Do I need an operation?
These are the reasons for having your inguinal hernia repaired
a) The swelling that you can see and feel in the groin is uncomfortable, or even painful. when you stand or have been standing for a while.
b) The swelling is large and you often have to push it back with your hand (through your trouser pocket!). It’s embarassing.
c) There have been occasions when it does not go back when you lie down
NOTE – the swelling doesn’t have to be very large or very uncomfortable, BUT it does have to be there i.e. you do have to have a swelling – see below.
TWO IMPORTANT POINTS –
I never operate on someone who does not have a swelling. The swelling should ideally be visible (to you and to me). I want to clearly feel the swelling on examination. This has to be carried out with you standing. Lying down and coughing is a waste of time.
I never operate only on the basis of an ultrasound report.
Reasons for NOT having an operation, or at least thinking very hard before having surgery.
There is a small ‘bump’ – noticeable because you are fairly slim, but you have no discomfort.
There is a small ‘bump’ – noticeable because you are fairly slim, and although you have no discomfort, you are worried about “strangulation” [it’s not going to happen]
While being examined for something else a doctor pointed out to you a small swelling which gives you no symptoms at all.
You had some discomfort in the groin, your doctor sent you for an ultrasound, and the ultrasound report says you have an inguinal (or femoral) hernia. [but you cannot see or feel a lump when you put your hand over the area].
You had some discomfort in the groin, you were examined and told – yes there is a ”cough impulse”, and you do have an inguinal hernia which needs an operation, [but you cannot see or feel a lump when you look down or put your hand over the area].
You had an MRI or CT scan of the abdomen for something else, and the report mentions, coincidentally, that you have an inguinal or groin hernia.
Symptoms probably NOT a hernia
The following are groin symptoms which are rarely if ever (I am tempted to say never) due to an inguinal hernia
a) Pain or discomfort in the groin AFTER sports activities. A few hours later or even the next day.
b) Groin discomfort when getting in or out of a car.
c) Groin discomfort during a long car journey.
d) Groin discomfort when lying in bed or turning over in bed.