Hernia – inguinal; Inguinal hernia; Rupture; Strangulation; Incarceration
Definition of Hernia
A hernia is usually a sac formed by the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). The sac comes through a hole or weak area in the fascia, the strong layer of the abdominal wall that surrounds the muscle.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Usually, there is no obvious cause of a hernia. Sometimes hernias occur with heavy lifting. Hernias may be present at birth, but the bulging may not be noticeable until later in life. Some patients may have a family history of hernias.
Most often there are no symptoms. However, sometimes there may be discomfort or pain. The discomfort may be worse when you stand, strain, or lift heavy objects.
Signs and tests
A doctor can confirm the presence of a hernia during a physical exam. The mass may increase in size when coughing, bending, lifting, or straining.
Surgery is the only treatment that can permanently fix a hernia. However, smaller hernias with no symptoms can sometimes be watched. Surgery may have more risk for patients with serious medical problems.
The outcome is usually good with treatment. Recurrence is rare (1-3%).
Shabir Bhimji MD, PhD, Specializing in General Surgery, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/5/2010