Inguinal hernia: Symptoms, Causes, and treatment options

An inguinal hernia is a noticeable bulge that is usually accompanied by acute, sharp, or aching pain. They develop when the abdominal wall’s inner lining is weakened. A balloon-like form pushes parts of the intestines or abdominal tissue into the weakened or torn area. Inguinal hernias are distinguished from other hernias as they are present in the lower abdomen or groin area.

Over time, the abdominal wall may become vulnerable to tears or separation due to the aging process, chronic straining, coughing, injury, or even untreated congenital conditions. Affected individuals may experience:

  • Pain 
  • Discomfort
  • Sharp, sudden onset of pain when doing certain activities (such as moving heavy objects)
  • A dull, aching, gradually-worsening pain when straining or sitting for prolonged periods

If your pain is severe, continues, and is accompanied by redness, seek out medical care without delay. These symptoms may indicate that the hernia is “stuck” or “strangulated.”


Treatment options 

Both congenital and acquired inguinal hernias do not get better over time. They require treatment. Special exercises or physical therapy can help manage symptoms.

Several surgical techniques can be used to treat inguinal hernias, ‘open’ method involves repairing the hernia through one big incision. While minimally-invasive methods use several small incisions to complete the hernia repair. Minimally-invasive procedures are associated with shorter, easier recoveries and fewer risks of complications. Regardless of techniques, the surgical mesh may be used to cover the defect or hole and provide strength and support to the treatment site. Minimally-invasive techniques include using a laparoscope and special instruments to repair the hernia from the inside through several tiny incisions.