An inguinal hernia occurs when tissue, such as part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object. However, many hernias do not cause pain.
An inguinal hernia isn't necessarily dangerous. It doesn't improve on its own, however, and can lead to life-threatening complications.
Your doctor is likely to recommend surgery to fix an inguinal hernia that's painful or enlarging.
Inguinal hernia repair is a common surgical procedure
In this procedure requiring general anesthesia, the surgeon operates through several small incisions in your abdomen. The surgeon may use laparoscopic or robotic instruments to repair your hernia. Gas is used to inflate your abdomen to make the internal organs easier to see.
A small tube equipped with a tiny camera (laparoscope) is inserted into one incision. Guided by the camera, the surgeon inserts tiny instruments through other small incisions to repair the hernia using synthetic mesh.
People who have a minimally invasive repair might have less discomfort and scarring after surgery and a quicker return to normal activities. Long-term results of laparoscopic and open hernia surgeries are comparable.
Minimally invasive hernia surgery allows the surgeon to avoid scar tissue from an earlier hernia repair, so it might be a good choice for people whose hernias recur after open hernia surgery. It also might be a good choice for people with hernias on both sides of the body (bilateral).
Factors that contribute to developing an inguinal hernia include:
You can't prevent the congenital defect that makes you susceptible to an inguinal hernia. You can, however, reduce strain on your abdominal muscles and tissues. For example: