Common Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia

What Is Inguinal Hernia?

A hernia is a protrusion of a body organ into a place it does not belong. Penetration is usually through weak muscle tissue or a cavity in the body. Inguinal hernia is a special type of hernia that occurs at the groin. It happens when a small loop of the intestine pushes into the inguinal canal through a weak spot in the abdominal muscle.

The inguinal canal is an oblique passage through the abdominal wall. It is the passage through which the testes descend into the scrotum in males. In females, it transmits the round ligament that holds the uterus in place.

Inguinal hernias are incredibly common, affecting men up to 10 times [1] more than women. It is not clear what causes some inguinal hernias. Others may happen due to strenuous physical activity, straining during bowel movements, a pre-existing weakness in the abdominal wall, or increased pressure in the abdomen.

An inguinal hernia may be direct or indirect. Direct inguinal hernias occur when a small loop of the intestine pushes through a weakness in the wall of the abdominal muscles along the inguinal canal. It rarely affects children.

Indirect inguinal hernia is often diagnosed at birth but may not become noticeable until adulthood. It happens because the inner opening of the inguinal canal remains open after birth. This opening typically closes around the time of birth under normal circumstances. This type of inguinal hernia affects less than five percent of newborns. It affects up to 10 percent of premature babies [2].

Both types of hernias usually have the same appearance and feel in adults. It may not show any symptoms at first until the hernia starts progressing. If you experience the following symptoms, it may be a sign you have an inguinal hernia.