Why Does An Inguinal Hernia Occur?
An inguinal hernia will occur through weakening of abdominal muscles around the inguinal canal allowing the pressure of internal organs to create a swelling or lump in the groin. The inguinal canal is a passageway between the abdomen and the genitals that is much larger in men than women. As a result this condition is far more common in males.
Symptoms Of Inguinal Hernia
You will see or feel a lump or swelling under the skin that may be uncomfortable, painful and sensitive to the touch. The swelling will often disappear completely when you lie down, as the ‘contents’ of the hernia sac slip back through the hole into the abdomen. Sometimes there is hardly any swelling to see, but you may be conscious of a strange feeling in the groin when you are standing or walking for any period of time.
- Pain from coughing, during physical activity
- Burning sensations
- Feelings of heaviness or full sensation in the groin
- Swelling of the scrotum (men)
How Do I Know If I Have An Inguinal Hernia?
Generally hernias are painless but occasionally patients may feel slight discomfort when bending, lifting or standing for long periods of time. There is a very high chance you have an inguinal hernia if there is a bulge or swelling under the skin at the groin that disappears when the patient lies down and the pressure is taken away from the weak area of the abdomen. It is important to see your GP to confirm the diagnosis even if the hernia causes no pain. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist hernia surgeon.
Assessment For Inguinal Hernia
It is preferable to be examined standing rather than lying. If there is an obvious swelling that disappears when you lie down, it is very likely to be an inguinal hernia and no further or more specialists tests should be required.
More specialist tests or x-rays are available but are not usually needed. Situations where they might be used are as below.
- There is pain or discomfort in the groin with no obvious swelling
- The swelling is not reducible and does not go back when you lie down
Inguinal Hernia Surgery Timeline
At London Hernia we offer rapid access/turnaround from consultation to surgery. With a wealth of talented surgeons and available theatre slots we can work around your schedule and ensure you’re back to health as soon as possible. For the next available surgery slot we recommend contacting our specialist team.
Inguinal Hernia Treatment Options
Surgery is the recommended option and the repair method will vary based on each individual case. At London Hernia we offer the latest techniques that ensure you a quick recovery and the highest quality of repair. Repair methods that are available are listed below.
Open mesh or tension free mesh is an advanced technique was pioneered by London Hernia Consultants and has been perfected over thousands of successful operations. It involves positioning a piece of fine mesh at the opening and allowing the body to heal naturally around it for a successful and enduring repair carried out in minutes under local anaesthetic.
Many hernias do not hurt so the temptation is to leave them and get on with life. But failing to get medical advice can be damaging and is not recommended. If left the hernia will grow and discomfort and pain, even if negligible to start with, will intensify.
Using a Truss Or Fitted Belt
Using a truss or fitted belt tends to be old fashioned, awkward and uncomfortable. They also rarely fit well enough to stop the hernia popping out. Trusses are OK if you really are too unwell or too scared to have an operation – but they are a poor solution to the problem.
At London Hernia our surgical techniques are extremely effective and are able to be carried out under local anaesthetic. This ensures you don’t have to be asleep –‘knocked out’ – under a general anaesthetic. Read more about our hernia repair methods.
An inguino-scrotal hernia is an advanced form of an inguinal hernia where the bowel has passed completlely through the inguinal canal and has entered the scrotum. An inguino-scrotal hernia is often more uncomfortable than an inguinal hernia, and are more difficult to push back in. An inguino-scrotal hernia is often unsightly and the likelihood of strangulation of bowel is higher than with inguinal hernias.
Inguino-scrotal Hernia Treatment
A truss is unlikely to be of help at this stage and the recommendation from our specialist hernia surgeon Mr Martin Kurzer is that an inguino-scrotal hernia should be repaired surgically.