The abdominal wall isn't a solid sheet of muscle; it is made up of different layers. When a weakness or tear occurs in this muscle, part of the intestine bulges through and appears as a lump under the skin. The most common hernia occurs in the groin and is called inguinal hernia.
Inguinal - This is the most common form of Hernia and occurs in the groin, accounting for more than nine out of 10 hernias. Inguinal hernias affect more men than women, and are particularly common in middle age. A loop of intestine pushes against the small ring of muscle in the groin, eventually splitting the muscle fibers apart. These hernias are divided into 2 different types, direct and indirect.
An indirect inguinal hernia follows the pathway that the testicles made during prebirth development. It descends from the abdomen into the scrotum through the inguinal canal. The direct inguinal hernia occurs slightly to the inside of the site of the indirect hernia, in a place where the abdominal wall is naturally slightly thinner. It rarely will descend down towards the scrotum.
Femoral – This hernia causes a bulge below the inguinal crease, on the inner aspect of the thigh. Similar to the events that cause an inguinal hernia, intestines force their way through the weak muscle ring at the femoral canal until they protrude. This herniated section of bowel is at risk of strangulation, which is a serious complication requiring urgent medical attention. Femoral hernias are more common in women due to their wider and roomier pelvis.
Umbilical - a portion of the gut pushes through a muscular weakness near the navel, or belly button. This type of hernia is more common in newborns. Overweight women, or those who have had several pregnancies, are also at increased risk.
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