A hernia is when tissues and organs are not retained within the body in their original position. Still, instead, they protrude through the muscular wall from a weak spot, causing a bulge in the skin.
Generally, an abdominal hernia is prevented from occurring with fascia and aponeurosis attached to the muscle that makes up the abdominal wall. However, if the underlying fascia and other tissues fail to function properly, the muscles and tendons will become weak. In such weak spots, a hernia can develop.
According to statistics, 27.2% of men with inguinal hernia are likely to undergo surgery, while 2.6% of women require surgery to fix the problem.
Though the incidence of inguinal hernias among women is lower than men, thousands of women undergo inguinal hernia repair surgery in India every year. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to develop femoral hernias similar to inguinal hernias. As these may require emergency surgery, they must be repaired as soon as possible.
Causes of inguinal hernias in women
Women may be more susceptible to inguinal hernias if they suffer from conditions that result in high abdominal pressure. Obesity, chronic cough, chronic constipation, and pregnancy often lead to inguinal hernias in women. Exercising and lifting heavy objects can also make you more likely to develop an inguinal hernia.
The consequences of an untreated(surgically) inguinal hernia in a woman?
If the inguinal hernias are not treated promptly with surgery, pressure on the surrounding abdominal tissues increases. As a result, the hernias will grow larger over time. Eventually, it may result in incarceration and strangulation.
Incarceration (Obstruction): a portion of the intestine gets stuck in the inguinal canal. Strangulation: the increased size of your hernia may block the blood flow to some parts of the intestine.
Doctors say that women require emergency surgery more often for inguinal hernia than men.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to diagnose inguinal and femoral hernias accurately since they develop in nearby locations. However, emergency surgery is more likely to be needed in women, so women with abdomen hernias are generally advised to undergo surgical repair.
Treatment methods available inguinal hernia
Inguinal hernias don’t go away on their own; moreover, they can result in serious complications like strangulation. Moreover, particularly women with an inguinal hernia might also develop a femoral hernia. So most doctors suggest surgery to fix this hernia problem.
Repairing the hernia with the patient’s own tissue
In this procedure, the surgeon uses the patient’s tissue taken from nearby areas to fix the weak area to stitch back.
As the patient’s tissue is used, this method reduces the risk of infection that may develop when using a synthetic membrane patch (mesh).
Nevertheless, it has some disadvantages, such as using their tissue, which is weak for the surgery, increases the risk of recurrence, and patients may also experience higher postoperative pain levels.
There are only a few instances in which this classic method is used nowadays.
Repairing a hernia with synthetic mesh
This treatment procedure involves repairing the weak abdominal wall with the help of a synthetic mesh patch made up of a material that cannot cause any harm to a human body after being implanted.
The advantages of this hernia repair procedure are low recurrence rate and mild postoperative pain. However, it also comes with disadvantages like a greater risk of infection than a procedure using the patient’s tissue, and rarely the pain after surgery might last a long time.
A synthetic mesh-based surgical repair of a hernia is now the standard treatment for inguinal hernias in adult women, and almost all of them are repaired with this technique.
There are two major surgical procedures where a synthetic mesh is used: open hernia surgery and laparoscopic hernia surgery.
Dr Venugopal Pareek, one of the best laparoscopic surgeons for hernia repair in Hyderabad, says choosing the best surgical procedure for hernia repair depends on general health conditions and past medical history. After evaluating the patients, a hernia specialist will suggest the best course of the treatment plan.