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Inguinal Hernia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia happens when organs or abdominal tissue push through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made of fat and muscle. It holds the intestines in place. The hernia may contain fluid, tissue from the abdomen, or part of an organ (such as an intestine).

Inguinal Hernia

What causes an inguinal hernia?

The cause of your hernia may not be known. You may have been born with a weak spot or opening in the abdominal wall. The area may have become weak from surgery or an injury. You may get a hernia after you lift something heavy or strain during a bowel movement. Your risk for a hernia may be increased if you smoke or you are overweight. Inguinal hernias are more common in males. A family history of hernias increases your risk for an inguinal hernia.

What are the signs and symptoms of an inguinal hernia?

A hernia may happen over time or it may happen suddenly. Some movements can make symptoms worse. Examples include when you cough, sneeze, strain to have a bowel movement, lift, or stand for a long time. You may have any of the following:

How is an inguinal hernia diagnosed?

You may be asked to bend or cough to see if your healthcare provider can feel your hernia. You may need blood or urine tests to check your kidney function or find signs of infection. X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound pictures may show blockage in the intestines or lack of blood flow to organs. You may be given contrast liquid to help the organs show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

How is an inguinal hernia treated?

How can I manage my symptoms and prevent another hernia?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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