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An inguinal hernia is a bulge that forms in the groin area that can make life very difficult. Aside from the correlation of the groin with reproductive activities, it can also make walking, sitting and a various amount of other mundane tasks extremely painful to do. On the other hand, these can be developed without providing a single bit of pain or discomfort depending on where and how the hernia developed. These hernias form when tissue passes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscle wall. There are many ways that they can form, and the treatment is a common procedure for many doctors.
Hernias of all kinds are easily developed and are common among men who push themselves too hard physically or are born with birth defects within the abdomen. Not knowing ones limitations for physical labor could very well attribute to developing an inguinal hernia. Not allowing enough time to heal after injury can also be a contributing factor.
Causes of an Inguinal Hernia
There are many situations that can cause the formation of an inguinal hernia. Like most other hernias, these causes can range from mere birth defects to the inclusion of external forces. Men are more likely to form these afflictions as one-in-four can be affected. Women have a significantly less likelihood of developing an inguinal hernia at an estimated three percent rate of risk. Causes for the development of this hernia include:
1. Weakness Within the Abdominal Wall
This weakness could be developed prior to birth as the muscle wall may not close as it should during development. This could create a predisposition for someone to easily develop an inguinal hernia from some of the most regular of tasks. This weakness could also be the product of an injury or previous surgery that didn’t heal correctly. It is also common in the elderly if they push themselves too hard.
2. Stress from Bowel Movements or Urination
Many people develop an inguinal hernia from nothing more than merely visiting the bathroom. Too much strain while sitting on the toilet can push tissue through the walls of your abdomen in turn developing the hernia.
Being active can also create a herniation within your abdomen. This is especially true for those who have a weakened muscle wall to begin with. Excessive physical strain or activity can lead to a number of debilitating circumstances and easily cause an inguinal hernia. A great deal of activities can be included when determining the source of the hernia such as:
- Extensive weight gain
Preventing one of these hernias from forming in the first place can be a common enough practice without hindering your lifestyle. In fact, most methods to prevent hernias can be viewed as nothing more than being responsible in your decisions while living a healthy lifestyle. Some of these methods include:
- Regular exercise
- Proper weight management
- Lifting heavy objects with common sense – ie. the buddy system
- Not pushing too hard while you are using the toilet
- Not pushing yourself too hard when performing physical activities that require your abdominal muscles.
Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia
The symptoms of an inguinal hernia are fairly easy to spot. The most obvious of these symptoms is the bulge that develops within your abdomen. For men, this bulge usually happens near the scrotum area and women may experience this where the ligament connects to the uterus to hold it in place. Sometimes, simply laying down can alleviate these symptoms. These can include:
1. The Bulge
A large bulge or rounded protrusion in your groin area from your abdomen is the most common symptom of this type of hernia. This is the tissue mass making its way through your abdominal wall. Aside from the grotesque look, the inguinal hernia will also be accompanied by a few other tell-tale signs depending on your personal experience. These bulges can vary in size from a small protrusion the size of a quarter to several inches long stretching across your abdominal cavity.
Although hernias are usually attributed to delivering pain, some can form without. This variable depends greatly on the location in question and what tissue is being pushed though the hernia. This could be a general pain or may feel like the area is burning.
Being nauseated and vomiting are signs that your intestines may be trapped within the inguinal hernia. This can be extremely dangerous as there is a lack of protection and proper digestion if this is the case, and you should contact your doctor immediately.
Treatment of Inguinal Hernias
Unfortunately, there is only one treatment available for hernias. An operation. Although not all hernias require operation, any that progressively get worse or cause pain of any kind should be taken seriously. Some hernias that are small or non-obtrusive to your daily life can go without treatment. You could possibly live several years without the hernia developing into anything more than it already is. Because of the high risk of post herniorrhaphy pain syndrome, elective surgery is no longer recommended by some physicians if the symptoms are manageable or minimalistic. However, the procedure is still common enough to encourage a positive outcome.
While they may provide an unsightly look to your physique, they are not life threatening. However, those that discover pain or discomfort should seek medical advice before performing any strenuous activity. The small lump could easily develop into a more serious problem if it is aggravated. Many doctors are more inclined to perform this surgery as strangulation of the intestinal tract caused by the developing hernia can cause a great deal more problems later on.
An inguinal hernia is common enough to where most doctors have quite a bit of experience when dealing with this problem. In most cases, these are not life threatening but could complicate your lifestyle if not examined by a professional. Instances of your intestinal tract being caught within the hernia could be great cause for alarm. If you discover that you are developing a lump of your own, contact your physician and discover your options. One such option could allow you to wait until a better time to have surgery if you need it at all depending on the extent of the damage.