A hernia is a bulge formed when the internal organs of your abdominal cavity are pushed through a weakened spot in your abdominal wall. Hernias most commonly occur between the area of your rib cage and the groin.
An inguinal hernia is a bulge that forms when a part of your small intestine or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the groin (area between the upper thigh and lower abdomen) or scrotum (muscular sac containing male testes). Inguinal hernias occur more commonly in men than women. There are two types of inguinal hernia:
Most inguinal hernias are caused when the walls of the abdominal muscles fail to close before birth. It commonly occurs in males because of the way the reproductive system develops. Before birth, the testicles are formed within the abdomen and slowly descend into the scrotum through the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is closed after birth, preventing the testicles from moving back into the abdomen, but leaving enough space for the spermatic cord to pass through. Weakness in this region can lead to the formation of a hernia. The risk of indirect inguinal hernia is higher in premature infants as the baby does not get enough time in the womb for the closing of the inguinal canal.
The abdominal wall may become weaker in later life due to tissue degeneration and result in an inguinal hernia. Pressure on the weak spot due to coughing, straining, or lifting heavy objects can cause a bulge in the groin. Being overweight or undergoing a prior surgery is also a risk factor for inguinal hernia.
Inguinal hernias generally do not cause any symptoms, but may be revealed when your doctor conducts a routine medical exam. The bulge formed is more prominent when you stand, cough or strain, and may disappear while lying down as it slips back into the abdomen. Other symptoms include:
- Pain or discomfort in the groin
- Heavy sensation in the groin
- Burning or aching bulge
- Pain and swelling around the testicles in men
The hernia can be easily pushed into the abdomen while lying down. Inability to push the hernia back into the abdomen may cause the hernia to become incarcerated (trapped). An incarcerated hernia may strangulate thereby disconnecting blood supply to the trapped part of your intestine. This is a dangerous situation and may require emergency medical help. Symptoms of a strangulated inguinal hernia include:
- Increased heart rate
- Sudden quick intensifying pain
- Reddish or bluish discoloration of the bulge
- Nausea and vomiting
In children, inguinal hernia is visible only when the child stands for a long time, while coughing, crying or straining during bowel movements.
Screening & Diagnosis
A physical examination is generally required for the diagnosis of an inguinal hernia. Your doctor will enquire about your symptoms and examine the bulge in your groin. A cough test may be ordered to check for protrusion when pressure is applied, which can confirm presence of direct or indirect inguinal hernia.
Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scan may be ordered to determine if the intestine or other internal organs has protruded into the bulge.
The aim of this information sheet is to provide an answer the most frequently asked question about Anal Hernia Surgery.
Anal Hernia Surgery is aimed to re-establish the integrity of the abdominal wall at the inguinal/groin level where the hernia developed.
The principle of surgical procedure we offer is to repair the defect using a tension-free technique with the addition of light mesh which is going to remain in the area re-enforcing the abdominal wall. Tension free surgery for preparing inguinal hernia means that there is no stitching in any form which is joining fascial, tendons or muscular structure that are not by the normal anatomy linked together. Such a procedure is achieved through a very small incision usually 5 cm, which allows access to the inguinal area where the hernia has developed. Such repair is completed with the insertion of a very light mesh which is going to remain in the inguinal region to promote the development of fibrous tissue which make the areas stronger and therefore reduces the possibility of future hernias recurrences. Such a technique has been widely demonstrated to have a very low recurrence rate, well below 5% and therefore assuring optimal results on the long-term.