An Overview of Inguinal Hernia

The occurrence of an inguinal hernia arises when the tissue on the part of the intestine protrudes through a weak area in the abdominal muscles. The ramification of the bulge can be painful when you cough, bend over or lift a heavyweight. An inguinal hernia is not a dangerous disease. However, its persistence over some time can lead to life-threatening complications. Your doctor can suggest undergoing the surgical procedure to fix up the problem of an inguinal hernia that is going to be painful or enlarging. An inguinal hernia can be remedied by going through a common surgical procedure. Most patients are able to go home the same day and able to return to work.

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The potential symptoms and signs of Inguinal hernia entail:

  • A bulge is looming large in the area on either side of your pubic bone that comes more obvious when you are upright, especially if you cough or strain
  • You feel a burning or aching sensation at the bulge
  • You feel pain or discomfort in the region of your groin, especially when you bend over, cough or lift
  • A heavy or dragging sensation is felt in the area of your groin
  • There is a feeling of pressure or weakness in your groin
  • Occasionally, pain and swelling are felt around the region of testicles when your protruding intestine descends into the scrotum

Signs and symptoms of Inguinal hernia in children

An inguinal hernia is to be found in infants and children from the result of a weakness in the abdominal wall, which is present at
birth. Occasionally, the hernia can be found only when a newborn is crying, coughing or straining during a bowel movement.
He/she might feel irritated and have less appetite than normal.
In a comparative older child, a hernia is likely to be more apparent when the child coughs, strains during a bowel movement, or
persists for a long time.

Signs of the problem

If you are not capable enough to push your hernia in, the contents of the hernia may be trapped or incarcerated in the
abdominal wall. An incarcerated hernia can become strangulated, which cuts off the supply of blood supply flow to the tissue that is
trapped. A strangulated hernia can be life-threatening if it is left untreated for a long time.
Signs and symptoms of a strangulated hernia:

  • Nausea, vomiting or both at a time
  • Fever
  • Sudden pain that quickly intensifies
  • A hernia bulge that turns red, purple or dark
  • Inability to move your bowels or pass gas

You should see your doctor

  • If a hernia bulge turns red, purple, or dark
  • If you notice any other sign or symptom of a strangulated hernia
  • If you have pain or noticeable bulge in your groin area or either side of your pubic bone
  • If the bulge is likely to be more apparent when you are standing
  • If you put your hand directly over the affected area. This you can feel it

Causes of This Problem

  • Increased pressure within the abdomen
  • A pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall
  • Straining during bowel movements or urination
  • Strenuous activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing

In many people, the abdominal wall weakness that leads to an inguinal hernia occurs at birth when the abdominal lining
(peritoneum) doesn’t close properly. Other inguinal hernias develop later in life when muscles weaken or deteriorate due to aging,
strenuous physical activity, or coughing through the habit of constant smoking. Weaknesses can also occur in the abdominal wall
later in life, especially after an injury or abdominal surgery.
In men, the weak spot usually occurs in the inguinal canal, where the spermatic cord enters the scrotum. In women, the inguinal
canal carries a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place, and hernias sometimes occur where connective tissue from the uterus
attaches to the tissue surrounding the pubic bone.

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Risk Factors

Factors that contribute to the emergence of an inguinal herein comprise:

  • Being Male: Men are eight times more prone to develop an inguinal hernia than his female counterpart
  • Aging: Muscles weaken as you are aging
  • Family History: You have blood relatives, such as a parent or sibling, who has the condition of this hernia
  • Chronic Cough: it emerges from the constant habit of smoking
  • Chronic Constipation: Constipation that causes straining during bowel movements
  • Pregnancy: This medical condition can weaken the abdominal muscles and cause mounted pressure inside your abdomen
  • Premature birth and low birth weight
  • Previous inguinal hernia or hernia repair: Even if your previous hernia occurred during childhood days, you’re at higher risk of developing another inguinal hernia

Intricacies

Complications of an inguinal hernia have:

  • Pressure on surrounding tissues. Most inguinal hernias enlarge or persist over time if it is not repaired surgically. In men, large hernias can extend into the scrotum, prompting pain and swelling.
  • Incarcerated hernia. If the contents of the hernia become trapped in the weak point in the abdominal wall, it can obstruct the bowel, leading to severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and the inability to have a bowel movement or pass gas.
  • Strangulation. An incarcerated hernia can cut off blood flow to the region of your intestine. Strangulation can lead to the death of the affected bowel tissue. A strangulated hernia is life-threatening and requires immediate surgical attention.

Prevention

You can’t prevent the congenital disability that makes you susceptible to an inguinal hernia. You can, however, reduce strain on
your abdominal muscles and tissues. For instance:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: See to your doctor for his valuable inputs for the best exercise and dietary plan.
  • Emphasize high-fiber foods: Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are enriched with fiber that can help prevent constipation and straining.
  • Lift heavy objects carefully or avoid heavy lifting: If you are going to lift something heavy, always bend from your knees — not your waist.
  • Stop smoking: Despite being a major player in a plethora of disease, smoking often causes a chronic cough, resulting in the medical condition of inguinal hernia.

Diagnosis

A physical exam is carried out to find out an inguinal hernia if it presents. Your doctor will check for a bulge in the region of your groin. Because standing posture and coughing condition can make a hernia more visible. Your doctor will ask you to stand and cough or strain.

If the diagnosis isn’t readily apparent, your doctor might order an imaging test, such as an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.

Treatment

If your hernia is small in size and isn’t bothering you, your doctor might recommend keeping an eye over this. Sometimes, wearing
a supportive truss may help relieve symptoms. But check with your doctor first because of its importance if the truss fits properly. In
children, the doctor might try applying manual pressure to reduce the bulge before deliberation of the surgery in case of such need
arises.
Enlarging or painful hernias usually require surgery to overcome discomfort and prevent the consequences of serious complications.
There are two general types of hernia operations — open hernia repair and laparoscopic repair.

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Open Hernia Repair

In this surgical procedure, it might be done with local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an
incision in your groin and pushes the protruding tissue back into your abdomen. The surgeon then sews the weakened area, often
reinforcing it with a synthetic mesh (hernioplasty). The opening is then closed with stitches, staples, or surgical glue.
After the surgery, you’ll be encouraged to move to and fro as early as possible, but it might take several weeks before you’re able to
resume normal activities.

Laparoscopy

In this minimally invasive procedure, which requires general anesthesia, the surgeon operates through several small incisions in the
abdomen. Gas is used to create a space in your abdomen to make the internal organs look apparent to perform the surgery.
A small tube equipped with a tiny camera (laparoscope) is inserted into one incision. Guided by the camera, the surgeon inserts
tiny instruments through other incisions to repair the hernia using synthetic mesh.
People who have laparoscopic repair might have felt less discomfort and scarring after surgery and a quicker return to normal
activities. However, hernia recurrence may be more likely with laparoscopic repair than with open surgery. A surgeon who is very
experienced in the laparoscopic procedure may reduce this risk.
Laparoscopy allows the surgeon to avoid scar tissue from an earlier hernia repair, so it might be a good choice for people whose
hernias recur after open hernia surgery. It might also be a good choice for people with hernias on both sides of the body (bilateral).
With the accomplishment of the open surgery, it may be a few weeks before you can resume your usual activity.

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