FAQ - frequently asked questions

Here we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Please click on the questions to read the answers.

What is an inguinal hernia?

A hernia, in particular an inguinal hernia, is the protrusion of an organ or the fascia of an organ through the abdominal wall that normally contains it. Most hernias occur when a part of the intestine pushes through a weak point in the abdominal wall, thereby forming a protrusion on the surface of the body which can sometimes be seen, felt and touched. Hernias can occur in areas of the navel, the groin or any area which has been subject to surgery at some stage. Accordingly, they are referred to as umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia or incisional hernia. In infants, inguinal hernias are often already present at birth. In adults, the hernias develop over several months or years.

How can you identify an inguinal hernia?

Hernias can be seen, felt and touched from the outside. Hernias appear as a protrusion of your abdominal wall or groin. If you reduce the pressure in your abdomen, or lie down, hernias usually disappear, although this is not always the case. You may also experience a burning and dragging pain in your groin, which intensifies during physical activity.

Who is prone to inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernia is the most common surgical disorder. It occurs more frequently than even appendicitis. Inguinal hernia occurs mostly in men, since during development, the testes move to the scrotum through the abdominal wall, thereby causing a weak point in the abdominal wall. This weak point in the abdominal wall is the reason why men suffer from inguinal hernia more often. In women, pregnancy and birth lead to a massive increase in the pressure in the abdominal wall, thus increasing the incidence of hernias. However, the hernias tend to occur at different places in the abdominal wall.

Will my inguinal hernia disappear by itself?

No! An untreated inguinal hernia will not disappear or improve by itself. Sometimes the situation does not deteriorate over the years. An inguinal hernia which retracts to the abdominal cavity by itself when lying down (reducible hernia) may be painful, but does not pose an immediate health risk. An irreducible hernia which cannot be pushed back into the abdominal cavity, on the other hand, may pose a risk by leading to strangulation and loss of blood supply. This is called a strangulated or incarcerated hernia. This is an emergency situation, immediate surgery is indicated.

How can I relieve the associated symptoms?

Limiting physical activity and refraining from lifting heavy loads can offer temporary relief from abdominal pain. Wearing special bandages/support can also help to temporarily relieve the pain. However, surgery is necessary to permanently treat hernia. Surgery offers two advantages: 1. Strangulation or incarceration is prevented. 2. The hernia surgery relieves you from discomfort and pain.

Should I undergo surgery?

This can only be decided in consultation with your doctor. He can inform you about the results of the examination and discuss suitable treatment options with you. There is no reason to suffer, your doctor will be able to help.

Links

The following links offer more detailed information on the topic of hernias/hernia surgery: