An inguinal hernia is a defect in the abdominal wall muscles over the groin which allows the protrusion of the covering or contents of the abdominal cavity.
In adults, this is caused by weakening of the muscles that may be aggravated by conditions such as constipation, straining to pass urine or a chronic cough.
It is often first noticed as a painless lump over the abdomen that is more evident in an upright position and disappears on lying down. It is usually not painful. However, when the pain is severe, this may indicate a serious complication where the intestines that protrude through the defect become deprived of blood supply. Equally ominous is distension of the abdomen accompanied by vomiting, as this mean the intestines that protrude through the defect have become obstructed.
It is advisable to seek medical attention whenever an inguinal hernia is suspected or found. Though the individual may not experience much discomfort, surgery is usually advisable to prevent serious complications from happening.
Surgery is the recommended treatment for inguinal hernias. Surgery can be performed via:
- Open hernia repair
• through a 5-8 cm long incision over the hernia
- Minimally invasive / Laparoscopic surgery
• Keyhole method through 3 small incisions
Whilst not completely preventable, constipation, straining when passing urine, carrying heavy weights or a chronic cough may aggravate the condition.