can an inguinal hernia heal itself
Men, Women

Can an Inguinal Hernia Heal Itself?

What is Inguinal Hernia?

Inguinal Hernia is actually an anatomical weakness or disruption of fibromuscular tissues of the body wall, wherein an abnormal protrusion of abdominal contents occurs. It occurs between an opening between layers of abdominal muscles near the groin.

Most hernias are groin hernias. Inguinal hernias are most common as the muscular anatomy in the inguinal region is weak and also due to weakness due to the presence of other structures.

What are the Common Causes of Inguinal Hernia?

Inguinal Hernia Occurs Due to:

  • Straining while using the toilet
  • Heavyweight lifting
  • Chronic constipation
  • In females due to pregnancy and pelvic anatomy as pregnancy increases the pressure in the abdomen
  • Obesity
  • Chronic cough seen in diseases like tuberculosis, bronchitis or even in smokers
  • Previous appendicectomy

An inguinal hernia will present as a soft bulge in the groin area or be swelling in the scrotum. Pain may or may not be associated with the swelling. The swelling is generally reducible i.e it can be pushed back through the area of weakness. One can self-diagnose simply by placing the hand over the area and coughing and impulse will be felt on the hand placed. When a hernia is associated with pain it is dragging in nature and worsen on any activity which will increase the abdominal pressure. It is a life threatening situation if nausea, vomiting, the absence of bowel movement occurs. This indicates incarcerated hernia which requires immediate surgical intervention.

Because of the way the testicles form, moving down the inguinal canal and creating gaps in the abdominal muscle after birth, men develop hernias more than women. Hence, an inguinal hernia is more likely to develop in males than in females.

Can an Inguinal Hernia Heal By Itself?

Next one would ask can it heal by itself, the answer would be no, the hernia cannot heal itself. However, if it is small with no impending signs of incarceration your physician might wait and watch for prognosis to intervene.

Is Surgery Necessary for Inguinal Hernia?

Hernia is treated by surgical intervention, earlier all hernias were operated which was the conventional treatment. It is now not the case however your surgeon will decide when there’s an absolute necessity for intervention. If the symptoms are tolerable and the bulge can be pushed back, one may choose to avoid activities that aggravate it. A belt can be worn for extra support to the area. The surgical treatment is a repair which can be done laparoscopically or by an open incision in the abdominal wall. Although surgical interventions are highly successful there is no guarantee there won’t be a recurrence.

Most people who have hernia repair surgery the average recovering time is about 3 weeks. You can mostly return to light activity after this period. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for another 3-4 weeks.

Can You Exercise With an Inguinal Hernia?

Exercises that involve heavy lifting, sudden twists or pulls may worsen a hernia and cause discomfort, according to the NDDIC. Weightlifting and other strenuous activities can increase abdominal pressure and possibly enlarge a small muscle tear. If lifting a heavy object is unavoidable, bend from your knees rather than your waist.
Aerobic exercises that don’t involve straining such as swimming or bicycling are generally recommended when you have a hernia. Water pressure and static cycling on a stationary exercise bike can help.

How to Reduce an Inguinal Hernia?

Self Therapies to Avoid Aggravating your Condition would be:

Dietary changes: If you have chronic constipation getting a high fiber diet and drinking plenty of water. These should help in preventing a lot of pressure which comes with straining

Exercise: If you are obese and need to lose weight, a watch on calorie intake and moderate physical exercise that does not cause stress is advisable. Ask a physical therapist on exercise that fits your condition.

The best is thing to do is avoid getting a hernia. Because chronic pressure on the weakened abdominal wall is the primary cause you should do all you can to avoid the risk factors that cause it.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sameer Kumar (MBBS, MS, FMAS, DMAS)Obstetrician & Gynecologist