How a Doctor Determines What Type of Inguinal Hernia You Have  

Your suspicions have been confirmed and you’ve been diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. Before you and your physician can move forward with repair and recovery, the first step is determining what type of inguinal hernia you have. 

Inguinal hernias aren’t always easy to diagnose with just a physical examination. Sometimes, an ultrasound or MRI is required to make an accurate diagnosis. That test should be given while you’re standing up, not laying down. Or, in medical terms, the ultrasound works best when you’re increasing pressure in the intra-abdominal area with the Valsalva maneuver. 

Once testing is complete, your physician will determine you’re dealing with one or more of three types on inguinal hernias. 

Indirect Inguinal Hernias

Indirect inguinal hernias also are called congenital inguinal hernias. In the womb, the testicle starts out in the pelvis.  Just before a boy is born the testicle leaves the pelvis and passes through a hole in the muscles and drops down into the scrotum.  That hole is supposed to close after the testicle goes by.  Indirect hernias are a result of that hole failing to close. Down the road, this hole can open again, and out pop the intestines that create the tell-tale bulge. 

Direct Inguinal Hernias

Direct inguinal hernias also are known as acquired inguinal hernias. Acquired is the key word here. Direct inguinal hernias are a result of a tear or weakness of the inguinal canal’s floor. A tear or general weakness occurs after an accident or injury or perpetual strain from use. Other major causes are chronic coughing, constipation, and urination difficulty due to an enlarged prostate. Smoking is another cause since smoking weakens connective tissue by affecting collagen. Direct inguinal hernias are found in the floor of the inguinal canal, as this area is the weakest part of the abdominal wall. 

Femoral Hernias

Femoral hernias are more common in women than men.  These hernias develop from a tear or weakness in the femoral canal.  This causes a small bulge and pain high on the inner thigh or in the groin area.  The bulge is usually small and difficult to feel.  An ultrasound is often needed to help with the diagnosis.

Can You Have More Than One Type of Hernia at a Time?

Absolutely, making it more important to see a physician who specializes in inguinal hernias and their repair to help ensure a full and complete recovery. 

Contact Dr. Brown today to schedule an appointment to determine what type of hernia you have, and the best way to treat it – without mesh.