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Who is more prone to developing inguinal hernia?
Men are more prone to developing small intestinal gas in the inguinal area (hernia), with a ratio of approximately 6:1 compared to women. The reason behind this is that during the fetal stage, the testicles in males descend from their original position within the abdominal cavity through the inguinal canal and into the scrotum. During this descent, a portion of the abdominal lining called the peritoneum accompanies the testicles and forms a small intestinal sac. Normally, this sac closes on its own, but if it fails to close properly, it results in a hernia.
What are the symptoms of inguinal hernia?
Patients may discover a lump in the inguinal area (above the crease of the thigh), which becomes more noticeable when standing or walking but naturally shrinks when the patient lies down. The lump tends to become more prominent when the patient coughs, experiences constipation, or exerts force. The lump may be accompanied by mild pain. However, if the pain persists or becomes severe, it may indicate that the small intestine is trapped at the entrance of the small intestinal sac, resulting in an incarcerated hernia. This can even impede the blood circulation in the small intestine, leading to tissue necrosis and causing strangulated hernia. If a patient experiences the symptoms described above, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for inguinal hernia?
Conservative treatment can never cure an inguinal hernia. Surgical intervention is currently the only method to resolve small intestinal gas (hernia). Surgery can be divided into two types: traditional open surgery and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. During the surgery, the doctor will locate the hernia sac and remove it. Then, an synthetic fiber mesh is used to cover the abdominal wall defect to prevent recurrence.
Surgical risk and chance of recurrence?
Both conventional and minimally invasive hernia repair surgeries are considered to be very safe procedures, with a low chance of complications. Common complications include surgical wound infection and accumulation of fluid in the scrotum. Serious complications are rare and may include infection of the synthetic fiber mesh or inflammation of the testicles. The recurrence rate of the surgery is approximately 1-2%.
When should surgery be scheduled for children?
Doctors advise that if a child is found to have inguinal hernia, surgery should be promptly scheduled. The reason is that a hernia does not resolve on its own. Instead, there is a risk of the small intestine becoming trapped at the entrance of the hernia sac, leading to incarcerated hernia and this potentially obstructing the blood circulation in the small intestine. This can result in tissue necrosis and the development of strangulated hernia, posing a life-threatening risk.