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Groin problems and hernias of varying types are extremely common injuries which are often associated with playing sports, when the pelvic region is subjected to significant twisting (torsional) loads. A hernia arises when an inner part of the body pushes through a weakness in the tissue wall or muscle that surrounds the area. An inguinal hernia is the most commonly presenting hernia, and it occurs when a section of the abdominal contents protrudes through a weakened area of connective tissue in the groin — specifically in the inguinal canal.
There are several symptoms that point to the diagnosis of inguinal hernia. These include groin or abdominal hernia pain, often following sport, that progressively worsens over time. This hernia pain is generally worse when sneezing or coughing, and pain in the groin presents when the legs are squeezed together. A hernia support belt can be useful at this stage as it allows pressure to be applied to the affected area, which helps to both lessen the hernia pain and to stop it bulging out.
Typically, an inguinal hernia repair is undertaken through surgery. This is no longer the worrying prospect it once was, as surgery for this condition has been positively revolutionised in recent years. It is now a relatively simple and routine procedure that is often performed through a keyhole incision under local anaesthetic. With careful reference to the patient’s specific circumstances, a tailored surgical technique will be selected by the surgeon, and in straightforward cases the operation is a quick and simple one. A more complicated presentation may require a more invasive technique. However, in the majority of cases, rehabilitation after hernia surgery is implemented quickly — in many cases the day after the repair is performed. The wearing of a hernia support belt is often recommended at this stage. These elasticated belts are designed to protect and support the area whilst you get back on your feet.
You should follow the hospital’s care instructions to the letter once you are discharged. You will need to keep your wound clean and dry, eat healthily and avoid straining yourself by doing too much too soon. Most patients are fully recovered from their hernia repair surgery in six week or less — sooner for those who have had the keyhole procedure.
Some hernias will reoccur at the same site, so it is important to be watchful for the first warning systems. If you observe any recurring symptoms, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Hernia pain can present suddenly and severely. If you suspect you have sustained a hernia, you should always seek immediate medical advice. Luckily, with modern treatment the problem is in most cases speedily corrected. With good aftercare, including a hernia support, it should not disrupt your life for too long.