An inguinal hernia occurs when a small portion of the bowel bulges out through the inguinal canal—a passage or opening through the muscles of the abdominal wall—into the groin. The bulge usually contains tissue lining the inside of the abdomen as well as fatty tissue from inside the abdomen or a loop of intestine.
There are two types of inguinal hernias:
Symptoms of an inguinal hernia may come on gradually or suddenly and may include a bulge in the groin or scrotum and discomfort, pain, or a feeling of heaviness. Other symptoms may develop if tissue in the hernia becomes trapped (incarcerated) or if the blood supply to the trapped tissue is cut off (strangulated).
An inguinal hernia may require surgery. In some cases, hernias that are small and painless may never need to be repaired.
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