An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of abdominal-cavity contents through the inguinal canal.[1] Symptoms are present in about 66% of affected people.[1] This may include pain or discomfort especially with coughing, exercise, or bowel movements.[1] Often it gets worse throughout the day and improves when lying down.[1] A bulging area may occur that becomes larger when bearing down.[1] Inguinal hernias occur more often on the right than left side.[1] The main concern is strangulation, where the blood supply to part of the intestine is blocked.[1] This usually produces severe pain and tenderness of the area.[1]

Risk factors for the development of a hernia include: smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, pregnancy, peritoneal dialysis, collagen vascular disease, and previous open appendectomy, among others.[1][2] Hernias are partly genetic and occur more often in certain families.[1] It is unclear if inguinal hernias are associated with heavy lifting.[1] Hernias can often be diagnosed based on signs and symptoms.[1] Occasionally medical imaging is used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other possible causes.[1]

Groin hernias that do not cause symptoms in males do not need to be repaired.[1] Repair, however, is generally recommended in females due to the higher rate of femoral hernias which have more complications.[1] If strangulation occurs immediate surgery is required.[1] Repair may be done by open surgery or by laparoscopic surgery.[1] Open surgery has the benefit of possibly being done under local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia.[1] Laparoscopic surgery generally has less pain following the procedure.[1][5]

In 2015 inguinal, femoral and abdominal hernias affected about 18.5 million people.[6] About 27% of males and 3% of females develop a groin hernia at some time in their life.[1] Groin hernias occur most often before the age of one and after the age of fifty.[2] Globally, inguinal, femoral and abdominal hernias resulted in 60,000 deaths in 2015 and 55,000 in 1990.[4][7]


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