Inguinal Hernia FAQs

inguinal hernia New York, NY

An inguinal hernia often occurs when tissue, like part of the intestine, bulges through a weak region in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge may be painful especially during movement. An inguinal hernia may not be dangerous. But it does not improve on its own and can even lead to life-threatening complications. Your doctor may recommend surgery to fix an inguinal hernia.

Inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias are usually noticeable by their appearance. The hernias cause bulges along the groin or pubic area. They often appear to increase in size when a person stands or coughs. This type of hernia can be painful or even sensitive to the touch. Other symptoms include pain and discomfort when coughing, lifting or bending over, pressure or weakness in the groin and sharp pain. Here are some common questions people ask about inguinal hernias.

Diagnosis

A doctor can often diagnose an inguinal hernia during a physical exam. The doctor will check the groin area for a bulge. Coughing and standing can make a hernia more prominent. The doctor will most likely ask a patient to cough while standing. If the diagnosis is not readily apparent, the doctor may decide to order an imaging test, like a CT scan, MRI or an abdominal ultrasound.

Treatment

If the hernia is small and not bothering the patient, the doctor may suggest watchful waiting. In some cases, wearing a supportive truss can help relieve symptoms. But a person should check with the doctor first. It is vital for the truss to fit properly. In children, the doctor might apply manual pressure to reduce the bulge before surgery is considered. Painful or enlarging hernias often require surgery, which can help to relieve discomfort and prevent serious problems.

Options include either an open hernia repair or a laparoscopic repair. In open hernia repair, an incision is made in the groin. The surgeon will try to push the protruding tissue back into the abdomen and the weakened area will then be sewn. It is usually reinforced with synthetic mesh. The opening will then be closed with surgical glue, staples or stitches. This procedure might be performed with local anesthesia and sedation or general anesthesia.

In laparoscopic repair, the surgeon operates through a couple of small incisions in the abdomen. Gas helps to inflate the abdomen in order to make it easier to see the internal organs. A small tube with a tiny camera will then be inserted into one incision. The surgeon will then insert small instruments through the other incisions to repair the hernia. The camera will help the surgeon to see inside the body to perform the surgery. This procedure requires general anesthesia.

Takeaway

A person may opt not to seek treatment for a hernia if it is small or does not cause any symptoms. In such cases, most times doctors recommend watchful waiting. But in some situations, treatment may be necessary. Seeking treatment early can help prevent further discomfort and other problems. But there is always a slight risk of complications and recurrence. If you want to find out more about inguinal hernias, talk to your doctor today.

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