What is Inguinal Hernia
When a part of the intestine or other abdominal tissues protrudes through the weakness near the groin area it is referred to as an inguinal hernia. The hernia breach is exactly at the right or left inguinal canal. Sometimes there is a hernia on both the side of the abdomen.
An inguinal hernia is the most common hernia of all the hernia types present. It is estimated that it is 70% of all the hernia types. In that 70%, almost all of an inguinal hernia happens in men. Dr Maran, the best Hernia Surgeon in Chennai talks about Inguinal Hernia Surgery in the video attached.
General Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia
A feeling of heaviness in the groin area. More-so on the scrotum
Swelling of the scrotum
A bulge on the left or right or both sides of the abdomen near the groin.
Pain in the groin area
The pain can increase when coughing, or bending.
Causes of Inguinal Hernia
An inguinal Hernia largely happens in men. While a male baby is born, the testes descend from the abdomen to the scrotum through a canal called inguinal canal. The inguinal canals are found on the base of both left and right abdomen. They facilitate the two testes to descend into the scrotal sac.
In the normal course, this inguinal canal closes after the testes have descended. But in some male babies, the inguinal canal does not close properly. At any time in life, the defective inguinal canal can sometimes allow fat and other abdominal tissues or intestine to protrude into the groin through this breach. So inguinal hernia develops in such men with the defective inguinal canal. This kind of an inguinal hernia is referred to as Indirect Inguinal Hernia.
Sometimes in both men and women as they age, the abdominal tissue near the inguinal canal can become weaker and as a result, they can become sagging or torn. In such cases too, the fat and other abdominal tissues or intestine can protrude. This kind of an inguinal hernia is referred to as Direct Inguinal Hernia. Women can get this type of an inguinal hernia albeit rarely. This is because the broad ligament tissues of the uterus present in women behind the abdominal wall prevent any weakening of the abdominal wall near the inguinal canal.
Factors that can Aggravate Inguinal Hernia
Straining during the bowel movement. Low fiber food can cause constipation and this can cause straining putting pressure on the hernia.
Straining during urinating (prostrate condition)
Lifting heavy weights as part of daily chores like a bucket full of water, LPG cylinder, children, etc.
Lifting heavy weights in the gym
Cycling long distances
Complications of Inguinal Hernia
Inflammation of the intestine part that is caught in the hernia sac.
Incarceration of the part of hernia that has been trapped in the hernia sac. When the contents of the trapped intestine part cannot move then a severe bowel obstruction happens which is termed as incarceration.
Strangulation happens after incarceration. A strangulated intestine part may develop gangrene as a result of the cut in blood supply.
Diagnosis of Inguinal Hernia
A simple physical examination by an experienced gastroenterologist is sufficient to diagnose a hernia.
The bulge in the groin and the hernia is very much noticeable in most cases when the person stands and coughs. This is the standard diagnosing technique to know the presence of a hernia.
In women and some men the hernia may not be noticeable and in that case, the GI surgeon can order an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan.
Surgical Treatment - Steps under Inguinal Hernia Surgery
The only treatment available for an inguinal hernia is surgery. Hernia surgery is termed as hernioplasty. It is commonly called Hernia Repair Surgery.
Hernia repair surgery is done by Laparoscopic surgery technique where the Hernia Surgeon or the GI surgeon makes few keyhole incisions on the abdomen.
Through one of these incisions, a camera is inserted to get a clear view of the hernia present.
The hernia surgeon places tangled abdominal tissues or intestine in its original place. Then hernia mesh is inserted and is placed on the breach and is fixed to the hernia opening.
If a hernia present is strangulated, the hernia surgeon removes the part of the intestine that has developed gangrene. The hernia surgeon then cleans the abdomen thoroughly for any leaked matters and then sutures the healthy part of the intestine together. After this, the surgeon proceeds to close a hernia with sutures. This hernia repair surgery is called Herniorrhaphy.
Click here to read in detail about the two types of hernia repair surgeries.