Understanding groin hernias: Symptoms and care

Written by: Mr Aimen Amer
Edited by: Kate Forristal


Groin hernias are a common occurrence, particularly among men, with statistics indicating that one in four men will experience this condition in their lifetime. While they can manifest in various ways, the most recognisable sign is a lump or swelling in the groin area. This noticeable bulge often prompts individuals to seek medical attention. In his latest online article, Mr Aimen Amer gives us his insights.

These hernia lumps can vary significantly in size, ranging from barely detectable to quite prominent. They may appear when standing and disappear when lying flat, or they might only be noticeable during activities like coughing, with the ability to be pushed back in. However, some hernias present as a constant swelling that persists even when lying down and proves challenging to reduce manually.


Aside from the visible lump, groin hernias can also cause discomfort or pain in the groin region. This pain may range from mild to severe and can be accompanied by sensations like dragging or general discomfort. The presence of sensory nerves in the groin area explains why hernias can stimulate these nerves, resulting in various sensory symptoms.


In some instances, individuals may experience abnormal sensations in the groin without a noticeable lump. This condition, known as an occult hernia, often requires diagnostic imaging, such as a scan, to confirm its presence. Conversely, incidental hernias may be detected during unrelated medical investigations, as they can sometimes exist without causing noticeable symptoms.


Although relatively uncommon, hernias can lead to serious complications. One such complication occurs when the bowel becomes twisted or loses its blood supply within the hernia, causing severe pain and symptoms resembling bowel obstruction, such as vomiting or abdominal swelling. This complication is more likely to occur in larger hernias that cannot be easily reduced manually or in certain types of groin hernias, such as femoral hernias, which are more prevalent in women. 


In summary, groin hernias can manifest with noticeable swelling, discomfort, or unusual sensations in the groin region. In some cases, they may be asymptomatic and only detected incidentally during medical examinations. It is crucial to seek early assessment by a healthcare professional, as hernias can potentially lead to bowel complications requiring emergency treatment.


Regardless of how a groin hernia presents or is diagnosed, it is essential to have it evaluated by a specialist who can provide guidance on the appropriate management and treatment options. Early detection and intervention can help prevent complications and improve outcomes for individuals affected by this common condition.


Mr Aimen Amer is an esteemed consultant abdominal transplant and general surgeon. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Amer on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Aimen Amer

Mr Aimen Amer is a leading consultant transplant and general surgeon based in Tyne and Wear. He specialises in hernia surgeryabdominal wall reconstruction and gallbladder disease alongside liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation. He privately practises at Spire Washington Hospital while his NHS base is the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Amer, who has performed over 400 keyhole gallbladder and hernia repair procedures to date, and over 200 abdominal transplantation procedures, is highly qualified. He has been awarded an MBChB, PhD and MSc as well as a PGCert and FRCS.

Mr Amer has a specialist interest in benign hepatobiliary disease and abdominal wall hernias, and has extensive expertise in minimally invasive hernia and gallbladder surgery. He plays a leading role in delivering day case surgery at his NHS base, and is accomplished in developing multimodal-enhanced recovery pathways after surgery. His aim is to empower and better prepare patients for surgery, promoting a faster recovery as a result. In addition, he is a member of the national Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Steering Group for Transplantation and Clinical Lead for Organ Utilisation and Donation Surgery. 

Mr Amer is also a respected name in clinical academia. He is an associate clinical lecturer at Newcastle University and a lead trainer at the Northern Surgical Training Centre. His research, which includes over 15 peer-reviewed articles and over 50 presentations, has been published in several journals and presented in national and international specialist meetings. 

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, a council member of The British Hernia Society (BHS) and The European Hernia Society (EHS), as well as The European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) and the British Transplantation Society.     

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