A hernia is a condition in which part of the intestine bulges
through a weak area in muscles in the abdomen. An inguinal hernia
occurs in the groin (the area between the abdomen and thigh). It is
called "inguinal" because the intestines push through a weak spot in
the inguinal canal, which is a triangle-shaped opening between
layers of abdominal muscle near the groin. Obesity, pregnancy, heavy
lifting, and straining to pass stool can cause the intestine to push
against the inguinal canal.
Symptoms of inguinal hernia may include a lump in the groin near
the thigh; pain in the groin; and, in severe cases, partial or
complete blockage of the intestine. The doctor diagnoses hernia by
doing a physical exam and by taking x rays and blood tests to check
for blockage in the intestine.
The main treatment for inguinal hernia is surgery to repair the
opening in the muscle wall. This surgery is called herniorrhaphy.
Sometimes the weak area is reinforced with steel mesh or wire. This
operation is called hernioplasty. If the protruding intestine
becomes twisted or traps stool, part of the intestine might need to
be removed. This surgery is called bowel resection. (Bowel is
another word for intestine.)
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The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
collects resource information on digestive diseases for the Combined
Health Information Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by
health-related agencies of the Federal Government. This database
provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health
information and health education resources.
Combined Health Information Database (CHID)
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