What causes a femoral hernia?
In most cases the causes of a femoral hernia are unknown. You may be born with a weakened area of the femoral canal, or the area may weaken over time.
Excessive straining can also contribute to the weakening of the muscle walls. This can occur during childbirth, through chronic coughing, when constipated or as a result of obesity.
Femoral hernia symptoms
A femoral hernia will appear as a small swelling, very low down your body, next to the groin or near the top of your thigh.
Often they produce few symptoms and very little little pain. It is therefore important to visit your GP if you suspect you have a hernia of this kind.
If left untreated, a femoral hernia could strangulate. This when your bowel becomes trapped in the hernia and its blood supply is cut off. If strangulation occurs, the lump will become hard and tender, you will experience severe local and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Even if your hernia is causing you no pain it is important to see your GP to confirm the diagnosis. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist hernia surgeon.
Femoral hernia treatment
A femoral hernia must detected quickly and repaired swiftly. Therefore surgery is the best option for anyone suffering from the condition. The aim of femoral hernia surgery is to close off the femoral canal. Before ‘mesh’ was introduced this was always carried out using stitches – stitching the front and back of the opening together. As this method is generally quite reliable and produces accurate results it is still the most common form of femoral hernia repair used in the UK. The problem however is that it can produce a lot of pain and the recurrence rate can be high.
As eluded to previously there is now another surgical treatment available to patients suffering from a femoral hernia, a mesh cone or plug. The favoured method of specialist Consultant Mr Martin Kurzer, it involves the insertion of a soft mesh cone plug in the femoral canal. The plug sits in the femoral canal and stops anything passing through. The procedure can be carried out using ‘keyhole’ surgical techniques where smalls incisions are made just above the groin crease.
Is no treatment an option?
As femoral hernias produce few symptoms the temptation is to ignore them. Failing to get medical advice however 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.
To ask a question about a femoral hernia or to book an appointment with one of our experts you can call us on 020 3370 1014 or email us at [email protected].