inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias develop in the inguinal canal, near the groin. While they may not necessarily present with any unpleasant symptoms, unfortunately they never go away by themselves. You can choose to delay treatment if the hernia isn’t causing you any issues in your day-to-day life. However, it will eventually need to be repaired via surgery.

Here, you’ll discover what inguinal hernias are, and why it is sensible to seek treatment as early as possible.

What is an inguinal hernia?

An Inguinal hernia develops when a portion of the intestine or some fat from inside the abdomen pushes through a weakened wall in the Inguinal canal. This is situated near the groin.

These types of hernias can develop at birth, or they may develop slowly over time. The main symptoms of an inguinal hernia include:

  • A bulge within the groin area
  • A bulge in the scrotum in male patients
  • Pain, discomfort, or heaviness within the groin/scrotum

You won’t always develop these symptoms, but if you do it’s worth getting checked over by a doctor. Even if your inguinal hernia is considered small without the above symptoms it will not disappear by itself. It is likely that surgery will be required to push the hernia back into place and strengthen the weakened wall at some point.

What complications can occur if you don’t treat an inguinal hernia?

If you don’t treat an inguinal hernia it is likely to slowly increase in size. Rarely you may develop a complication of the hernia. Some of the complications that can occur from an untreated hernia include…

Bowel obstruction – A section of the bowel can get stuck in the inguinal canal, causing an obstruction. Symptoms of an obstruction include nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. This is highly likely to require emergency surgery and sometimes can lead on to strangulation.

Strangulation – In severe cases, the hernia can become strangulated. This occurs when a portion of the bowel gets trapped, cutting off the blood supply to the area. Unless treated quickly, the tissue will become gangrenous and die, which could potentially be fatal.

Due to how severe the complications can become, it makes sense to treat an inguinal hernia as soon as possible.

What are the symptoms of a strangulated hernia?

Strangulated hernias cause specific symptoms you can watch out for in order to identify them early. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical help:

  • Pain that comes on suddenly and intensifies to very severe quickly
  • The bulge turns purple or red in colour
  • You are struggling to pass gas or open your bowels
  • Fever

If you do develop a strangulated hernia, emergency surgery will be required. The surgeon will repair the hernia and restore the blood supply to the surrounding tissues. Sometimes the removal of the dead bowel is required.

So, an inguinal hernia will not clear up by itself. However, provided you seek treatment early enough, the procedure is quick and straightforward. If you suspect you have an inguinal hernia, book a consultation with Mr Michael Stellakis today.