Hernias aren’t named after their causes or their symptoms. Instead, they’re named after the part of the body where they occur. Femoral hernias appear in the seam where the leg meets the lower abdomen.
While rarer than other types of hernias, some cases can cause severe problems.
What Are They?
A weak point in the muscle tissue of the groin or inner thigh opens and allows abdominal fat or a piece of the intestine to poke through the muscle and into an empty space in the hip and top of the thigh called the femoral canal.
Femoral hernias are more likely to occur in women, whose wider pelvis leaves more space for the tissue to push into the canal.
How Do They Happen?
Some people are born with a minor, otherwise-harmless birth defect where the tissues around the femoral canal are weaker than they should be.
Whether or not the tissues are innately weaker, strain and excess pressure from birth, obesity, regular lifting, persistent coughs, and consistent difficulty using the restroom can all strain those muscles and push tissue from the abdominal canal into the body.
What Does One Look Like?
A lump in the groin or inner thigh indicates the presence of a hernia as tissue bulges through the hole. Tenderness and pain in the area are common symptoms, and if the lump disappears when the patient lies down, it’s likely to be a hernia rather than a skin condition. Severe cases can also include nausea, stomach pain, and even vomiting thanks to pressure on the digestive tract.
Treatment and Repair
A minimally-invasive surgery is the best treatment for ventral hernias, which should be repaired once discovered before they worsen.
In laparoscopic surgery, also called keyhole surgery, opens the herniated area to the surgeon without a large cut through the skin that takes time to heal and may scar. It’s named after the laparoscope, a small tube with a light and camera, that allows the surgeon to re-open the weakened tissue, move the hernia back into place, and re-seal the muscle wall with a surgical mesh to reinforce it.
Rather than insert small tools, the surgeon opens an incision over the hernia or lower stomach just over an inch long. The surgeon then moves the displaced tissues back to their proper place and reinforces the area, as normal. Open surgery also allows the surgeon to remove damaged tissues, if necessary.
Both procedures have proven effectiveness and have quick recovery times, though open surgeries might require a few days in the hospital, since it does open a larger incision.
If you suspect you have a femoral hernia, talk to your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.