What Is Inguinal Hernia? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

by Besh T

An inguinal hernia takes place when soft tissue, often a part of the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity or intestine, sticks out through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The protrusion or bulge that results causes severe pain to sufferers, especially while bending over, lifting a heavy object or even while coughing.

However, the inguinal hernia is quite innocuous by itself. The only problem is that it doesn’t improve or go away on its own and may lead to some detrimental complications. Therefore, a doctor will most likely recommend fixing a hernia that’s increasing in size and becoming more painful, via a common surgical procedure.


Symptoms Of Inguinal Hernia

inguinal hernia with intestinesInguinal hernias are most obvious from their appearance because they typically cause a bulge along the groin or pubic areas. They also increase in size and cause more pain while coughing or standing up. Hernias like these are often painful and sensitive to touch. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain while working out, bending over, lifting heavy objects and coughing
  • Burning sensation
  • A sharp pain
  • Swelling of the scrotum in men
  • Heavy sensation in the groin area



Causes Of Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias occur when the fatty tissue of a region of the bowel, such as that of your intestine, protrudes at the top of your inner thigh through your groin. It will push through a weak area in the abdominal wall into a region called the inguinal canal.

Men are more likely to have inguinal hernias than women. The most common cause is aging but inguinal hernias can occur at any period of a person’s life. Aging is a factor because as you get older, your abdominal muscles become weaker and you become more prone to such hernias. You can also read an article Hip Flexor Strain Injury.

Inguinal hernias can take place without any risk factors, such as when you put excessive pressure on your abdomen. Examples include, when you’re straining if you have constipation or carrying heavy loads without proper form or caution. Some inguinal hernias may also be linked to persistent heavy coughs.

inguinal hernia anatomy


Treatment and prevention

Although congenital defects that make people prone to inguinal hernias are not preventable, certain lifestyle choices may reduce strain on the abdominal muscles and tissues. The following will not only prevent you from having an inguinal hernia, but will also help you improve symptoms until your surgery, if you already have one.


Maintain a healthy weight

Talking to your doctor may be your best bet in this matter. Discuss a diet and workout plan that works best for you.


Have more fiber

High fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes help prevent constipation and straining in the toilet that typically cause inguinal hernias among individuals.


Lift heavy with caution

If you are lifting heavy, make sure you always bend from your knees and never from your waist as the latter may cause a sudden inguinal hernia.


Quit smoking

Smoking usually causes chronic cough that may lead to or worsen symptoms of inguinal hernia.


Use a truss before surgery

Your doctor may recommend using a hernia truss for a short period before surgery so that you feel more comfortable until your hernia is repaired. A great example is the Body Assist Inguinal Hernia Belt 590 that provides excellent support and pain relief until the day of your surgery.



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