Coping with inguinal hernias

Written by: Mr Edward Alabraba
Edited by: Kate Forristal

The human body is an intricate masterpiece, but sometimes, even the most finely tuned machines encounter glitches. One such hiccup is the inguinal hernia, a condition that affects a significant number of individuals worldwide. In his latest online article, Mr Edward Alabraba delves into the intricacies of inguinal hernias, exploring their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.

Understanding inguinal hernia:

An inguinal hernia occurs when soft tissue, commonly a part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot or tear in the abdominal muscles. This condition often manifests in the inguinal canal, a passage in the lower abdomen that houses the spermatic cord in men and the round ligament in women. Inguinal hernias are more prevalent in men than women, with a higher incidence rate in older adults.


Causes of inguinal hernia:

One of the primary causes of inguinal hernias is a weakness in the abdominal wall, which may be present from birth or develop over time. Chronic straining due to heavy lifting, persistent coughing, or straining on the toilet if you have constipation can exacerbate this weakness and lead to herniation.


Genetic predisposition:

There is evidence suggesting a genetic component to inguinal hernias. Individuals with a family history of hernias may be at a higher risk of developing the condition.


Age and gender:

Aging contributes to the natural weakening of muscles, making older adults more susceptible to hernias. Men are at a higher risk due to the presence of the inguinal canal and the descent of the testicles during foetal development.


Symptoms of inguinal hernia:

Visible bulge: The most common symptom is the appearance of a bulge in the groin, especially when standing, coughing, or straining. This bulge may be more noticeable after prolonged periods of standing or physical activity.


Discomfort or pain: Individuals with inguinal hernias often experience discomfort or pain in the affected area, which may intensify during activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure.


Burning or aching sensation: Some people report a burning or aching sensation around the bulging area, adding to the overall discomfort associated with the condition.


Treatment options:

Watchful waiting: In some cases, especially when symptoms are mild, a watchful waiting approach may be adopted. Regular monitoring is essential to detect any changes in the hernia.


Lifestyle modifications: Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding heavy lifting, managing constipation, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further deterioration.


Surgery: Surgical intervention is often recommended for more severe or symptomatic cases. During surgery, the protruding tissue is pushed back into place, and the weakened abdominal wall is reinforced.


Mr Edward Alabraba is an esteemed consultant hepatobiliary and general surgeon. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Alabraba on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Edward Alabraba

Mr Edward Alabraba is a highly esteemed consultant hepatobiliary and general surgeon who specialises in pancreatitis, hernias, gallbladder surgery, neuroendocrine tumours, colorectal cancer, colorectal cancer surgery, as well as liver surgery. He is currently practising at the Nottingham-based The Park Hospital

Mr Alabraba has, notably, successfully completed a host of medical qualifications, including a bachelor of surgery, an FRCS, as well as a PhD. He is also an expert when it comes to liver resection surgery, appendiceal goblet cell carcinomas, ACE Inhibitor Therapy, lymph node metastases, lithotripsy, ultrasound scanning, as well as liver transplantation, but to mention only a few. 

Mr Alabraba has, to-date, published extensively in peer-reviewed medical journals and highly esteemed medical publications. He continues to engage in ground-breaking research when it comes to liver cancer. 

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