What is an Inguinal Hernia: Diagnosis, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Regarded as the most prevalent form of hernia worldwide, an inguinal hernia affects many individuals – both men and women. Whilst initially seeming a scary condition when originally diagnosed, they’re not typically considered dangerous from the outset.

However, inguinal hernias won’t miraculously disappear on their own and can develop into a potentially deadly condition if left untreated for extended time periods. So to learn more about the definition of an inguinal hernia with corresponding images for increased insight, read right till the end of this article.

What is an Inguinal Hernia?

With roughly 70% of all occurring hernias diagnosed as inguinal, being aware of what an inguinal hernia is can potentially save a lot of time and worry in the long-run if you develop symptoms. Being able to recognize something’s awry and visit your doctor quickly will increase chance of faster treatment.

In basic terms, an inguinal hernia occurs when a portion of tissue pushes through a muscle weakness within the abdominal wall. Typically present within the groin and lower abdomen, a bulge is created and will be more noticeable during particular actions or activities. For example, something as simple as lifting or even coughing can cause your hernia to exhibit feelings of pain and generally feel very uncomfortable. A testicular hernia is a prime example of an inguinal hernia, but they can also arise within females too.

Inguinal Hernia Symptoms

Conveniently, inguinal hernia symptoms are relatively universal across many cases and are relatively easy to spot provided you know what to search for. A characteristic bulge is one of the most obvious signs, typically appearing within the pubic bone location. As mentioned, strenuous bodily behaviors including coughing or wheezing are likely to emphasize the bulge and make it more visibly apparent.

Further symptoms including a dull ache surrounding the bulged patch, a swollen scrotum within men and some sufferers report a disconcerting heavy sensation spreading throughout their entire groin. Whilst less common, inguinal hernias can occur in young children as a consequence of a birth defect. If born with an existing abdominal weakness as a baby, a congenital hernia will likely be apparent at birth. Symptoms will be similar to adults but often less noticeable due to the small stature of infants. However, the mechanisms of crying and even pushing during a bowel movement may render the bulge more apparent.

Inguinal Hernia Causes

Whilst almost all inguinal hernias in babies are caused by defective abdominal weaknesses at birth, the array of inguinal hernia causes probable in adulthood are more widespread. Already existing abdominal weaknesses are likely to contribute, in addition to chronic periods of ongoing straining, sneezing or coughing, excessive exercise that’s routinely strenuous and even pregnancy. There’s also a range of characteristics that can increase one’s risk of developing a hernia, many being utterly out of the individual’s control.

For example, certain people are simply more genetically likely to develop this condition if their family has a strong recurrent inguinal hernia history. Premature birth, increased age and simply being Caucasian have all demonstrated a greater link. However, don’t panic if any such risk factors apply to you as it certainly doesn’t mean you’re automatically destined to suffer a hernia! Plenty of individuals relating to such characteristics don’t develop them at all, but it’s always positive to be aware of possible risks if any adverse symptoms appear to arise within your groin or stomach.

Inguinal Hernia Diagnosis

It’s important to remember that just because you may detect a lump or bulge within your groin, this doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be a hernia. Bodily bumps can occur for all manner of different reasons, meaning you must visit a doctor to receive confirmed diagnosis. Provided you’re seemingly healthy and don’t suffer any other severe medical ailments, you’ll likely undergo a basic physical examination upon consultation. You may be asked to stand and feign coughing to increase the doctor’s chances of spotting any present bulge, but if certain inguinal hernia ICD 10 diagnosis remains unobtainable you may be sent for an MRI or CT scan.

Inguinal Hernia Treatment

If your hernia is pretty small in size and isn’t causing any degree of discomfort, medical professionals will likely suggest regular observation as opposed to jumping straight into operational treatment. As mentioned, newly diagnosed hernias aren’t usually considered immediately dangerous – they only become worrisome if left untreated for extended periods of time and cause subsequent complications like becoming incarcerated.

However, if treatment is required there’s two general forms that follow today’s current CPT code for hernia repair. A procedure referred to as a laparoscopy is generally preferred, as it’s less invasive and typically boasts faster recovery time with minimal scarring. This involves a miniscule camera (laparoscope) being inserted into the abdomen via incision. Using the camera as a visual aid, a surgeon will use equally tiny instruments to solve the hernia by reinforcing the area with synthetic mesh.

The second type of surgery is known as open repair, and generally warrants greater recovery time. Considered a more serious procedure, risk of nerve entrapment is slightly elevated. General anaesthetic is commonly required, and a surgeon will manually return the exposed tissue back into the abdomen via an open incision into the groin. Mesh as a reinforce will also be used, yet multiple weeks of resting may be necessary to fully resume normal daily activities.




Article References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/understanding-hernia-basics
  2. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/hydroceles-and-inguinal-hernia
  3. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hernia.html
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/ct-scan-vs-mri
  5. https://www.medscape.com/answers/149608-121756/what-is-an-incarcerated-hernia