Why Are Men More Susceptible to Hernias?

Men are significantly more likely than women to develop a hernia, specifically inguinal hernias, which occur in your inner groin. The disparity comes down to a small difference in anatomy that finds 25% of men developing an inguinal hernia at some point in their lifetime, while only 2% of women do.

Understanding hernias

A hernia develops when an organ or tissue bulges through a weak spot in your muscles. Hernias aren’t life-threatening, but they don’t heal or go away on their own. A hernia can develop in many different areas, but the groin area — specifically in the inguinal canal — is the most common.

Treating a hernia involves surgically putting the tissue or organ back in the right place and repairing the weak part of the wall. Minimally invasive laparoscopic repair, a specialty at Rockwall Surgical Specialists, means fewer complications and faster recovery.

Men and inguinal hernia

Inguinal hernias can happen to women, but they’re far more common in men. This is because of men’s different anatomy in the groin area. Men have a small hole in the groin muscles necessary for blood vessels to pass through to their testicles. This slight difference makes men more susceptible to inguinal hernias than women.

Additionally, as men age, the abdominal wall can weaken in the inguinal area, raising the chances of hernia even more. What’s more, women have a few things in their favor when it comes to susceptibility to hernias. Because women need a strong lower abdominal area to hold their uterus in place and carry children, their inguinal area is reinforced with stronger structures that help to keep everything in place.

Other risk factors for hernias

Gender isn’t the only risk factor for hernias, and it’s important to know that when women get a hernia, they’re often deeper tissue hernias. This makes it more challenging to diagnose. In fact, hernias in women are often misdiagnosed as gynecological issues such as fibroids and cysts.

Other factors that increase your risk of getting a hernia include:

Family history

If you have a family member who’s had a hernia, you’re more likely to develop one. Genetic abnormalities of collagen are responsible for hernias in some people. Collagen is the protein that makes up your skin and hair and is a major component of muscle tissue.

Obesity

It’s known that obesity increases the risk for a wide variety of chronic diseases. It also boosts your chances of developing a hernia. The accumulation of excess fat tissue makes developing a hernia more likely.

Constipation

If you suffer from constipation, straining when having bowel movements boosts the risk of hernia.

Heavy lifting

Regular heavy lifting, whether part of your job or hobby, may cause a hernia to develop, especially if you have other risk factors for hernias. Using proper form and avoiding straining when lifting can help lower the chance of developing a hernia.  

Chronic cough

You may be surprised to know that coughing can raise abdominal pressure more than heavy lifting, and this pressure against the abdominal wall can cause hernia. Patients with chronic cough, bronchitis, and asthma are at risk.

Surgery

Having surgery in which the incision is in your abdominal or pelvic region puts you at risk for developing a hernia. If you’re concerned about a hernia, talk to your surgeon about postsurgical care and steps you can take to decrease the risk of postoperative hernia.

If you’ve been diagnosed with or suspect that you have a hernia, schedule an appointment at the Rockwall Surgical Specialists. Our highly skilled team — Ashley Egan, MD, David Ritter, MD, and Jon Harris, MD — are experts at minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair hernias. We have locations in Rowlett, Rockwall, Greenville, and Forney, Texas. Call the office near you, or use our online scheduling tool to book online.

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