Inguinal hernia -Diagnosis and treatment
Do you experience groin pain every time you lift something or while coughing? You may have a hernia near your groin that requires medical attention. A hernia usually refers to an unusual protrusion of an organ in the body. In an inguinal hernia, the bulge or hernia is near the groin. This is one of the most common types of hernias.
Inguinal hernias are a common condition among the elderly, causing mild to moderate pain and discomfort. Various types of hernias can affect the abdominal area. However, the most common are inguinal hernias, which occur in 75% of all cases.
Therefore, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately. An inguinal hernia can be diagnosed with a simple physical examination by a doctor. Treatment for inguinal hernias depends on how severe the problem is. The most effective treatment is inguinal hernia surgery, which pushes the bulge into place and strengthens the abdominal muscles. Doctors sometimes prefer to repair inguinal hernias with a net that supports the abdominal wall and prevents future protrusions.
This article gives information about inguinal hernia -Diagnosis and treatment provided by Dr Venu Gopal Pareek.
What is an inguinal hernia?
First, let’s understand what an inguinal hernia is. The inguinal canal is the part of the abdominal wall where blood vessels and nerves are located. In men, the inguinal tract holds a spermatic cord, and in women, some ligaments that support the uterus.
This part of the stomach has weaker walls. Sometimes the contents of the stomach – the intestines – protrude and enter this groin canal. This causes an inguinal hernia.
The uterus’s broad ligament supports the groin canal in women and therefore protects the root canal from any disturbance. This could be the reason for the lower incidence of inguinal hernias in women, the researchers found.
Types of inguinal hernias
Depending on the cause of the swelling, there are two types of inguinal hernias:
- Direct inguinal hernia: Direct hernia is usually caused when the muscle wall of the groin area becomes weak. This allows a portion of the intestine to pass through the abdominal wall. This weakening can develop over time due to daily activities and ageing. In some cases, lifting something heavy inappropriately can put extra stress on these muscles, weakening them and causing them to tear.
- Indirect hernia: This is caused by a congenital disability and is the most common type of hernia. It’s also more common in men than women. In male fetuses, the entrance to the inguinal canal is usually closed after birth. However, in some babies, the entrance does not close after birth, and the abdominal wall remains weak. At any time during the child’s growth, fat or parts of the intestines can slide down the duct and cause an inguinal hernia. Premature babies are at higher risk of indirect hernias. While the defects occur at birth, they can develop at a later date.
If the hernia is stuck in the groin and can’t be replaced, it can lead to incarceration. This means that the intestine will be choked and will cut off the blood supply to that part. This is a severe condition that requires medical attention.
What causes an inguinal hernia?
Heavy lifting is the number one cause of a hernia. Factors that can also contribute to inguinal hernia development include:
- Age (over 40)
- Gender (about 27% of older men develop inguinal hernia compared to about 3% of older women)
- History of hernias
- Abdominal injury or surgery
- Collagen vascular disease
- Congenital disabilities
What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?
Despite what many people think, hernias often cause almost no discomfort. If pain occurs, it is usually mild to moderate and involves straining or heavy lifting. Generally, the most striking symptom associated with inguinal hernias is a bulge or lump in the groin area that disappears when lying down. However, there is one more potential severe complication known as a choking hernia.
A strangulated hernia occurs when fat or intestines get stuck in the abdominal wall and cannot be returned. This is called occlusion, and if left untreated, it can affect the blood supply to the hernia. This condition is rare but can cause severe pain, nausea, and even life-threatening. Immediate treatment for a tight hernia is essential.
Like all hernias, inguinal hernias can close or become trapped, often causing significant pain, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or an inability to pass gas from the rectum. This is an emergency. In this case, you must call your doctor or go to the emergency room.
Inguinal hernia diagnosis
Since hernia is easy to spot, the doctor usually only needs to do a physical exam. During this examination, the patient may be asked to stand up and cough to enlarge the hernia. In rare cases, when a hernia cannot be detected by physical examination, some times may need imaging tests.
Your doctor can diagnose a hernia after hearing your history and doing a thorough physical exam. X-rays are sometimes needed to confirm an inguinal hernia.
Inguinal hernia treatment
Surgical inguinal hernia repair is the best treatment available. Dr Venu Gopal Pareek performs inguinal hernia surgery laparoscopically or using traditional open surgery methods.
Open inguinal hernia repair.
Often referred to as the “traditional method,” this repair is done by making an incision at the hernia site. A surgical mesh or patch is usually placed on the hernia site’s muscle to provide permanent strength to the area and prevent the hernia from recurring. As with any surgery, complications such as bleeding, infection, intestinal trauma, blood clots, or heart or lung problems can occur. Before surgery, your surgeon will recommend tests to see if surgery is safe for you.
After surgery, pain, discomfort and swelling in the groin areas may be expected. The pain is controlled by painkillers that will be prescribed when you leave the hospital. The patient may need to freeze the area for about four days after surgery to relieve swelling and bruising. After open recovery from an inguinal hernia, the patient is usually discharged from the hospital the same day as the surgery.
Laparoscopic restoration of inguinal hernia
Dr Venu Gopal Pareek is a highly qualified and experienced laparoscopic surgeon for inguinal hernias. This procedure involves making a small incision (about 1 inch long) into a laparoscope (small telescope attached to a video camera). A mesh or patch is also placed through one of these incisions to attach the hernia. The mesh is fixed with the help of tiny tacks. In a patient with two (bilateral) inguinal hernias, Dr Venu Gopal Pareek can simultaneously repair. Patients undergoing this procedure are given general anaesthesia.
After surgery, pain, discomfort and swelling in the groin are expected. Pain is controlled by pain medication, and you may need to ice the area for about four days after surgery to relieve swelling and bruising. After laparoscopic recovery from an inguinal hernia, the patient can usually leave the hospital the same day.
The likelihood of developing an inguinal hernia increases with age. Anything that raises stomach pressure only increases the risk. Excessive coughing, weight lifting, obesity, and even pregnancy can increase your chances of developing a hernia.
If you are diagnosed with an inguinal hernia, you may need surgery. To speak with Dr Venu Gopal Pareek, call us today at 091777 77715. Dr Venu Gopal Pareek regularly performs open hernia repairs for women and men. He will discuss the best treatment for your hernia with you.