% more likely to be born prematurely.

 

Diagnosing an inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia is a medical emergency that necessitates immediate medical attention. The doctor will make a diagnosis after conducting a physical exam, reviewing your medical history, and running diagnostic testing. Scrotal and abdominal examinations are both possible parts of the test.

 

Inguinal hernias: Complications 

Gradual growth in size. A preexisting hernia can rapidly worsen by putting more strain on already compromised tissues. An enlarged testicular hernia can cause severe swelling because it spreads down into the scrotum.

Incarceration. When a hernia is "incarcerated," it cannot be "reduced" or physically fixed by repositioning the hernia sac. Pain and other issues might develop as a trapped hernia gets bigger and pinched.

Impaction is a blockage in the small intestine. A blockage can be caused by a herniated segment of the small intestine that becomes stuck and constricted. You may experience extreme stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting, and you may even be unable to defecate or pass gas.

Strangulation. The blood supply to a hernia that has been strangulated has been cut off. Inflammation, infection, and eventual tissue death can result from this (gangrene). A case of strangulation requires immediate medical attention. 

 

Best Treatments for Inguinal Hernia

Treatment options for an inguinal hernia include conservative, non-surgical methods or surgical intervention. 

With conservative treatment, you can expect to heal within three weeks. 

Conservative treatment: - A doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines to ease the pain and swelling.

 - You must avoid lifting heavy objects, smoking, and consuming spicy food. 

- You must also stay hydrated and practice good hygiene by cleaning the wound twice daily with lukewarm water. 

- You can apply ice packs wrapped in a clean cloth to the affected area to reduce the swelling. 

- After three weeks, you can follow a regular exercise schedule and adopt a healthy diet to prevent future recurrences.

Most hernia repairs can be performed with laparoscopic techniques, but more complex hernias may call for open surgery. About 5 percent of all hernia repairs are performed in a medical emergency. Your surgeon will decide what kind of surgery you need based on factors like your current health, your past experiences with surgery, and your professional judgment.

One example of minimally invasive surgery is laparoscopic procedures. Your surgeon will make a series of incisions, each about half an inch long, in your abdomen. By inserting a short tube with a video camera at its end via another "keyhole," the abdominal cavity can be viewed. They will make the necessary adjustments through the other openings using long, thin equipment and a video camera for guidance.

A laparoscope is also used in robotic hernia repair. There is a console in the operating area where the surgeon can sit and operate the various tools. In most cases, hernias are repaired through open surgery. To access the pelvic cavity, your surgeon will make a single, lengthy incision across the length of your pelvis.

A part of your bowel may need to be removed if it becomes squeezed or strangled (bowel resection). You may need a short-term ostomy while your intestine recovers from surgery. In a subsequent procedure, your bowel will be rejoined, and your ostomy will be closed.

 

Bottom line

An inguinal hernia is a common disorder seen in men above 35 years of age due to the weakening of abdominal muscles. Hernias usually occur in the inguinal area, where the spermatic cord passes into the scrotum. The hernia has a fair chance of healing on its own if identified and treated early. The medical professional may recommend bed rest and anti-inflammatory or painkilling medicines. If the hernia's pain and swelling don't go away, surgery may be necessary to fix it. We hope that this article from Cured.com has been helpful to you. Continue reading our blog for more updates related to health and wellness. 

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