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This condition occurs when a part of the intestine moves into the abdominal region. It can enter the abdominal muscles when there is a weak spot in this region. Even though this is not a serious condition in many cases, it causes a lot of pain especially when you are involved in strenuous activity. Even small bending or coughing can cause pain in many cases. Going for a surgery is the best option as it can cure the problem completely.
Types of Inguinal Hernia
- Direct Inguinal Hernia: This happens usually to adults and the chances increases as they age. The main reason for this condition in old age is the weakness in the abdominal region. It is common at this stage and it can get complicated with obesity and other illness. Most adults suffering from inguinal hernia have this type of condition and it can be easily cured with the help of surgery.
- Indirect Inguinal Hernia: This is prevalent more among children and you will notice it usually in the case of the premature birth of the baby. The inguinal canal sometimes gets closed in this situation and it leads to hernia. Some people will have this tendency and they may develop this condition even after many years as they get old and it is commonly found in males.
- Incarcerated Inguinal Hernia: Sometimes, the tissue can get stuck in the groin region and cause a lot of pain and lead to this condition. It cannot be pushed inside as with the normal case and surgery is the only option left to handle this condition.
- Strangulated Inguinal Hernia: When the hernia is very severe, it can get strangulated and blood supply to the intestine can get cut off completely leading to various complications. In this situation, emergency surgery is needed to control the condition.
Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia
- It is very common to see a bulge near the pubic bone region. This will be clearly visible when the person is standing and doctors can easily notice them when the patient is coughing.
- It can be painful in most conditions and some people even experience a burning sensation in the pubic region.
- Patients suffering from Inguinal hernia always have a lot of pain when they are bending or lifting heavy objects that put a strain on the groin region.
- The groin region will also have constant pressure due to the bulging of intestine muscles and it feels heavy most of the time.
- In some cases, people may also experience pain around the testicles and it can also swell when the size of the hernia is big.
- Even children can get affected with this condition and you need to watch out for the symptoms carefully in very young children. It will be obvious when they are crying or having bowel movements and you should immediately approach your doctors about the bulging muscles in the groin region.
Causes of Inguinal Hernia
- Some people naturally have a weak abdominal region and this can easily affect them in the future. These people are more prone to getting hernia in future.
- Apart from that, increased pressure in the abdominal region can also lead to this condition in the long run. This usually happens when people strain too much during bowel movements or urination.
- When the additional pressure is felt on the weak spot in the abdominal region, it can easily give away and the muscles will allow the intestine to get inside and cause complications.
- When you are involved in the sudden strenuous activity, the abdominal wall can give in to the pressure and cause hernia.
- In some cases, women tend to get hernia during pregnancy as the abdominal muscles will be very weak during this stage.
- Apart from that, people suffering from a chronic cough are likely to develop hernia when they have a weak abdominal wall.
- In many people, the risk of getting inguinal hernia increases with age as the abdominal muscles lose their strength in this stage.
- This is also common in people who have undergone abdominal surgery in the past and the muscles will be under pressure in this situation.
- Along with these factors, family history also plays a major role and the chances of getting inguinal hernia increases by a huge margin when someone in your family has this problem.
- For some reasons, men are more likely to develop hernia than women. The problem can also occur due to excessive smoking and alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking can lead to constipation in some cases and this puts pressure on the abdominal wall while having bowel movements.
- When you are overweight, the abdominal muscles will lose strength and you are likely to develop hernia at a later stage in life.
Diagnosis of Inguinal Hernia
- Physical examination: When you are experiencing pain in the groin region, you should never neglect the issue and always approach your doctor. It can be easily detected by way of physical examination in most cases. The area bugles out when you are coughing and this gives a clear indication about the hernia. If it pushes back to its original position when you are lying down, it is not severe and further tests are needed to ascertain the condition. When the pain is severe and the hernia cannot be pushed back, you need to be concerned as this is an emergency situation and immediate surgery may be required as it can cut off the blood supply to the intestine when it is not treated in time.
- Imaging Tests: In some cases, the symptoms may not be very severe and imaging tests like an MRI test, an Ultrasound scan may be required to analyze the condition. This gives a clear idea about the condition of hernia and helps doctors take the next step towards curing the problem. In most cases, surgery will give long-term relief from the problem and this is the only solution for many patients.
Prevention of Inguinal Hernia
- It may not be possible to prevent hernia completely when you have genetic factors that make you prone to getting this condition. However, by following these guidelines, you can certainly decrease the chances of getting inguinal hernia by a huge margin.
- Control your weight and have a simple exercise regime. This will help you to lose excess weight and remember that obesity increases the chances of getting hernia in future. Apart from that, regular exercise will ensure that your abdominal muscles will be strong and this will avoid the inguinal hernia condition in the future.
- Make sure that you have a healthy diet that can be easily digested and this will put less pressure on the abdominal region. You will notice that eating foods rich in fiber will help you to digest them easily and this avoids constipation. In this way, there is no need to exert too much pressure during bowel movements and you will reduce your chances of getting hernia. It is a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables as they contain natural fiber that aids in digestion.
- When you are involved in strenuous activities, always make it a point to use your knees to the maximum so that it will reduce the pressure on the abdomen region. You can even use some supporting belt around the waist and this will help you to easily lift the weights during your workout session. If possible, try to avoid lifting heavy objects when you are prone to getting inguinal hernia.
- Chronic smoking and alcohol consumption affects digestion and it will also put more pressure on the abdominal region due to excessive coughing. In this way, your vital organs have to work harder to process the food materials and this may lead to weak abdomen muscles in the future.
Treatment for Inguinal Hernia
- Open Hernia Treatment: This method is used in most cases and the groin area is opened through surgery and the hernia is pushed back to its place. After this is done, a synthetic mesh known as hernioplasty is used to cover the weak area and it is stitched properly in this place. The weak opening which led to hernia in the first place is also closed and this completes the treatment for inguinal hernia. A few weeks of rest may be advised by the doctors and you should avoid strenuous activities in this period.
- Laparoscopy Treatment: This procedure is slightly advanced and it involves making a tiny hole in the abdominal region to access the affected area. The surgeon inserts the tube that contains a camera to perform the operation and the weak area is closed properly using this method. This leaves very fewer scars unlike the other procedure and you will not face too much discomfort during the operation. It is also possible to get back to work earlier with this procedure.
Complications of Inguinal Hernia
- Strangulation is the biggest complication of inguinal hernia and this condition happens when the blood supply gets cut off completely. It can even lead to fatal consequences when treatment is not provided at the right time. You need to get timely treatment and surgery is the only option to treat this condition.
- When the hernia is trapped in the abdominal wall, it leads to this condition and it can create many complications. The bowel movement can get severely affected and in extreme cases, it can even get blocked completely leading to various issues. You need to go for a surgery immediately at this stage to avoid further complications.
- When hernia is not treated at the right time, it can expand and create other complications in the surrounding areas. A large hernia is usually painful and it leads to swelling that causes a lot of discomforts. In some cases, patients are not able to stand for a long time as the pressure gets too much in this position. They need to lie down for many hours to get relief from this pain. However, surgery can treat this condition effectively and you will get complete relief from pain in the long run.
Myths about Inguinal Hernia
Myths #1: Lifting heavy weights causes hernia:
This is completely false and lifting heavy weights will not cause inguinal hernia. However, when you already have hernia, it increases the severity and leads to complications when you lift heavy weights on a regular basis. If you are a healthy person without any symptoms of hernia, you can easily lift weights without worrying about this condition.
Myths #2: Women do not get hernia:
It is a myth that only men get hernia as it can even affect women and children. However, the majority of patients are male and only a few women get affected due to inguinal hernia. For this reason, you should not assume that women are immune to this condition and even they can develop hernia, especially in old age.
Myths #3: Hernia cannot reappear:
Many people believe that once you get treated for hernia, it will not reappear and you will be completely immune to this condition. However, this is completely false and hernia can again come back within a few years depending on the overall health condition of the patient. Apart from that, the lifestyle and diet of the patient play a major role in the reappearance of hernia in the future. People who had hernia in childhood are more likely to get it again in old age.
If you notice any pain in the groin area, you should check out if there is any swelling in that region. Remember that it will be more obvious when you are in an upright position and try to cough few times to notice any bulge in that area. When you notice such symptoms and if you feel pain when coughing, you should be aware that it is a symptom of hernia and immediately approach your doctor. Remember that when the hernia gets strangulated, immediate surgery needs to be performed as it can block the blood supply to the intestine and lead to the fatal situation. However, with proper surgery, you can get long-term relief from the problem and maintain a healthy lifestyle will ensure that you will not face such issues in the future.