Figure 3-7. Truss for a hernia.
INGUINAL HERNIA (LOWER GI SYSTEM)
a. Definition. An inguinal hernia is a very common type of hernia in which a
loop of intestine slips through the inguinal canal and appears in the groin or scrotum of
a male or in the round ligament of a female. This type is more common in men than in
women and accounts for about 75 percent of all hernias.
b. Etiology. Inguinal hernias are considered to be congenital or acquired. A
congenital cause refers to the fact that the weakness in the abdominal wall was present
at birth. The actual bulging out of an organ may not happen for years after birth. During
prenatal development, the muscle wall above the spermatic cord may not have closed
tightly. Years later, the person moves or lifts heavy objects, and then a hernia
develops. A hernia can develop slowly caused by lifting and straining over a period of
time; for example, lifting heaving objects or straining due to chronic constipation.
c. Signs/Symptoms. The typical inguinal hernia is first evidenced by a bulge in
the groin, accompanied by mild pain. The bulge is the organ pushing out in the hernial
sac which is not only visible but palpable. The mild pain at the beginning of this
problem progresses to more severe pain. The person experiences a heavy, dragging
sensation which becomes heavier when he exercises strenuously, strains, or coughs.
There is tenderness around the hernia when the person strains.