There are a lot of different types of hernias a patient can develop over their lifetime. The most common are known as an inguinal hernias.
Although inguinal hernias are not usually life threatening, they can affect your quality of life.
Here, we will look at the most frequently asked questions about this common type of hernia, and why many patients are choosing to have them dealt with privately.
What are inguinal hernias?
An inguinal hernia is a type of groin hernia, experienced by around 27% of men and 3% of women. They are mainly found on the right groin and they are essentially due to defects in the abdominal wall muscles.
These types of hernias may appear as a lump or swelling within the groin, which may or may not be painful.
What are the causes and symptoms of inguinal hernias?
The majority of inguinal hernias are thought to be caused by age. The older you get, the more likely you are to experience a hernia of some kind. This is because the muscles of the abdomen tend to weaken with age.
They occur when a part of the bowel, or fatty tissue, poke through in the groin. They may appear suddenly and can be brought on by strain placed upon the abdomen. This can happen if you have constipation or if you push a heavy load.
Around two-thirds of those who develop inguinal hernias will experience symptoms. These include pain and discomfort, and increased swelling during the day.
When might surgery be required?
Not all inguinal hernias require surgery, however if yours is painful or if it is growing, an operation will be advised. You may also need to undergo surgery if you experience any complications. These include strangulation, in which a part of the bowel gets trapped and has its blood supply cut off, and obstruction.
Although surgery to remove the hernia will prevent these complications, there is a low risk it may come back after the procedure.
What happens during inguinal hernia surgery?
There are two methods of inguinal hernia surgery which can be performed. You can either undergo open or laparoscopic surgery.
The open method allows the surgeon to make a cut and directly access the hernia, enabling them to push it back into the abdomen.
The laparoscopic method on the other hand, involves making a number of smaller cuts through which instruments are placed to repair the hernia from within the abdomen. Laparoscopic repair is associated with a quicker recovery but is not suitable for all hernias.
How long will it take to recover?
You will usually return home the same day of the surgery. You will be provided specialist aftercare instructions from the surgeon that you should follow. It takes around six weeks to make a full recovery from the operation and you should take a couple of weeks off work.
Inguinal hernias aren’t usually serious, but they will need surgery if they enlarge or cause discomfort.
Book a consultation with Mr Alan Woodward today to determine whether surgery might be needed.