Signs of an Inguinal Hernia

Signs of an Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia is a type of abdominal hernia in which tissue protrudes from a weakened muscle area. It can potentially occur anywhere, but most occur in the abdomen or groin. Men have a 27% risk of getting this disease, and women have a 3% chance.

Inguinal hernias occur in the area where the leg meets the abdomen. They can occur on both sides of this line, and can be considered femoral hernias or inguinal hernias. After a man’s testicles drop before birth, if this area does not seal properly, there is a chance that an inguinal hernia can develop.


There are two types of inguinal hernias. An indirect inguinal hernia occurs when there is a weakness in the area that a man’s testicles have descended from before birth, also known as the internal inguinal ring.

A direct inguinal hernia occurs when there is a weakness on the floor of internal inguinal ring. It is more common in men over 40.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are:

  • A bulge in the scrotum or groin

o This bulge can start small and enlarge over a period of weeks or it can appear suddenly after strenuous activity

  • Pain or discomfort in the groin

o Many hernias do not cause pain, but you may experience intermittent or constant pain or discomfort

An inguinal hernia can cause the tissue to become trapped in the hernia. This is called strangulation and can lead to a loss of blood flow in the associated organ. Common symptoms of a strangulated hernia are:

  • Sudden paint
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Strangulated hernia more commonly occur in infants and children than in adults. For infants, it will usually bulge when they move or cry. They will experience the symptoms noted above for a strangulated hernia.

There are less common symptoms associated with inguinal hernias, but they can still occur. You may experience:

  • A feeling of heaviness, tugging, swelling or burning the area the hernia is located
  • Swollen scrotum in males
  • Swollen labia in females
  • Pain or discomfort that is alleviated when lying down

o This symptom is common in hernias that have begun to grow larger

Medical Attention

If you suspect you or someone in your family may have a strangulated hernia, it is important that you seek out immediate medical attention. A strangulated hernia needs immediate surgery and can worsen if steps are not taken.

An inguinal hernia can be uncomfortable and painful, making it essential to have it examined by a doctor right away. The sooner you seek out the medical attention you need, the sooner you can get back to doing what you love to do.