Inguinal hernia is a condition that appears after a soft tissue, usually portion of the membrane that covers the abdominal cavity or an intestinal part, extends through a weak point in the abdominal muscle. The bulge that is created can be very painful when the person affected coughs, bends or lifts a heavy object.

Inguinal hernia is not very dangerous, but it doesn’t disappear or recovers on it own, so it can result in deadly complications. Because of this fact, it is recommendable to undergo a surgery, particularly if the inguinal hernia is very painful of large, during which the doctor will repair it.



Sometimes there won’t be any obvious symptoms. Often people are unaware they have it, until they visit the doctor for a routine medical examination. However, the created bulge can be also noticed or felt. It is especially obvious if the person is standing and coughing or straining.


The symptoms are:


  • Bulge in the pubic bone area
  • Burning, aching or crowning sensation at the bulge
  • Heavy or draining sensation in the groin
  • Pain and discomfort in the groin especially when bending, coughing or lighting


If the person affected with inguinal hernia cannot push the bulge in, it is a case of incarcerated hernia. That means that the omentum or a loop is trapped in the abdominal area. This condition can lead to strangulated hernia that cuts off the blood supply to the intestines. In this case a surgery is needed as strangulated hernia is a life-threatening condition. The symptoms are: sickness, vomiting, fever, fast hearth rate, sudden pain that quickly becomes stronger and a bulge that becomes red, purple or dark.

Inguinal hernia can affect babies and children also. This usually happens because of the weakness in the abdominal wall that is present at birth. The hernia is more visible when the baby is crying, coughing or straining or an older child is standing for a long period of time.



Sometime, there is no apparent reason for inguinal hernia. However it can occur due to:


  • High abdomen pressure
  • Previous weak part in the abdomen
  • Combination of the two aforementioned causes
  • Lifting heavy items
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Ascites
  • Straining (when doing a bowel movement or urinating)
  • Prolonged sneezing
  • Lasting coughing


Some inguinal hernias have no apparent cause. Others occur as a result of:


  • Increased pressure within the abdomen
  • A pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall
  • A combination of increased pressure within the abdomen and a pre-existing weak spot in the abdominal wall
  • Straining during bowel movements or urination
  • Heavy lifting
  • Fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing


Risk factors

A person has greater risk for having inguinal hernia when:


  • he is a male (inguinal hernia develops in men and boys more likely)
  • a parent or sibling has the condition
  • he/she has another medical condition, such as cystic fibrosis, lung damage and a chronic cough (from smoking)
  • having a chronic constipation
  • being overweight
  • being pregnant
  • prematurely born
  • works a job that includes a lot of lifting and standing for a long period
  • already had an inguinal hernia



The complications that can happen are:


  • incarcerated hernia
  • strangulation
  • pressure on surrounding tissues



Although the congenital defect that makes a person susceptible to an inguinal hernia cannot be prevented, there are several things can be done in order to diminish straining the abdomen i.e. the abdominal muscles and tissues


  • staying healthy and fit (good exercise and diet plan)
  • eat more foods high in fiber
  • quit smoking
  • avoid lifting heavy items or do it carefully
  • don’t rely only on a hernia truss as wearing such supportive garment is only a temporary solution (before surgery for example) that cannot repair the problem, but only make the person affected feel more comfortable