What is an inguinal hernia?
With an inguinal hernia there is a swelling caused by the intestines protruding out of the abdomen into the groin area. An inguinal hernia can usually be pushed back inside. An inguinal hernia has nothing to do with a hernia of the back or neck.
What are symptoms of an inguinal hernia?
- A swelling in the groin
- The swelling can cause a burning or stinging pain
- The swelling can usually be pushed back inside
- The swelling can return by standing up, coughing or squeezing
- The swelling can extend to the scrotum or the labia
- The swelling can gradually grow larger
- The swelling doesn't necessarily need to be visible
- Sometimes there is only pain, this is more common in women
Is an inguinal hernia serious and should I see a doctor?
An inguinal hernia can keep growing larger. When a piece of the intestines gets pinched, an operation is the only effective treatment.
When you suspect you have an inguinal hernia, contact your doctor on a weekday:
- The swelling hurts increasingly
- The swelling grows
- The swelling extends to the scrotum or labia
- The doctor can assess the hernia and assess whether or not you need an operation.
Immediately contact your doctor, even in the weekend:
- When the hernia starts to hurt profusely all of a sudden
- When you're vomiting
- When the swelling can't be pushed back inside
- In this case the inguinal hernia is pinched and needs an operation as soon as possible
What can I do about an inguinal hernia myself?
Sometimes an inguinal hernia can get pinched. In that case the hernia needs to be operated on. When you have an inguinal hernia you can diminish the chances of complications by:
- Stopping smoking, coughing aggravates the complaints
- Eat enough fiber and drink enough water so you don't get constipated, squeezing aggravates the complaints
- Avoid heavy lifting, lifting aggravates the complaints
How does an inguinal hernia affect my body?
With an inguinal hernia a piece of the intestines protrudes outside the abdomen into the groin. In men this usually happens trough the canal in which the testicles descend in childhood, women have a similar canal which is smaller. Because this 'inguinal canal' is much smaller in women than in men, inguinal hernias are a lot more common in men than in women.
To make sure an inguinal hernia doesn't reoccur, it needs an operation. In this operation the intestines are secured in the abdomen and stopped from protruding towards the groin.