How are inguinal hernias treated?

As with many diseases and conditions, treatment of inguinal hernias begins with maintaining a program of regular medical care throughout the course of your life. Regular medical care allows your health care professional to provide early screening for many conditions. And with regular medical care, your health care professional can more promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for inguinal hernia.

The only cure for inguinal hernia is surgery, and it is typically performed when the hernia increases in size or becomes uncomfortable. During surgery, the protruding tissues and organs are pushed back into the abdominal cavity, the stretched portion of the peritoneum (the membrane lining the abdominal cavity) that protrudes is removed, and the peritoneal defect is closed. The opening in the abdominal wall is also closed, and it is often reinforced with mesh to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Small hernias may simply be monitored, and the use of wearable “trusses” can provide support for the area of herniation.

What are the potential complications of inguinal hernia?

Complications of untreated inguinal hernias can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of inguinal hernias include:

  • Adverse effects of surgical repair
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Intestinal strangulation
  • Necrosis (death) of tissues and gangrene, which may require removal of the dead tissues
  • Nerve damage
  • Shock
  • Testicular injury


  1. Hernia. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  2. Inguinal hernia. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).
  3. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  4. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

What is an inguinal hernia?

A hernia is a protrusion of tissue from one area of the body through the wall that is supposed to contain it. Hernias can be present at birth due to incomplete closure of a structure, or they may develop later due to increased pressure pushing against a weakened area of muscle or its fibrous sheath (fascia). Inguinal hernias, which occur in about five in 100 children, more frequently in boys th... Read more about inguinal herniaintroduction


What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?

Some inguinal hernias occur without symptoms. A bulge may be noticed in the groin, scrotum or labia. It may increase in size when abdominal pressure is increased, as occurs with coughing or heavy lifting. The area may be painful.

Common symptoms of inguinal hernias

Common symptoms of inguinal hernias include:

  • Bulging area or lump in the groin Read more about inguinal herniasymptoms


What causes inguinal hernias?

Inguinal hernias may be present at birth or they may develop over time. Hernias present at birth are called congenital hernias, and are also referred to as indirect hernias. They are a result of incomplete closure of the inguinal canal, the canal through which the testicles descend from their original intra-abdominal position into the scrotum. Direct inguinal hernias develop later in life as a ... Read more about inguinal herniacauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System

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