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Inguinal hernia

Inguinal herniaA hernia occurs when part of the internal tissue which can be fat, muscle or intestine bulge through a weakness in the overlying abdominal wall causing pain, discomfort and other complications.

Symptoms

Symptoms include pain in the groin during exercise. The pain is likely to increase when coughing or sneezing. A bulge in the groin area which often disappears when you lay down.

If the hernia is not treated further contents of the abdomen such as the intestines can protrude into the hernia causing it to grow. The intestines can become pinched, causing blockages and ischema which is a lack of blood to the area which can eventually cause fatal consequences.

Explained

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This is a protrusion of the contents of the abdomen (belly) through the inguinal canal. It usually appears as a swelling in the groin area. Eighty percent of all hernias are inguinal, men are 25 times more likely to suffer an inguinal hernia and 5% of the population will suffer an inguinal hernia.

Inguinal hernias can either be direct or indirect. Direct hernias happen when part of the abdomen herniates through a weak point in the abdominal wall and into the inguinal canal. Indirect hernias occur when part of the abdomen bulges through the deep inguinal ring (this is less common and occurs due to a birth defect.

The herniating tissues are at risk of complications such as strangulation (pinching) which can cause intestinal blockages and may cut off the blood supply which requires immediate treatment.

Treatment

You should see a Doctor immediately if you suspect a hernia. It will not get better through rest. A doctor or surgeon will need to operate. If the abdominal wall is ruptured it will not get better by resting and surgery to repair it will be needed. Operations should be performed at the earliest convenience. Hernias with complications such as strangulation may require emergency surgery.

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