The abdominal wall wraps around your middle from the bottom of your ribs to your pelvis. It helps to contain and support your abdominal organs and tissue. When this area is weakened, these internal tissues can press through can create the hernia. The weakness may be caused by a problem with the abdominal wall development before birth, injuries, or wear and tear of the muscles.
Groin hernias are more common in men and femoral hernias are more common in women.
Abdominal wall weakness is more common in older adults. Factors that increase your chance of abdominal wall weakness include:
Wear and tear on abdominal wall from frequent lifting of heavy objects, or prolonged coughing or straining
Previous surgery in the abdominal area
Family history of hernia
Many times, there are no symptoms with groin hernia. In those who do have them, the symptoms may include:
A bulge in the groin area when standing or straining
Pain in the groin area when straining
A bulge that may extend into the scrotum
Pain and/or a heavy feeling or discomfort in the groin area
More serious symptoms may need emergency care:
Severe pain in the groin or abdomen
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Imaging studies are only done if the diagnosis in not clear by physical exam.
Watchful waiting is an option for those with no symptoms. This means you and your doctor will monitor your hernia for growth or the appearance of more serious symptoms. In people with symptoms, hernias are repaired with surgery. The abdominal tissue will be pushed back in and the opening will be closed. Sometimes, a mesh material will be placed to help support the area.
The following strategies may help to prevent a groin hernia:
American College of Physicians
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Institute for Health Information
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.