Types of Inguinal Hernia: Left, Right, Direct, Indirect, Bilateral & Unilateral

With many people, particularly males, developing inguinal hernias throughout life, they’re not considered a rare or complex condition. In fact, they’re relatively simple to treat via surgery provided no dangerous complications have unexpectedly arisen. With the rate of recurrence pretty low too, a hernia is arguably one of the least worrisome lumps to be found within the body.

However, inguinal hernias can’t be blanketed into one sole category. There’s a vast array of types that can occur, with some being more concerning than others. So, if you suspect you have a hernia and seek more intelligence, keep reading to discover the most common forms.

General Types of Inguinal Hernia

Whilst the word ‘hernia’ can relate to mass topics, we’re solely focusing on inguinal hernias in this article. As a general rule of thumb, inguinal hernias can be categorized into the following themes and locations: left, right, direct, indirect, bilateral and unilateral.

Having a professional examine your hernia and provide confirmed diagnosis is crucial to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment, as certain types of inguinal hernia aren’t massively compatible with keyhole procedures.

Direct Inguinal Hernia

Typically occurring in elder men, a direct inguinal hernia isn’t particularly common in women – but it can occur in rarer cases. Defined as a strain-based hernia and thought to slowly develop over a specific time period, direct inguinal hernias emerge as a result of consistent straining and strenuous activity involving recurrent movements. Easily treatable with surgery, specialized mesh types can be used to reinforce and strengthen the weakness once the responsible tissue has been restored back to its original location. Most commonly appearing within the male groin or scrotal areas, a hernia of this nature is unlikely to appear in teenagers or children.

Indirect Inguinal Hernia

A total contrast to the earlier discussed direct option, an indirect inguinal hernia is completely unavoidable. This is because it’s a result of an abdominal wall birth defect, with mothers clearly having no control over this development as her fetus is growing. Indirect inguinal hernias are usually detected during a baby’s first year outside the womb, but can be a little difficult as they’re routinely tricky to see beneath outer fleshy fat cells unless an infant is coughing or producing a bowel movement.

Bilateral Inguinal Hernia

Due to the name, it’s pretty straightforward to guess the definition of a bilateral inguinal hernia. Essentially a pair of hernias occurring on both sides of the groin, you may experience sharp pain in two locations as opposed to one if developing this condition without receiving treatment.

How Does a Unilateral Inguinal Hernia Differ?

You’ve probably assumed as opposed to a bilateral hernia a unilateral inguinal hernia only involves one spot? Well you’d be absolutely right! Occurring in one sole place within the groin or lower abdomen, a unilateral hernia is typically considered lightly easier to treat than other types due to its simple location.

Left Inguinal Hernia

Pretty self explanatory akin to the earlier discussed unilateral and bilateral types, a left inguinal hernia is simply a hernia occurring on the left hand side. Able to occur in both males and females, a left hernia isn’t considered anymore complex or worrying than other kinds.

Are Right Inguinal Hernias More Common?

Regarding this condition, there’s a prevalent stereotype that right inguinal hernias are more commonplace among men than those on the left. And many studies have shown this to be true!

Experts are still debating the root cause of why this phenomenon may occur, but the general consensus concludes that a typically lower right sided testicle within males could be the reason.

Strangulated Inguinal Hernia

Thus far, we’ve discussed the relatively harmless forms of hernia provided they receive appropriate treatment and are monitored regularly. However, it would be naïve to assume all types of this condition render zero danger as this is simply not the truth. Considered an urgent medical issue requiring rapid treatment, a strangulated inguinal hernia occurs when the overall blood supply to the hernia tissue in question has been terminated. For example, if an intestinal hernia becomes strangulated, the entire blood source to the intestines and abdomen will be blocked.

It’s no secret this is incredibly serious, and all doctors will urgently refer you for treatment should you present strangulated symptoms as there’s no chance it will be self healing over time. If left to fester without being tended to, hernias of this type can emit deadly infections and toxins directly into the bloodstream imaginably causing harmful blood disorders – including sepsis.

An obvious first symptom to look out for is a noticeable bulge within the abdomen that’s visible within a resting position. A regular inguinal hernia is typically not seen unless standing up or engaging in straining activities, so if the hernia is incredibly paramount beneath the skin it could have become strangulated. Other imperative signs include feverish chills, excruciating pain from the hernia site occurring without warning, changes in skin tone and texture around the hernia, debilitating constipation and even a rapidly increasing heart rate in particularly severe cases. Due to the sinister nature of this hernia, many diagnostics are completed in an emergency room and surgery should quickly follow.




Article References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/inguinal-hernia#1
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1743919113000873
  3. https://www.mydr.com.au/womens-health/laparoscopy
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/inguinal-hernia
  5. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-hernia-symptoms