An incarcerated hernia is a possible complication of an inguinal hernia, and it involves bowel obstruction, which leads to vomiting, nausea, intense pain and loss of the ability to have a bowel movement, explains Mayo Clinic. It occurs when an intestinal loop becomes caught in the stomach wall's weak area.
Another potential complication of an inguinal hernia is strangulation, in which an incarcerated hernia impedes blood flow to a portion of the intestine, states Mayo Clinic. It is a life-threatening medical emergency due to the possibility of having dead bowel tissue.
Individuals with inguinal hernias must undergo surgical repair, because the hernias can grow larger over time and add pressure on nearby tissues, notes Mayo Clinic. Men often experience pain and swelling when hernias reach the scrotum.
Inguinal hernias result from the protuberance of soft tissue through a weak region in the abdominal muscles, according to Mayo Clinic. The soft tissue is typically part of the intestine or the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. The lump often causes pain, particularly while bending over, coughing or lifting a heavy item. While inguinal hernias are not initially dangerous, they eventually become a cause for concern as they do not resolve without medical treatment and can lead to fatal complications. Doctors may suggest surgery to repair hernias that cause pain or become larger.