Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia occurs when part of the internal tissue which can be fat, muscle or intestine bulge through a weakness in the overlying abdominal wall.

Inguinal hernia symptoms

  • Symptoms include pain in the groin during exercise.
  • The pain is likely to increase when coughing or sneezing.
  • You may see a lump in your groin area, which may disappear when you lay down.
  • Some patients describe a ‘dragging’ sensation on one side of your lower abdomen.

What is an Inguinal hernia?

An Inguinal hernia 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 are inguinal, men are 25 times more likely to suffer an inguinal one and 5% of the population could suffer at some point. Inguinal can either be direct or indirect.


Direct happens when part of the abdomen pushes through a weak point in the abdominal wall and into the inguinal canal.


Indirect ones 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. Eventually, this may cut off blood supply, therefore immediate treatment is required.

Inguinal hernia treatment

If you suspect you may have an inguinal hernia, see a doctor immediately. It will not get better through rest. A doctor or surgeon will need to operate to repair your abdominal wall.

Inguinal hernia surgery

  • 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.
  • Injuries with complications such as strangulation may require emergency surgery.
  • Hernias which occur right in the crease of the groin are most common. They account for 3 out of 4 hernias and are more common in men than women.

What happens if I just leave it?

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


Related articles

  • Types of hernia

    A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body (such as the intestine), pushes through a weakness in the overlying muscle wall, resulting in…

  • Groin pain

    Groin pain can occur suddenly or may develop gradually over time through overuse, or an acute injury which has failed to heal properly. Here we…

  • Groin strain muscles

    A groin strain is a tear of an adductor muscle on the inside of the thigh. It is often referred to as a 'pulled groin…

  • Groin muscles

    Groin inflammation or adductor tendonitis occurs when the adductor muscles in the groin can become inflamed, or degenerate through overuse. Symptoms include pain and stiffness…

  • Groin strain exercises

    Here we explain groin exercises for recovering from and preventing groin strain injuries. Both stretching, strengthening and sports specific exercises are important. Always seek professional…

  • Gilmores Groin

    Gilmore's Groin is sometimes called a Sportsman's Hernia, athletic pubalgia, slap shot gut, and a sports hernia. However, a true Gilmore's Groin has nothing to…

  • Thigh pain

    Here we explain the more common, and less common causes of groin and thigh pain. Click headings below to expand: Pain at the back of…

Scroll to Top