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What Is an Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia is a type of hernia in which the contents of the abdominal cavity try to push out through a weak spot located in the groin or scrotum region. Similarly, an umbilical hernia is one in which the tissue begins to bulge out of the muscular wall in the region around the navel; hence the name umbilical hernia.

Very often, an inguinal hernia is present from birth because of an opening in the muscle wall that has not closed properly. The hernia symptoms and pain may manifest later in life. Common causes of inguinal hernia include chronic constipation, obesity, lifting heavy weights, etc. In short any activity that puts sudden pressure on the abdominal cavity can lead to inguinal hernia. In women, pregnancy is often a cause. A small tear can in time become a big one that is painful and inflamed. Sometimes, the hernia bulge can appear without the accompanying pain. Lying down can give temporary relief from the discomfort.

An inguinal hernia or any hernia for that matter should be treated as serious if nausea and vomiting occur as symptoms, this is because these symptoms usually indicate that the intestine is trapped and restrained in the hole caused by the hernia. A tightly trapped portion of the intestine can have blood circulation cut off and there is real danger of gangrene setting in.

Surgery is the only permanent treatment for hernia; but if the opening is small and it does not pain then one can go through a lifetime without surgery provided the condition does not exacerbate. Doctors today are not really in favor of elective surgery because the chances of a hernia becoming incarcerated are low, at the same time patients report chronic pain after the hernia surgery.

The treatment plan depends upon whether the inguinal hernia is reducible or irreducible. The former can be pushed into the abdominal cavity with manual pressure while the latter requires surgery. Irreducible hernias are further classed as obstructed, incarcerated, and strangulated.
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It is possible that the hernia may recur even after surgery. In order to avoid occurrence or recurrence you should stay at a healthy weight, exercise to keep the abdominal wall strong, and wear proper support when lifting weights are recommendations to prevent hernia from occurring and also to prevent post-surgery recurrence.

Inguinal hernia repair can be carried out as an open surgery or laparoscopically depending upon the extent of the case and your physical state. It can be performed under general or local anesthesia. A laparoscopic operation has the advantage of a shorter healing period and less scarring.

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