Hernias in the abdominal wall are a common condition among American adults which can cause mild to moderate pain and discomfort. There are a few different types of hernias that can affect the abdominal area. However, the most common by far is the inguinal, or groin, hernia which accounts for 75 percent of all cases.
What is an Inguinal Hernia?
An inguinal hernia occurs when a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall muscles allow a pocket of fat or intestine to bulge through in the groin area. These can either be indirect (the result of a birth defect) or direct (due to a weakness in the abdominal muscles). Direct inguinal hernias are more common and most often occur in adult men.
What Causes an Inguinal Hernia?
Heavy lifting is the most common cause of inguinal hernias. Factors that may also contribute to the development of a hernia include:
- Age (over 40)
- Sex (about 27% of adult men develop hernias, compared to about 3% of adult women)
- History of hernias
- Abdominal injuries or surgery
- Collagen vascular disease
- Congenital defect
What are the Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia?
Despite what many think, hernias often cause little to no discomfort. When there is pain, it is generally mild to moderate and associated with straining or heavy lifting. Generally, the most notable symptom associated with an inguinal hernia is a bulge or lump in the groin area that goes away when lying down. However, there is a more serious potential complication known as a strangulated hernia.
Strangulated hernias occur when the fat or intestine becomes stuck in the abdominal wall and cannot go back in. This is known as incarceration and can impede blood supply to the hernia if not treated. The condition is rare but can result in severe pain and nausea and can even be life-threatening. Immediate treatment of strangulated hernias is vital.
How are Inguinal Hernias Treated?
Many hernias will require surgical repair. In fact, hernia repair is one of the most commonly performed general surgery procedures performed in the U.S. each year. Depending on the patient, the type and severity of the hernia, and the surgeon's preference, these repairs may be completed using one of two methods:
- Open Surgery - The surgeon accesses the hernia through an incision in the groin. The hernia is pushed back into place and the abdominal wall is reinforced with stitches and mesh. This procedure may be performed under local or general anesthesia.
- Minimally Invasive Repair - The surgeon uses smaller incisions, a laparoscope (camera), and special instruments to access and repair the hernia.
Hernia Repair in Zachary
The surgeons at Lane Surgery Group in Zachary perform all manner of general surgery procedures, including hernia repair. If you are suffering from a bothersome hernia, do not allow the condition to go untreated. Ask your physician about your surgical treatment options.