When we are young, we hardly ever think of getting sick – which is only natural. But as we get older, our bodies feel the strain of our years, and we begin to have pain in our knees, joints, stomachs, and other places we didn’t even notice when we were younger! Take the case of an inguinal hernia. Did you know that inguinal hernia is quite common and affects millions worldwide – even babies can have it? It occurs when a portion of the fatty tissue or intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the muscles of the abdomen, which then causes a ‘bulge’ in the groin (or scrotum, in the case of men). Speaking of which, this condition is more common in men than women, but again – anyone can have it, regardless of age. But what causes it, what are its symptoms, and how is it diagnosed? More importantly, what are its options for treatment? Here’s your best guide to inguinal hernia: who is at risk, the treatment, and more.
Who can have it?
This is arguably the first question on people’s minds: who can have it? Well, inguinal hernia occurs in individuals of all ages, but it is more common in men than in women. Furthermore, you are at greater risk of developing an inguinal hernia with age, and it is more common in those with a history of hernias in their family. Other risk factors include obesity, persistent and chronic coughing, lifting heavy objects, pregnancy, and straining too much during bowel movements.
According to an inguinal hernia surgeon in London, the most common sign of an inguinal hernia is a bulge in the scrotum or groin. This lump or bulge may be more noticeable when coughing, standing up, or straining. Other signs and symptoms of an inguinal hernia include pain or discomfort in the groin (especially when coughing or lifting heavy objects), tenderness or swelling in the groin, or a feeling of pressure or heaviness in the groin area.
As the same experts in hernia surgery in London agree, in order to diagnose if you or a loved one has an inguinal hernia, your doctor may perform a physical exam and ask more questions about any of the symptoms you are experiencing and your medical history. In addition, they may ask you to strain or cough to see if the lump becomes more easily noticeable. The specialist may order imaging tests (such as an MRI or ultrasound) to confirm the diagnosis and determine the location and size of the hernia.
The options for treating an inguinal hernia depend on the hernia’s severity and size and your general health. In some situations, the hernia may not require treatment if it is small and does not cause any symptoms or pain. But surgery may be necessary to prevent complications if the hernia is causing discomfort (or its size is increasing). A hernia truss is a device that you can wear to support the hernia and prevent it from protruding. However, hernia trusses are not recommended for long-term use because they are uncomfortable and may not be effective in the long run. Surgery is the most effective treatment. You have two options for surgery, laparoscopic or open, and your surgeon can recommend the best type of surgery for your needs and state of health.