Do Inguinal Hernias Always Need Surgery?

by Anvika aryaDecember 29, 2022
Do Inguinal Hernias Always Need Surgery?

An inguinal hernia is one of the most common types of hernia that occurs when the tissue inside the intestine pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. The resulting swelling might be painful, especially when you cough, bend, or lift heavy objects; however, many hernias do not cause pain. Also, an inguinal hernia isn’t always dangerous, but in some cases, it can lead to life-threatening complications.

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Types of Inguinal Hernia

There are two types of inguinal hernia: direct and indirect. While a direct inguinal hernia penetrates through the wall of your inguinal canal, an indirect inguinal hernia enters your inguinal canal through the top. A direct hernia occurs in adults due to weakening abdominal muscles and chronic pressure on the muscle wall. An indirect inguinal hernia usually occurs because of a congenital disability.

Besides this, a hernia can further be classified into incarcerated and strangulated inguinal hernia. While incarcerated inguinal hernia isn’t reducible and cannot be pushed back into place, a strangulated inguinal hernia is a more serious and life-threatening issue.

What Causes an Inguinal Hernia?

Several factors can make a person susceptible to an inguinal hernia. Below mentioned are a few reasons:

Weakness in the abdominal wall

A weak spot that’s present since birth

Congenital differences in the strength of collagen

Chronic coughing or sneezing Chronic straining to urinate or pass stool

Strenuous exercise or manual labor

Standing for hours at a time

Pressure from chronic obesity

Age-related tissue degeneration

How is an Inguinal Hernia Diagnosed?

A physical examination is enough to diagnose an inguinal hernia. A doctor may see and feel the hernia by asking you to stand, cough or strain. However, if your hernia is not apparent, your doctor might suggest an imaging test, such as an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.

What is the Best Treatment for Inguinal Hernia?

Doctors generally recommend surgery for most inguinal hernias; however, if an adult has a small hernia that is not causing any symptoms, they might take a wait-and-watch approach under regular supervision. But the hernia will likely need treatment. Further, if you have certain health conditions that can make a surgical treatment less safe for you, you and your doctor need to weigh the risk and the benefits together.

What are the Different Types of Surgery?

The type of surgery you have will depend on your medical condition, previous surgical history, and your surgeon's judgment.  

Open Surgery: Open surgery is a traditional method to repair a hernia. A surgeon performs open surgery by making an extended cut across your pelvis to open up your pelvic cavity.

Laparoscopic Surgery: It is a less invasive but complicated technique. Under laparoscopic surgery, several smaller cuts are made, which allow the surgeon to insert a laparoscope and use long, thin instruments to repair the hernia.  

Robotic Hernia: Like laparoscopic surgery, it also uses a laparoscope. The only difference is that an operating surgeon sits and handles the surgical instruments from a console.

Usually, people fully recover from an inguinal hernia repair within six weeks, with many being able to perform light activities in about two weeks.

In many cases, a doctor may also be able to massage your hernia back into place and might suggest that you wear a belt or truss to hold the hernia in. It may stop the growth.

What if an Inguinal Hernia is Left Untreated?

Make sure you consult a doctor as soon as you get inguinal hernia symptoms. If left untreated, complications may increase over time, especially in children, as they are still growing, and their hernia will enlarge faster. In women, an inguinal hernia is likely to have a hidden femoral hernia behind it which can only be found and treated through surgery.

Possible Complications of Hernia Repair Surgery

All have a low risk of certain general complications. These may include:

Damage to surrounding organs, blood vessels, or nerves


Wound-healing issues


Reactions to the anesthesia

Blood clots

Difficulty in urinating Chronic pain

When is the Right Time to Call my Doctor about my Hernia?

It is recommended to contact your health provider in case you start showing inguinal hernia symptoms, or you experience any of these complications before or after surgery:

Increasing pain, swelling, or redness

If you face difficulty while urinating

Difficulty in passing stool  

Nausea and vomiting

Fever or chills

In case the hernia looks bigger  


An inguinal hernia is one of the most common conditions that affect almost 25% of all men in their lifetime. Over time, different techniques have been developed and implemented to repair inguinal hernias successfully.

If you or your child start showing inguinal hernia symptoms and are diagnosed with it, start the treatment at the earliest before it becomes more complicated. Connect with the experts today at Max Healthcare for further information and expert guidance.

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