Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hernia - Addressing groin swelling

The most common cause of a swelling in the groin is a hernia, which means
a bulge of abdominal contents through a weak spot in the muscles. Hernias
may occur in different places; in the groin, a hernia is called an inguinal
hernia.

Hernias usually develop where the weaker muscle areas can’t withstand an
increased pressure in your abdomen. Imagine yourself holding a balloon the
size of a tennis ball in your hands. When you close your fist, the pressure
in the balloon increases, and when you press hard enough and leave small
gaps between your fingers, parts of the balloon squeeze through these gaps.
A hernia develops on the same principle. Persistent coughing, lifting heavy
objects or straining when opening your bowels increases the pressure within
your abdomen and leads to the weaker points of muscles in the groin being
stretched. Fatty tissue or part of the bowel can then push through like a balloon
between your fingers.

Hernia symptoms may occur suddenly or develop gradually over a period of
days, weeks or months. Typical features are:

✓ A lump in your groin that may go away when you lie down and comes
back on straining or coughing. You may or may not be able to push this
lump back yourself.'

✓ An aching or dragging sensation (a feeling of ‘heaviness’) in your groin.
If you develop a hernia, your usual options are to wait and see or to have it
repaired with a surgical procedure. You can discuss your options with your
GP; what you ultimately do depends on the severity of your symptoms, the
size of the hernia, the presence of other symptoms and your general health.
Rarely, you may develop what’s called a strangulated hernia. Seek medical help
immediately if you develop a sudden severe pain in a previous swelling and if
you vomit in connection with groin pain and swelling.

Many other causes may be responsible for a swelling in your groin, so visit
your GP for further assessment when you’re concerned.

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