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Hernia FAQs (cont.)

What exams and tests are used to diagnose a hernia?

A doctor will perform a physical exam.

  • If a person has an obvious hernia, the doctor will not require any other tests to make the diagnosis (if the person is healthy otherwise).
  • If a person has symptoms of a hernia (dull ache in the groin or other body area or pain with lifting or straining but without an obvious lump), the doctor may feel the area while increasing abdominal pressure (having you stand or cough). This action may make the hernia able to be felt. If a person might have an indirect inguinal hernia, the doctor will feel for the potential pathway and look for a hernia by inverting the skin of the scrotum with his or her finger.
  • The doctor may order an X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan.

The doctor will ask questions about the hernia:

  • When was it first noticed (unless the doctor discovered the hernia during a physical exam)?
  • Does the lump come and go? Can it be pushed back inside?
  • Has the lump grown larger or painful?
  • What activities give you discomfort from the hernia?

Your doctor may recommend surgery and refer you to a surgeon for the procedure.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/20/2015

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