An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, typically part of the intestine, pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. For men, this type of hernia usually occurs in the inguinal canal.
Dr. Jacob repairs inguinal hernias at his 5th Avenue practice.
What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?
- A bulge in the area on either side of your pubic bone, which becomes more obvious when you stand upright and when you cough or strain
- A burning or aching sensation at the bulge
- Pain or discomfort in your groin, especially when bending over, coughing, or lifting
- A heavy sensation in your groin
- Weakness or pressure in your groin
- Occasionally, pain and swelling around the testicles when the protruding intestine descends into the scrotum
Inguinal hernias can develop in newborns and children due to weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at birth. These may be visible when the infant is crying, coughing, or staining during a bowel movement.
What causes an inguinal hernia?
There isn’t always an obvious cause when these hernias occur. But these are typical causes:
- Strenuous activity
- Chronic coughing or sneezing
- Staining during bowel movements or urination
- Increased pressure within the abdomen
- A pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall
Sometimes a person has a propensity to develop an inguinal hernia because his or her abdominal lining didn’t close properly at birth. Other inguinal hernias develop later in life when muscles weaken or deteriorate due to aging, strenuous physical activity, or coughing that accompanies smoking.
They can also occur in the abdominal wall later in life, especially after an injury or abdominal surgery.
In men, the weak spot typically occurs in the inguinal canal, where the spermatic cord enters the scrotum. In women, the inguinal canal carries a ligament that helps hold the uterus in place, and hernias sometimes occur where connective tissue from the uterus attaches to tissue surrounding the pubic bone.