A Inguinal hernia occurs when part of the intestines pushes through a weakened spot in the abdomen near the right or left inguinal canal. Men and women can both experience hernias, but it is much more common in the male population.
The hernia can appear as a bulge at the groin or pubic area of the body with severe pain during exertion, a burning sensation, a swollen scrotum all acting as common symptoms.
Let’s investigate the specific causes and risk factors for Inguinal hernias.
Four Types Of Inguinal Hernias
Inguinal hernias are the most common kind, making up nearly 70% of all hernias. There are four main types:
- An Indirect Inguinal hernia is caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall from birth. 2-3% of male children are born with this defect.
- Direct Inguinal hernias occur in adult and older males, and are believed to be caused by weakened abdominal muscles.
- Incarcerated Inguinal hernia is characterized by the tissue getting caught up in the groin, and the hernia cannot be easily pushed back into place.
- Strangulated hernia is a life-threatening type in which blood flow is cut off.
Direct Causes Of Inguinal Hernias
There are numerous situations which trigger an inguinal hernia. They include the following:
- Being born prematurely
- Having a job which involves heavy lifting
- Being pregnant which puts pressure on the abdomen
- Having a chronic cough
- Constipation where consistent straining occurs during bowel movements
- Persistent sneezing
All of these situations contribute to an Inguinal hernia. It can be painful to do simple tasks like bending over, getting up, coughing, just standing up for a period of time, or lifting anything heavy. Even simple movements can cause pain.
If you are experiencing any of these situations, it’s important to exercise caution to avoid a potential hernia.
Potential Risk Factors
If an Inguinal hernia runs in your family you are at a higher risk to get one. According to the NIH, “A family history of hernia was the most determinant factor for developing Inguinal hernia in adult males.” In fact you become 8 times more likely with a family history.
As a male gets older he is more likely to develop an Inguinal hernia. If someone is overweight, it can be a factor, but not conclusively proven. Smoking can also predispose you to an Inguinal hernia due to the persistent coughing.
Strenuous exertion increases your risk. If you have a hernia on one side, you are more likely to develop another on the other side
Inguinal Hernia Treatment in Washington DC
If you suspect you may have an Inguinal hernia, see Dr. Brett Sachse at Surgical Consultants of Northern Virginia for a thorough physical exam.