The inguinal hernia is the protrusion of an intestinal segment or a part of the abdominal layer called peritoneum inside the inguinal canal. It occurs in the groin area due to a weaker point of the abdominal wall. Inside the inguinal canal are the spermatic cord in men and the round ligament of the uterus in women localized.
Most highly exposed to developing a hernia are usually men, obese persons and persons who have recently suffered a surgical intervention on the abdomen that might have weakened the outer wall. Inguinal hernia can theoretically appear in both children and adults but the risk increases with age; inguinal hernias have also proven to be influenced by hereditary factors.
The responsible weakness of the abdominal layer can be congenital in some cases but can also be induced by high and rapid weight gain or loss, high lifting or pregnancies. A chronic pulmonary condition causing intense coughing may be responsible for in time developing hernia, an enlarged prostate may cause straining in the abdomen or straining during bowel movements caused by constipation, which can also lead to the apparition of an inguinal hernia in time.
Inguinal hernias appear as painless bulge in the groin and can even extend to the scrotum in men if not treated in time. The bulge may sometimes create discomfort and tenderness while proceeding to heavy lifting. Hernias often disappear while the patient is lying down and can be pushed back inside the abdomen in incipient stages. When segments of intestines or a fragment of the peritoneum becomes trapped inside the inguinal canal, the hernia is called irreducible and usually causes more pain and trouble to the patient. A part of the intestines can be trapped inside the inguinal canal forming the strangled hernia; in this case the blood supply is cut off and the intestinal fragment can die causing huge complications without a proper rapid intervention.
The actual diagnose of an inguinal hernia is established by the surgeon after a physical examination while he may ask the patient to cough to see the movements of the groin bulge. The most effective treatment for hernias is the surgical herniorraphy when the hernial content is pushed back into the abdomen and the weak spot of the abdominal wall is repaired. A hernioplasty is also possible and the surgeon can in this case reinforce the abdominal wall by placing a synthetic material on the abdomen layer. A more modern intervention is the laparoscopic procedure with the exact same technique as in the classical operation but with the use of two small incisions for a small camera and for surgical instruments.
We can protect ourselves from non-congenital hernias by not lifting heavy objects, preventing constipation, keeping a normal body weight and avoid cigarette smoking.
For more resources about hernia please visit these pages http://www.hernia-guide.com/Inguinal-Hernia.htm or http://www.hernia-guide.com/Hiatal-Hernia.htm