elderly men hernia

According to a recent study carried out in India, elderly men are most at risk of developing an inguinal hernia. This type of hernia, characterised by a bulge in the groin area, is common worldwide and is already known to affect more men than women.

Here, we look at what the latest study found, what an inguinal hernia is, and how they can be treated.

Elderly men more vulnerable to inguinal hernias

The recent study, carried out in northern India, included 110 patients who were waiting to undergo inguinal hernia repair. An overwhelming majority (97%) were male, and 39% of them were over 50 years old.

The study revealed that males were more susceptible due to their engagement in strenuous activities and weightlifting, as well as specific anatomical differences. Primary risk factors included lifting heavy weights (55% of cases) and altered bowel habits (36%).

Conditions like respiratory disease, smoking, and diabetes were also associated with an increased risk of a hernia. Interestingly, the study found that hernias were most observed on the right side (63% of cases), compared to the left (33%) or both sides (4%). Indirect hernias were also more common.

What is an inguinal hernia?

An inguinal hernia is a condition where a part of the intestine or tissue pushes through a weakened part of the abdominal wall in the groin area. This results in a noticeable bulge, which can sometimes cause discomfort or pain, especially when lifting.

While hernias can occur in different parts of the body, the inguinal type is among the most common, particularly in men. This is due to the natural weakening of the abdominal muscles over time. Also, other contributing factors like engaging in strenuous activities or bearing down during bowel movements.

The distinct bulge, which may grow over time or while straining, is the hallmark sign of an inguinal hernia, though patients don’t always experience a visible bump.

Treating an inguinal hernia

If they are small and aren’t causing any discomfort, inguinal hernias might not require immediate treatment. However, if it becomes painful or grows larger, you can risk it becoming a life-threatening medical emergency. It’s important to note that hernias do not just go away by themselves so they will need to be treated at some stage.

The primary treatment option is surgery, designed to push the protruding tissue back and reinforce the weakened area. There are two main types of hernia repair surgery: open hernia repair and laparoscopic (keyhole) repair.

The open method involves a single, larger incision, while the laparoscopic approach uses several small incisions and a camera to guide the surgery. Both methods have their advantages, and the choice often depends on the specifics like its severity and location. Also, the patient’s overall health.

Early detection and consultation with a medical professional are essential to prevent hernia complications and to ensure a smooth recovery. If you suspect that you have an inguinal hernia, schedule an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis today.