A hernia is the protrusion of an intrabdominal organ through a weakness in the abdominal wall. An inguinal hernia is the most common type, representing around 75% of all hernias, and it occurs when the herniary sac form at the level of the lower abdominal wall, which separates the abdominal cavity from the groin.
The inguinal hernia can from when you are a baby due to an inborn weakness of the internal inguinal ring, and it is called an indirect inguinal hernia, or it can occur as an adult due to the formation of a weak point in your abdominal wall, and they are called direct inguinal hernias.
The most common symptom of a hernia is a bulge on either side of the pubic bone. Additionally, the patient can feel pressure, discomfort, burning, or even pain. This bulge tends to increase in size when the intraabdominal pressure increases when the patient strains or coughs.
An inguinal hernia can be asymptomatic, and the bulge can be reduced without significant complications. Nevertheless, this bulge can increase in size over time, and even the intraabdominal organ can get trapped inside the sac, and their blood flow can be compromised; this is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgical resolution to save the organ from necrosis.
Signs and symptoms of alert that require you to go immediately to the emergency department are sudden feelings of pain that quickly intensifies, changes in the color of the bulge to red or purple, nausea, vomiting, or fever.
The only management for an inguinal hernia is surgery, but not all hernias need to be repaired immediately; it will depend on its size, how bothersome the symptoms are, and the risks of a complication.