If you are experiencing symptoms such as a bulge or lump in your groin area, a burning or painful sensation on the lump or bulge, or pressure or weakness in the area of your groin, you may have an inguinal hernia. Inguinal hernias often occur due to heavy lifting, sudden or intense pressure on the abdomen, or chronic sneezing or coughing. They also are more likely to occur as we grow older, as the abdominal muscles become weaker when we age. But if you want to be sure that what you are feeling is an inguinal hernia, here’s everything you should know about the diagnosis – and treatment – of the condition.
How it is diagnosed
Inguinal hernias are not that difficult to diagnose – that’s the good news. Often, all you need is a physical examination, where the physician will check if there is a bulge or lump in the area of your groin. Since coughing or standing can cause the hernia to appear more prominently, you may be asked to cough whilst standing up or cough whilst straining.
In some cases, the bulge or lump may not be very apparent, and this is when the physician may ask you to undergo an abdominal ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan.
How it is treated
If the inguinal hernia seems small and insignificant and isn’t too much of a bother, the physician may recommend you to wait and see how the inguinal hernia develops. But if the hernia has already become too painful or is becoming larger, then surgery may be recommended.
The two types of surgeries for inguinal hernia
Open surgery is one type of surgery done for the repair of inguinal hernia, and with this, the surgeon will make a large incision in the groin area and physically push the tissue (the bulge or lump) back into the person’s abdomen. Afterwards, the surgeon will sew the area and may also reinforce it with a mesh. The opening will then be closed either with staples, surgical glue, or stitches. Open surgery can be done either with general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia. If you undergo open surgery, it may take a few weeks before you can recover completely.
Laparoscopic hernia repair is less invasive than open surgery, since the surgeon will only make a few small cuts or incisions. The surgeon will then use a tiny tube (which is equipped with a camera) to check the hernia and repair it through the other small cuts or incisions. Those who undergo laparoscopic surgery recover more quickly, and there is less pain and scarring as well.
A hernia surgery expert, such as a hernia surgery in Hampshire specialist from The London Surgical Group, should be able to recommend the best treatment for your hernia based on your age, physical condition, and medical history, amongst other factors.
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