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Groin Hernia—Adult

(Hernia, Groin—Adult; Hernia, Inguinal—Adult; Inguinal Hernia—Adult; Hernia, Femoral—Adult; Hernia, Femoral—Adult; Femoral Hernia—Adult)

Definition

A groin hernia is abdominal tissue or fat pushing through the abdominal wall. There are 2 main types:
A hernia can trap a section of intestine, leading to blockage or problems with blood flow. This is called strangulation. It is a medical emergency and requires care right away.
Inguinal Hernias
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Causes

The abdominal wall wraps around your middle from the bottom of your ribs to your pelvis. It helps to contain and support your abdominal organs and tissue. When this area is weakened, these internal tissues can press through can create the hernia. The weakness may be caused by a problem with the abdominal wall development before birth, injuries, or wear and tear of the muscles.

Risk Factors

Inguinal hernias are more common in men and femoral hernias are more common in women.
Abdominal wall weakness is more common in older adults. Other factors that may increase your chance of abdominal wall weakness include:

Symptoms

Many times, there are no symptoms with a groin hernia. In those who do have them, the symptoms may include:
More serious symptoms may need emergency care:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Imaging studies are only done if the diagnosis in not clear by physical exam.

Treatment

Watchful waiting is an option for those with inguinal hernias who do not have symptoms. This means you and your doctor will monitor your hernia for growth or the appearance of more serious symptoms. Femoral hernias are at higher risk of strangulation. Watchful waiting is not advised, especially for women.
Femoral hernias and inguinal hernias that cause symptoms are repaired with surgery. The abdominal tissue will be pushed back in and the opening will be closed. Sometimes, a mesh material will be placed to help support the area.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of a groin hernia:

RESOURCES

American College of Physicians https://www.acponline.org

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Garvey JF, Read JW, Turner A. Sportsman hernia: what can we do? Hernia. 2010;14(1):17-25.

Groin hernia in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 6, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2015.

Groin hernia: inguinal and femoral repair. American College of Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/hernrep.ashx. Updated May 2013. Accessed March 16, 2015.

Hawn MT, Itani KM, Giobbie-Hurder A, McCarthy M Jr, Jonasson O, Neumayer LA. Patient-reported outcomes after inguinal herniorrhaphy. Surgery. 2006;140(2):198-205.

Inguinal hernia. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/inguinal-hernia/Pages/facts.aspx. Updated May 2014. Accessed January 14, 2015.

Laurence I, Ngan-Soo E, Gandhi S. The role of multi-detector computed tomography in imaging hernias. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2011;72(2):72-77.

3/16/2015 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Fitzgibbons RJ Jr, Forse RA. Clinical practice. Groin hernias in adults. N Engl J Med. 2015;372(8):756-763.

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