An inguinal hernia occurs when fat inside the abdomen or a loop of intestine enters the inguinal canal, a tubular passage through the lower abdominal wall in the groin area, resulting a bulge. In men, inguinal hernias typically develop near the scrotum, on one or both sides. Inguinal hernia is more common in men than women 27% vs 3%. Some individuals are born with weak abdominal muscles and are more prone to develop a hernia. Others are caused by excessive strain on the abdominal wall from heavy lifting, weight gain, coughing, constipation or difficulty with urination. Inguinal hernias that enlarge, cause symptoms, or become incarcerated are treated surgically.
Symptoms include a bulge in one or both sides of the groin, discomfort or sharp pain when straining, lifting or exercising.
Hernia repair is among the most performed surgeries. More than one million hernia surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Recovery time varies depending on the size of the hernia, the technique used, and the age and overall health of the patient.