Why does an inguinal hernia happen?
An inguinal hernia happens when there is a weak spot in your abdominal wall. This means some of your tissues or internal organs – such as the intestine – can push through into an area called the inguinal canal. This passageway between the abdomen and genitals is much larger in men, so this type of hernia is much more common in males. They can happen at any age but are more common as you get older, as the muscles around your tummy can weaken over time.
Signs and symptoms of Inguinal hernia
The most common sign of an inguinal hernia is a lump or swelling under the skin that may be uncomfortable, painful or sensitive to the touch. It can also appear as an enlarged scrotum in men.
The swelling will often disappear completely when you lie down, and reappear when you’re lifting something. In some cases, you might see any swelling, but might have a strange feeling in your groin whenu standing or walking.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain when you cough
- A burning sensation
- A heavy feeling in your groin.
How to tell if you have an inguinal hernia?
Generally, hernias are painless, but you might feel discomfort when you bend, lift or stand for a long time. If you have a bulge of swelling Y under your skin in the groin area that disappears when you lie down, it’s probably an inguinal hernia. It’s important to see your GP to confirm the diagnosis even if you’re not in any pain. Your GP can then refer you to a specialist hernia surgeon.
Getting a diagnosis
As an inguinal hernia often disappears when you lie down, you’ll mostly be examined standing up. Most of the time, an inguinal hernia can be diagnosed immediately, but if you’re in pain ordiscomfort and there’s no obvious swelling, or if the swelling doesn’t go away when you lie down.
Inguinal hernia surgery timeline
At our London hernia clinic, we offer rapid access and turnaround from consultation to surgery. We have a wealth of talented inguinal hernia repair specialists, and slots in our state-of-the-art theatres are readily available, so we can work around your schedule to make sure you get back to full health as soon as possible.
In most cases, you can go home on the same or next day and be back at work and enjoying light activity within two weeks.
Inguinal hernia treatment options
Inguinal hernia surgery is recommended if your hernia is causing you pain or severe or persistent symptoms. During surgery, your surgeon will push the bulge back into place and then strengthen your abdominal wall to prevent your hernia from returning.. Several repair methods are available, and the type you’ll receive will depend on your case.
We provide the following inguinal hernia repair methods:
Open mesh repair
Open mesh – or tension-free mesh – is an advanced technique pioneered by our hernia Consultants and perfected over thousands of successful operations. During an open mesh repair, an inguinal hernia specialist will position a piece of fine mesh over the opening of the hernia, which strengthens the abdominal wall and prevents organs from coming through. The body then heals around the mesh. This is a reliable repair with a high success rate that can be carried out in less than an hour under local anaesthetic.
Keyhole surgery (laparoscopy)
Keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive technique, which means less down time after surgery. Four small cuts will be made in your abdominal wall, so that a small telescope and surgical instruments can pass through and examine the hernia. The surgeon will then inflate the cavity using carbon dioxide gas so that they can work without performing open surgery. The hernia hole is then covered with mesh, which is stapled into place. After this, the body will heal around the mesh.
Is no treatment an option?
If your inguinal hernia isn’t causing you any pain or discomfort, you may be tempted to just ignore it. However, if left untreated, the hernia will continue to grow and the pain will eventually appear and intensify, so we would encourage you to seek treatment. Our specialists have performed thousands of inguinal hernia surgeries and can get you on the road to feeling like yourself again.
An inguinoscrotal hernia is an advanced form of an inguinal hernia where the bowel passes completely through the inguinal canal and into the scrotum. This is often more uncomfortable than an inguinal hernia and is more difficult to push back in. An inguinoscrotal hernia can cause bowel strangulation and cut off the blood supply, so surgery is needed immediately to release the trapped tissue and restore blood flow.
Our world-renowned Consultants have a wealth of experience treating inguinal hernias. They’ll take the time to listen to you and provide you with expert advice and the best possible treatment.
To ask a question or book an appointment, get it touch on 020 3370 1014 or email us at [email protected].