If you feel a pain in your groin when you cough or lift something heavy, you may have what doctors call an inguinal hernia. It happens when a part of the small intestine or fat pushes through a weak area of the lower abdominal wall. This type of hernia is named for the inguinal canal. That’s a passage in the lower abdominal wall that contains blood vessels and nerves. In boys, the spermatic cord runs through the canal to the testicles.
An inguinal hernia could be a serious health risk, so you shouldn’t ignore symptoms. A physical exam is usually all it takes to diagnose the problem. If the hernia is large enough, you’ll need surgery to fix it.
Surgery can prevent strangulation. Surgical repair of an inguinal hernia is the only way to treat it. During the operation, the doctor moves the hernia into the abdomen and closes the opening in the abdominal wall with stitches.
An inguinal hernia can be quite painful, but it’s definitely treatable. If you think you have one, see your doctor. It won’t get better on its own.
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