Groin hernia symptoms comprise pain, swelling and redness in the groin region. If the symptoms are not dealt with at the right time, groin hernia can become a life-threatening condition.
Before we begin to understand the different groin hernia symptoms, let me clarify; groin hernia is also known as inguinal hernia, as there is a lot of confusion between the two. Groin hernia can be observed as a visible lump in the groin region. It can be caused by strenuous activities like straining while defecation or urination, hoisting heavy objects, after a surgery, etc. Groin hernias can also be present at birth and even be caused by pregnancy, aging and injury. Hernia occurring in the groin, involves a loop of intestine getting trapped in the weak abdominal muscles of the groin. The other type of hernia that affects both men and women is a hernia characterized by inflammation in the inner regions of the groin folds. In men the blood vessels and spermatic cord pass through the inguinal canal, whereas, in women, the connective tissue binding the uterus slips out of the abdomen into tissues near the vaginal opening. Groin hernia is more commonly seen to occur in men.
Symptoms of Groin Hernia in Adults
Depending on the cause and structures involved, the symptoms of groin hernia will differ from one person to another. Nevertheless, some of the symptoms are as follows:
- Mass, lump or swelling in the groin
- Gnawing pain in the scrotum
- Pain worsening while standing or walking
- Mass in the groin becomes tender to touch
- Mass gets bigger on coughing
- Vibrations felt in the mass while coughing
- General abdominal discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain and heaviness in the groin
- Swelling in the groin region
- Mass in the groin hurts severely, but reduces on lying down
- Burning sensation in the groin
- Pain in the groin while lifting something or straining
- Abdominal distension
At its onset a groin hernia may appear as a small marble-shaped bump under the skin. This bump will generally not induce any kind of pain, but will conduce to some amount of discomfort. As time progresses, the pressure applied by the inner organs on the debilitated abdominal wall increases and the lump grows in size. However, during sudden strenuous activities like heavy weightlifting, etc. the lump in the groin can be formed right away. Having said this, sometimes groin hernia may not be accompanied by any noticeable symptoms and may be discovered accidentally over a routine medical checkup.
Groin Hernia Symptoms in Children
Groin hernia can be present right from the time a baby is born. It is seen mainly in baby boys, especially premature babies. Unlike hernias in adults, hernias in newborns is not due to weak abdominal walls, but due to incomplete closure of openings in the abdominal walls. Besides newborns, groin hernias can also occur in older children, wherein it occurs due to weak abdominal walls.
One can notice the lump in the groin or swelling in the scrotum, while the baby is crying, coughing, straining while defecating or urinating. If you observe some swelling near your baby’s scrotal sac, immediately after birth, then it is a normal phenomenon and will disappear in a few days time. However, if your baby’s groin features excessive swelling, bleeding, redness and excruciating pain, call your health care provider immediately. In older children, the lump may be visible while standing, coughing or passing bowel movements.
Groin hernias can be retractable and the protruding parts can be shoved back (gently) to their respective places. When they are not retractable, they are termed as incarcerated hernias. If the lump in your groin gets larger and harder and if you are unable to push the lump into the abdominal wall, you need to see the doctor immediately. Hernias if left untreated can lead to trapping of the intestine in the abdominal walls. Since the intestine is trapped, it will have its blood flow cut off and result in death of some tissues. This condition can be life-threatening and needs to corrected by surgery as soon as possible. Thus, immediate corrective measures need to be undertaken.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.