Hernia surgeries are among the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. Each year, 1 million people — mostly men — undergo surgery to repair an inguinal hernia, bringing them much-needed relief.
While not everyone who has a hernia needs surgery, inguinal hernias can get to the point where repair becomes a quality-of-life issue. To explain when this point occurs for most, the skilled and experienced team of general surgeons at Rockwall Surgical Specialists have pulled together three situations in which hernia surgery may be the best path forward.
An inguinal hernia explained
If you’re reading this blog, you likely already know what occurs when you have an inguinal hernia, but we want to provide a quick review in case it’s unclear.
In very basic terms, an inguinal hernia is when contents of your lower abdomen bulge through the inguinal canals, on either side of your groin. In most cases, the “contents” we’re referring to are fat and a piece of the small intestine, though it can be an ovary for a woman.
Inguinal hernias occur far more often in men — its prevalence is 27% in men and 3% in women. The reason behind the gender disparity is a matter of anatomy — men already have an opening in their groin for their testicles.
When your inguinal hernia needs help
People can live with inguinal hernias that pop in and out without any issues, but some people encounter problems, especially if the condition worsens. These problems include:
Let’s start with a symptom that’s no fun to live with — pain and discomfort. Patients often describe this pain to us as burning, aching, or heaviness in the groin area. Often, the discomfort flares with certain movements that place pressure on the hernia, such as lifting or coughing.
If your inguinal hernia starts to become increasingly uncomfortable, and even painful, it’s time to see your doctor.
Please note that if you develop sudden and severe pain in your groin, you should seek help right away as you might have developed a strangulated hernia.
2. The bulge gets bigger
Many people can see the results of the hernia in the form of a small bulge that’s visible in the groin area. If this bulge starts to get bigger or stays visible for longer, it likely means that the hernia is getting worse and warrants attention.
3. It’s affecting your activity levels
Another reason many of our patients decide to undergo surgery is that they don’t want to curb their activities to accommodate the hernia anymore. For example, if you lead an active life but your hernia acts up when you exercise, it might be better to repair the hernia than to stop exercising.
Repairing your inguinal hernia
If surgery is the best option for your inguinal hernia, we want to assure you that we use the most advanced techniques available at Rockwall Surgical Specialists.
In most cases, we can perform a laparoscopic repair of your hernia, which means we only need to make very small incisions. Using a tiny camera and specialized instruments, we go in through the small incision and place a mesh over the weak spot in your abdominal wall to repair your hernia. Thanks to the small incisions, your recovery is much faster than with open surgery.
The next step is yours. If you suspect that you might need to address your inguinal hernia with surgical repair, please contact us at one of our Texas locations — in Rockwall, Rowlett, Greenville, Terrell, or Forney — to set up an appointment.