Inguinal hernias develop when the tissues of the abdomen bulge through a weaker part of the lower abdominal wall. There are two types of inguinal hernias: indirect and direct.
Indirect inguinal hernias are caused by a defect in the abdominal wall that is present at birth. On the other hand, direct hernias develop over time and are a result of muscle weakness in the lower abdomen—they are most prominent in males.
If not treated, inguinal hernias can lead to complications. One of them is incarceration, which develops fat or part of the small intestine gets stuck in the groin or scrotum and cannot get back to the abdomen. Another complication is strangulation, which occurs when the incarcerated hernia is not treated. The blood supply to the small intestine is lost and that section of the intestine may die.
Inguinal hernia treatment
There are two types of surgery for an inguinal hernia: open hernia repair or laparoscopy. In open hernia repair, an incision is made in the groin to push the protruding tissue back into place and sew up the weakened area. In laparoscopic surgery, several small incisions are made in the abdomen and a tube equipped with a camera is inserted. The surgeon uses tiny instruments to repair the hernia.
Laparoscopic surgery is associated with less scarring and shorter recovery times compared to open hernia repair. On the other hand, laparoscopic surgery may increase the risk of a future hernia developing.
Inguinal hernia prevention
It is impossible to prevent an indirect inguinal hernia, but there are steps you can take in order to reduce your risk. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, consuming high-fiber foods, avoiding lifting heavy objects or doing it carefully and with proper form, not smoking, and not relying on supportive gear (known as a truss) to keep the hernia in place, as it does not correct the problem or help lower the risk of complications.
Inguinal hernia home remedies
Some people may choose to utilize home remedies to treat their hernia, the most common of which include:
Using ice or a cold compress to numb any pain
Avoiding putting pressure or heat on the affected area
Ensuring you get enough rest
Maintaining a healthy body weight
Breaking unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking
Wearing looser clothes to avoid irritation of the affected area