Understanding Groin Hernias: A Common Health Condition
Groin hernias are a common health condition for many people, especially men. Nearly 30% of men and 3% of women develop a groin hernia at some point in their life. What exactly is a groin hernia? How does it occur? And what are the treatment options? Hernia doctors in Los Angeles weigh in on the condition below.
What is a groin hernia?
A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue protrudes through the muscular wall or connective tissue that is supposed to contain it. There are many types of hernias, but most involve the abdomen, specifically the groin. Those that occur in the inner groin are called inguinal hernias. The vast majority of groin hernias are inguinal hernias. Men experience these more often than women due to a naturally occurring weak spot in their anatomy. In the case of inguinal hernias, it is fatty tissue and sometimes intestines that push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall.
What are the symptoms of a groin hernia?
While some hernias have no symptoms, many will show one or more of the following signs:
- A soft bulge in the groin or scrotum, which can become more pronounced when coughing, bending, lifting or straining
- Pain or discomfort in the groin, especially when bending, coughing or lifting
- Heaviness, swelling and a dragging or burning sensation in the area of the hernia
- Aching or discomfort in the groin that is relieved when lying down
What causes a groin hernia?
In many people, hernias are caused by a congenital weakness plus increased pressure within the abdomen. Other groin hernias develop later in life due to aging and a weakening of the muscles and connective tissues. Anything that causes an increase in pressure within the abdomen can cause a groin hernia. This can include obesity, straining during bowel movements or urination, strenuous activity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhea or constipation, pregnancy, and persistent coughing or sneezing.
What are the treatment options for a groin hernia?
Hernia repair is one of the most common forms of surgery in the U.S., with physicians performing approximately one million hernia repairs each year. Inguinal hernia repairs account for the vast majority of hernia repairs—an estimated 700,000 per year. Surgery is the only treatment that can remove a hernia. Fortunately, hernia repair is a relatively easy procedure. Watchful waiting is also an option for people who don’t experience complications or symptoms with their hernias, if recommended by their surgeon. Surgical hernia treatment includes laparoscopic and open inguinal hernia repairs.
- In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions in the abdomen, allowing small surgical instruments into the area to repair the hernia. Often, the doctor will reinforce the tissue with a surgical mesh instead of sewing the tissue together. Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than traditional open surgery.
- In traditional open repair, the surgeon makes a 3- to 6-inch incision near the hernia and repairs the weak muscle area. Open repair can likewise be performed with or without surgical mesh. Open surgery may be the only effective treatment for larger hernias.
Contact The Surgery Group of Los Angeles
If you have been diagnosed with a hernia and are seeking hernia doctors in Los Angeles, The Surgery Group of Los Angeles can help. At the Surgery Group Los Angeles, our hernia doctors are experts in less-invasive hernia repair surgery, as well as many other types of general surgery. We are committed to delivering the best surgical results and the most comfortable surgery experience available. Please give us a call at 424-303-4949 to learn more about treatment options today!