What are the Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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While some inguinal hernias present without any symptoms, others will have telltale signs. Common symptoms of an inguinal hernia include a bulge, burning sensation, and pain. Other possible symptoms of an inguinal hernia include a heavy sensation in the groin area, weakness in the groin, and various other symptoms related to the severity of the hernia.

Inguinal hernias occur in the groin area. They occur when a section of the small intestine bulges through the inguinal ring located in the lower abdominal muscles. Males tend to experience inguinal hernias more often than women, and they can occur at any age.

The two types of inguinal hernias are indirect and direct inguinal hernias, and both are associated with different causes. Indirect inguinal hernias occur as a result of congenital issues and are the most common type of inguinal hernias. This typically means that the inguinal canal doesn’t close as it normally should at birth, and a weakness in the area develops. Direct inguinal hernias are caused by weakening of the abdominal muscles over the course of years. If pressure, such as heavy lifting, places too much strain on the area, a direct inguinal hernia develops.


Those suffering from an inguinal hernia may notice a bulge in the groin area, one of the common symptoms of an inguinal hernia. This may appear larger when standing up. In males, a swollen or enlarged scrotum can be a sign of an inguinal hernia.

Inguinal hernias can also have other symptoms. This includes a burning or aching sensation in the groin area. Patients suffering from an inguinal hernia may also notice pain when exercising or lifting heavy objects. The pain may subside during rest and when lying down.

There are also other symptoms associated with more sever inguinal hernias. In addition to severe pain and heaviness in the groin area, weakness in the groin, fever, and a rapid heart rate may also be present. These symptoms typically arise from an incarcerated or strangulated inguinal hernia.

In the case of incarcerated and strangulated hernias, patients need immediate medical care. These types of inguinal hernias are ones that cannot be pushed back into place by a physician and medical attention is required before the hernia cuts off blood supply to the intestine. Without immediate surgery, infection, nausea, and vomiting can occur as symptoms of an inguinal hernia, and surgical removal of that portion of the intestine may be necessary.


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