Inguinal Hernia

The groin is also known as the “inguinal” region. This is the fold between your thigh and your pubic bone. Hernias in the inguinal canal are diagnosed as groin bulges or masses. They can get larger or smaller as you move, strain, cough, or bend. The pain can be anything from a dull ache that is immediately over the bulge, burning along the skin at the groin, tenderness at the pubic bone or in the testicle.

In the groin there are several layers of very strong muscles that are attached to the pubic bone. They form a tube known as the inguinal canal that allows blood vessels and tissues to pass from the inside of the abdominal cavity to the sexual organs. In the inguinal canal of a male all of the structures.

Because this hole between the muscle layers is meant to be there many people have these hernias since birth. Over time the tissue gets weaker so the hole can get larger. Excessive straining such as constant heavy labor can be a contributing factor. So can smoking, steroids, and malnutrition, which can all weaken the connective tissue around the muscles. With time the hole can be large enough to allow the lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum, to come through the canal. Other structures such as the bowel or bladder can also become pulled into the hernia.

Hernias are only dangerous if they become incarcerated or strangulated. Incarcerated means that the hernia contents cannot move back and forth in the canal. The tissue is essentially stuck and with inflammation or time the blood supply can get cut off. When this happens the hernia is now strangulated. In both cases the hernia requires urgent surgery.

Not all hernias require surgery. If you don’t have any pain or symptoms they can simply be watched. Some people have mild symptoms they treat with a special hernia that keeps the bulge in place. This can be purchased over the counter at medical supply stores or amazon. The best course of action is to see your doctor if you think you have a hernia to get diagnosed. That way you can have an informed discussion about your treatment options.