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Think You Have a Hernia?

Are you asking yourself, “what’s that pain in my groin?” Although not the only type of hernia, most inguinal hernias in adults result from strain on the abdominal muscles that are weakened by age or by congenital factors.

Activities and conditions that are associated with the appearance of an inguinal hernia include:
• Lifting heavy objects
• Sudden twists, pulls, or muscle strains
• Marked gains in weight, causing an increase in pressure on the abdominal wall
• Chronic constipation, which places a strain on the abdomen while on the toilet
• Repeated attacks of coughing

Signs and symptoms of inguinal hernias can include:
• Visible bulges in the scrotum, groin, or abdominal wall
• A feeling of weakness or pressure in the groin
• A burning feeling at the bulge
• A gurgling feeling

Sometimes the onset of a hernia is gradual, with no symptoms other than the development of a bulge. Other times, the hernia will occur suddenly with a feeling that something has “given way.” This feeling can be accompanied by pain or discomfort.

A hernia is called reducible if the protruding sac of tissue can be pushed back into place inside the abdomen. If the hernia cannot be pushed back, it is called irreducible, incarcerated, or imprisoned.

In some cases, an irreducible hernia gets so pinched that the blood supply is cut off and the tissue swells. Rapidly worsening pain or a tender lump is a signal that the hernia has strangulated. When strangulation occurs, the tissue can die quickly and become infected. Within hours this condition can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

Learn about other types of hernias.



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