A Hernia is a protrusion caused by the intra-abdominal contents pressing against the weakened muscles of the abdominal wall. A Hernia usually becomes more apparent when straining occurs, such as during exercise, heavy lifting or prolonged standing. Hernias are more common in men than women.
An Inguinal Hernia is the most common type of hernia in both men and women, with men having a much higher occurrence rate compared to females. Inguinal Hernias occurs at two distinctive age peaks. The first peak is from late teens to early 30s while the second peak is from the 50s and onwards. An Inguinal Hernia appears as a lump at the inguinal region, which is located just above the groin on both sides of the midline. In long-standing cases, the Inguinal Hernia can extend downwards into the scrotum, giving rise to an enlarged scrotum.
An Inguinal Hernia can cause a sensation of heaviness at the inguinal region. In more severe or long-standing cases, this can manifest as pain. The above symptoms can be aggravated during times of straining. Occasionally, an Inguinal Hernia can manifest as an emergency with sudden swelling associated with severe pain. In situations where the intestinal obstruction has occurred, vomiting, distension (swelling) of the entire abdomen and the absence of passage of motion or gas will occur.
Repair of an Inguinal Hernia can be done as a keyhole (laparoscopic) or open surgery. In almost all elective cases, a non-absorbable mesh will be laid down to strengthen the area of weakness and will greatly reduce the chance of recurrence. An inguinal hernia repair is carried out as day surgery and the operation usually takes about 1.5 hours. The patient is able to walk about immediately after the surgery.
A Femoral Hernia occurs less commonly than an inguinal hernia. However, a patient with a Femoral Hernia tends to have pain or intestinal obstruction much more commonly than an inguinal hernia.
A Femoral Hernia manifests as a lump in the groin region or at the upper inner thigh. The lump is much more likely to be painful and tender compared to an inguinal hernia.
A Femoral Hernia is repaired in a similar fashion to that of an inguinal hernia. A mesh is laid down to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes can occur in the groin, either singularly or in multiples. These will similarly manifest as lumps in the groin, though lymph nodes tend to be firmer and also rubbery in texture.
The common causes of enlarged Lymph Nodes include blood (haematological) cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma, infection of the lower limb or a reactive lymph node. Reactive lymph nodes enlarge in response to an infection but fail to shrink in size subsequently when the infection is cleared.
Any enlarged Lymph Node warrants surgery to have the enlarged lymph node removed and examined in the lab under a microscope. No enlarged lymph node should be ignored or left alone.