An inguinal hernia is diagnosed when you have tissue work its way past a weak area in your groin muscles. Often, this will create a bulge that can be quite scary and alarming to you. The bulge often will hurt or have a stinging sensation. This will generally continue until you see a doctor for your inguinal hernia, or have surgery. There are a number of things that can cause inguinal hernias, and they can strike early or late in life. Oddly enough, most inguinal hernias happen due to an opening in the muscle wall that does not close fully at birth.
There are a number of risk factors associated with inguinal hernias. These risk factors include obesity, weight lifting, or even athletic activity in some cases. This is not the only ways to get a inguinal hernia, however. You can get an inguinal hernia by simply coughing, sneezing, or lifting the wrong way. Any straining puts pressure on the existing hole, and can cause the tissue to pop through. Many women get hernias when they are pregnant due to the extra pressure from her growing belly.
The symptoms of an inguinal hernia can be subtle at first, or very prominent depending on the degree of the hernia. Generally, the lump in the scrotum is the first symptom of inguinal hernia. Sometimes inguinal hernias develop over a period of months and sneak up on you. The lump or bulge that develops may or may not be painful or sting. Some inguinal hernias have the bulge but no pain, but these are a bit more unusual. Other common symptoms of inguinal hernias include swelling, or a heavy sensation around the hernia. Dangerous symptoms of inguinal hernias are sudden pain and nausea. These symptoms can mean that your intestine is caught up in the hernia, or may be in distress. Treat this situation as a medical emergency, as it can be dangerous left untreated.
An inguinal hernia is quickly diagnosed by your doctor through a hands on exam usually, as the lump or bulge is generally prominent. This is a clear sign of a inguinal hernia. Other tests can also confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for inguinal hernias includes only one real option. Surgery is the only way to cure an inguinal hernia. Though many hernias are not dangerous, and can wait for the surgery, it is generally advised to go ahead and have the surgery to repair the inguinal hernia. This is because the inguinal hernia creates a risk of the intestine becoming strangled or wrapped into the hernia. This dangerous risk is usually enough to warrant having the inguinal hernia surgery. This is almost always the case with children as they have a higher risk of the intestines becoming a factor.
Inguinal hernias are largely a simple pain in the groin that will not get better without surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, and the surgery has a very high success rate. If you have symptoms of an inguinal hernia, or fear that you may have one, see your doctor as soon as possible for more information.