Know About Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernia is the kind that occurs in the groin area, often occurring due improper lifting of weight. It is very common in men and typically involves the pushing of small intestine through a weak muscular wall. For most, hernia may go unnoticed until a severe, sharp pain comes up in the abdomen. A bulge is often noticeable at the site of pain. Hernia is not a very serious condition and can be corrected by surgery. It rarely goes away without any intervention.

As simple as it may sound, hernia can also turn life threatening in certain cases and it is something to take utmost care about. Hernia just must never go ignored.

1.​ What exactly is an Inguinal hernia?

When any tissue, usually the intestine, in the body pushes through a weak muscular wall in the groin causing bulging in the groin or scrotum or labia, an inguinal hernia develops. These hernias may go painless for a while but are likely to get painful over a period. As the muscle walls in the abdomen get weaker, more tissue starts to bulge into the groin causing the hernia to get very painful!

2.​ Inguinal hernia does not go away on its own

Inguinal hernia is not a condition that gets healed on its own over time. It only worsens over time adding to the pain and discomfort. There are several misconceptions regarding treatment of hernia including medications or use of external pressure. Although these may temporarily make you comfortable, they are never a permanent option! The portion of the intestine pushing into the muscle wall has to be put in place using a mesh and this is done only surgically.

The good news is that, inguinal hernia surgeries are now done laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) as outpatient surgery procedure with no long-term hospital admission.

3.​ If it doesn’t hurt, should it be ignored?

Another common misconception is that as long as the hernia is not hurting, you can leave it alone. The question is, how long? Hernia needs to be corrected as early as possible. It may not be an emergency and you may get enough time to plan it as per your convenience, but it has to be done. Over time, hernia tends to grow bigger as the abdominal muscular walls weaken and more tissue bulges through it. This may also lead to serious conditions of strangulation or incarceration.

  • In strangulation, the blood supply to the tissue or portion of intestine in hernia gets cut off. Strangulation may be life-threatening as the tissue starts dying leading to gangrene and affecting surrounding region! Surgery becomes an emergency here.
  • Incarceration involves trapping of a part of intestine in hernia leading to blockage of stools in the intestine. This causes abdominal swelling, pain and nausea and is generally dangerous, as body is not relieved of toxins.
  • Inguinal hernia in children especially, should never be ignored! Children with inguinal hernia are at a higher risk of strangulation or incarceration.

4.​ Inguinal hernia surgery options

Remember. Only surgery can repair inguinal hernia. Inguinal hernia repair surgeries are of two major types:

  • Open hernia repair surgery: Open surgery for inguinal hernia involves a long incision (3”-6”) in the groin and correction of the hernia. A synthetic patch or mesh is commonly fixed to the abdominal wall to strengthen it and reduce the chances of hernia re-occuring. It requires a longer hospital admission and is a major surgery.
  • Laparoscopic repair: Hernia repair today is mostly done on outpatient basis using laparoscopic techniques. In such a surgery, a small incision is made in the inguinal area or the hernia sac and the protruding tissue is freed. Extreme caution is undertaken as the protruding tissue or intestine is freed from the seminal ducts and the procedure is very safe. Again, a mesh may be fitted to the abdominal wall to prevent re-occurrence of hernia. Performing a minor cosmetic procedure of suturing thereof closes the incision. Laparoscopic hernia repair usually require a hospital admission of day or two or may even be discharged the same day.

While open surgeries for hernia take up to a month or more for recovery, laparoscopic surgery involves a shorter recovery period. With some precautions, the patient may get back to normal life in one to two weeks.

Inguinal hernias are best treated when you come to know of it. As much as you may want to put off a surgery, it is important to know that surgeries are the best and only option to treat hernia. So consult your physician and plan your surgery with a good hospital or quality short surgery center to get rid of your inguinal hernia. Surgery centers like AB Hospitals offer excellent services and expert staff at economical rates for hernia repair surgeries.