A lump (protrusion) in the groin could cause moments of anxiousness in any person. Groin hernia is a protrusion of an organ or tissue through a weak spot in a muscle in the groin area. As the hernia enlarges, a sac is formed and the internal organs (like intestine) fall into the sac thus producing a bulge. This bulge is prominent when the person is standing and goes in while the person is lying down. Groin hernia is also referred to as inguinal hernia. (inguinal refers to groin in Latin)
Types of groin hernia
Inguinal hernia: This is a type of groin hernia that is caused by a weak spot in the groin area. It is more common in men than in women. In men inguinal hernia develops in the region where the spermatic chord and blood vessels to the testicles pass out of the abdominal cavity into the scrotum. This area is termed as the inguinal canal.
In women inguinal hernia develops in the region where the connective tissue connecting the uterus exits from the abdomen to join with the tissue surrounding the vaginal opening.
Femoral hernia: This is a type of abdominal hernia where a lump is found in the upper thigh. This type of hernia is very common in women. This hernia is often associated with inguinal hernia as the bulge occurs just below the groin crease.
Types of inguinal hernia
Direct hernia: Affects both men and women. The intestine forms a loop in the inner parts of the groin thus making it to bulge. Direct inguinal hernia appears in later life.
Indirect hernia: Affects men only. A loop of intestine passes down the inguinal canal from where the testis descends into the scrotum.
Incisional hernia: The protrusion of tissue through an incision is known as Incisional hernia. It may be the result of the stress on the stitches upon an incision in vulnerable obese patients. This type of hernia can be addressed by resuturing the incision.
Femoral hernia: Femoral hernias are very rare but occur mostly in women. These hernias appear right below the groin crease. These hernias occur as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. The intestinal sac slips into the femoral area through a weak area in the lower groin. These hernias develop incarceration or strangulation very early when compared to inguinal hernias. These hernias, once diagnosed should be repaired as early as possible (this hernia is associated with inguinal/groin hernia as the bulge develops at the groin crease).
Apart from the above inguinal hernia can also be classified into the below mentioned types
Strangulated hernia: The intestine becomes twisted or swollen and hampers the normal blood flow and muscle action. Immediate surgery is needed in this type of hernia.
Reducible hernia: In a reducible hernia the protrusion can be pushed back to place.
Incarcerated hernia: The protrusion in an incarcerated hernia can't be put back into place without surgery.
Who develops groin hernia?
Groin hernia is common in:
Cause for groin hernia
There is no obvious cause for hernia. Hernia might occur if a person:
Other common causes for hernia include:
In a few people with severe hernia, symptoms might include:
Groin hernia diagnosis
The doctor will perform a physical examination to check for a bulge. Other tests may include a CAT scan of the abdomen to study the hernia thoroughly. Normally in women, a pelvic examination is done using a speculum and a Papanicolaou test (Pap test) would help in diagnosis. The doctor might want additional information:
Prevention of groin hernia
Development of hernia is not under the control of individuals. A few people inherit and yet a few develop hernia as they grow old. Conscious prevention can include:
Groin hernia surgery
Groin hernia is usually repaired through a surgery. In few cases where the hernia does not interfere with the day to day activities of the patient, surgery is not recommended. Groin hernia surgery can be classified into two types:
Open hernia repair surgery: an incision is made in the groin and the hernia is repaired.
Laparoscopic hernia repair: this is mainly used in adults. The necessary repair work is carried over by making an incision with the help of a thin, lighted scope introduced in to the abdomen.
Non-surgical treatment for groin hernia
Truss: The bulge is pushed into place manually by the physician; he then recommends a belt to be worn around the area. This belt is called a truss and is used to hold the hernia back in its place. The truss also helps in easing the discomfort caused by direct and indirect inguinal hernia. A truss is useful for patients who are waiting to get fit for surgery.