What is the best course of action for an inguinal hernia?


Quick Answer

Surgery is the only treatment for an inguinal hernia, and it is recommended by many doctors because it prevents strangulation of the intestine, explains WebMD. The risk of strangulation does not increase with time, and some patients decide to avoid the procedure when the hernia is small or asymptomatic.

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Full Answer

An inguinal hernia occurs when a piece of intestine or omentum protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal wall, describes Mayo Clinic. The most common causes include an increase of pressure in the abdominal wall, a pre-existing weakness in the abdominal wall, or a combination of both. Risk factors include straining during a bowel movement or urination, lifting heavy objects, ascites, pregnancy, chronic coughing or sneezing, and being overweight.

Men are more likely to develop an inherent weakness in the abdominal wall because of their anatomy and its development before and after birth, according to Mayo Clinic. The inguinal canal is the area where inguinal hernias develop. Before birth, the testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum through this canal. After birth, the canal closes and leaves a small opening for the spermatic cord to pass through. Failure of the canal to properly close creates a weak spot in the abdomen and increases the risk for inguinal hernia later in life.

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