man holding crotch area with both hands

Groin Hernia: All you need to know

Hernia of the groin, also known as inguinal hernia, is a bulge (lump) that occurs between the lower area of the abdomen and the thigh.

Inguinal hernia occurs when muscles weaken in the lower abdomen over time.

There are three layers that protect the human intestines in the lower area of the abdomen. The peritoneum is the first membrane followed by the abdominal muscles. The third layer is the skin.

An inguinal hernia develops when the intestines and the peritoneum push through the muscles to form a bulge under the skin.

Inguinal hernia comes in two forms:

  • Direct Inguinal hernia- this type occurs after weakening of the abdominal muscles over time. It occurs only in men and is more likely in adults.
  • Indirect inguinal hernia – this is the most common type affecting the groin. It is also the type that a person can be born with and is more common in men. It is more common in men because after the birth of a boy, the male testicles start from inside the abdomen. The testicles have to push through an opening in the groin into the scrotum. A hernia develops when the opening fails to close at birth.

Symptoms

 A visible bulge or swelling in the groin area is the main symptom of a hernia. If this extends down into the scrotum in males, the scrotum can enlarge. However, a small hernia may not be noticeable and causes no symptoms. 

Some symptoms of hernia come and disappear and may not be experienced at certain times. For instance, a bulge can increase in size when you strain and disappears when you lie down.

It can also be experienced when there is sudden pain in the scrotum or groin when straining or exercising.

Sometimes a patient can feel aching, burning, pressure, or weakness in the scrotum or the groin.

Treatment

Repairing an inguinal requires surgery. Hernia symptoms are diagnosed through physical examination and medical history for relevant medical attention. The two types of surgery for hernia are laparoscopy and open repair. Laparoscopy uses a few small incisions while open repair uses an incision through the skin in the groin area.

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