Groin Hernia Information and Support
 
What are the symptoms of groin (or inguinal) hernia. What causes it? How can you tell if you have one?
In males, about two months before birth, the testicles descend into the scrotum, passing through a gap in the groin, followed by the spermatic tubes, which later will convey sperm from the testicles to the penis. The gap is normally tightly closed, just relaxing enough to allow sperm to squeeze through but otherwise fitting pretty snugly together.
       A hernia occurs when the gap weakens. This can be caused by a number of superficial factors such as coughing, lifting, pulling a heavy weight, or overexertion as in sport (groin strain). The inguinal canal opens slightly and the peritoneum or intestines bulge through the groin. This is the bulge of a groin hernia and causes severe pain. The triggering factor is only the straw that breaks the camelís back. The weakness in the groin wall which allows the hernia to occur actually develops over a prolonged period, encouraged by factors such as overweight, smoking or a diet low in vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals needed for strong connective tissue.
      To confirm whether your groin pain is due to a hernia you need to consult a doctor, but if you persistently suffer a shooting pain in the groin when you cough or exert yourself, or during ejaculation, then it is very likely you have a groin (inguinal) hernia...more
Medical treatment of groin hernia
Inguinal or groin hernia is the major cause of groin pain in men. Until recently most doctors, after making the diagnosis, would have advised immediate surgery to repair the hernia. With increasing concerns about the high rate of long-term post-operative complications, this trend is slowing down. Unfortunately without any external restraint or support an untreated inguinal hernia tends to get worse. A special belt, truss or other support garment can be prescribed to help control the hernia, but frequently is not. The convex pads in these devices may press into the hernia, which relieves the pain but hinders the natural healing process. (The support garment available from The Support Company is a unique patented product with flat pads that do not have this adverse effect.)...more
Inguinal hernia repair operations, surgery
There are two main surgical techniques. The Bassini method is also the basis for the Shouldice method. It uses sutures to tie the sides of the inguinal gap together. The repair can give way under strain and the insertion of sutures can weaken the flesh, leading to tearing and recurrence of the hernia.
      The Mesh method involves folding a patch of plastic mesh over and under the inguinal gap and then stapling it down. Its success depends upon the flesh growing in and around and through the mesh but this can also be a problem if the mesh has to be removed because it was misplaced or the surgeon accidentally trapped a nerve. Removal involves taking out a lot of flesh as well.
      Both methods can be performed by direct incision, i.e. cutting open the abdomen directly above the area of the hernia, or by laparascopy, where a tube is inserted through a small hole and the operation is performed by remote control via a televised view of the area. The scar is smaller with laparascopy, but the risk of error can be higher.
      A groin hernia operation is deemed successful if there is no bulge in the lower abdomen afterwards. But for the patient who is suffering long-term post-operative pain this is not the best measure of success...more
Non-surgical treatments
Recently there are signs of a reversal in medical trends. Many GPs or family doctors are following the advice recommended by medical researchers who have compared both treated and untreated men with groin hernias. Their findings are that unacceptable side effects and relapses after surgery are so frequent that it is better to avoid surgery unless the individual is suffering severe groin pain. This approach is known as "watchful waiting". A combination of watchful waiting with a flat pad support garment, a diet and exercises to minimise hernia symptoms is now a very real non-surgical alternative which can even help the hernia to repair itself...more
Can an inguinal hernia repair itself?
Before hernia surgery became routine, the natural healing of inguinal hernias was considered commonplace. Given the right conditions, and provided that surgery (which causes scar tissue) has not taken place, groin hernias are certainly capable of repairing themselves, just like any other injury to the body. Click here for information and case histories.
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