I just wanted to start by saying that I am a woman with an inguinal hernia. I posted in womens health however I didnt get alot of feedback. Thought you guys might be more knowledgeable since hernias are more common in men. I've had it for more than 8 years with symptoms except for a bulge in my groin area, I now have a feeling of numbness down my right thigh with pain in my hip/pelvic area. If I put my hand on my hip(on top of pelvic bone), I have pain in that area, also around the back where my thumb would rest. It feels like a constant gnawing sensation, like its taut. Would a hernia cause this? I know there are alot of ligaments/nerves that run through the inguinal canal, but even my dr. said he doesnt think its the hernia. I just wanted to ask those that have had one and to read your experiences. Also my insurance sucks(high deductible) and didnt want to sign up for unnecessary scans. Are there any imaging tests that would show a hernia? Any advice would be helpful.
An MRI scan (expensive) would probably show the hernia but an ultrasound might also be able to detect it. Your doctor should know about those options and would probably have to refer you anyway. It could though, just be that the hernia is pressing on a nerveand that will not be visible on any scan.
Another thing to consider is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as a hernia can make the bowel more sensitive. Sometimes IBS will manifest itself as an allergic reaction to specific foods and in other people it may appear in times of stress. When it does appear, it is virtually indistinguishable from the physical discomfort of an inguinal hernia. That's because the bowel muscles (smooth muscles) go into spasm. There are special smooth muscle relaxants (such as Spasmomen) which are very effective at relieving the discomfort of IBS.
An ultrasound can probably work also. I almost got one, but my surgeon identified it as a hernia immediately without a doubt! I had two inguinal hernias, and I can't say that I had any numbness prior to my surgery. I was like you... just slight lumps that were hardly noticeable, and no real discomfort. One time while working out, I strained one side and noticed swelling and a bit of pain. That's when I saw the doctor and realized I had hernias! I had no idea before then. After the surgery (it's been one year), I do have a feeling of tightness since they used stitches only and no mesh (which I'm thankful for- I hear of many women having issues with mesh) and one numb spot. The numbness is mostly gone, but one area just doesn't have the feeling back 100%.
I'd ask the doctor about an ultrasound, as I'd think this would be much less than a scan. The expenses for the surgery were not at a good time for me as I was getting married two months later! It really wasn't too bad considering how much insurance covers! It would have likely been close to $10,000 if it weren't for insurance, yikes.
I am wondering if I could have a (surgical) hernia as a consequence of a female surgery performed a year ago. I also had an epigastric hernia repair surgery done that same year. Since the pelvic/groin pain has been present since before the surgeries, I wonder if I could have another hernia, as yet undetected? Does there have to be a noticable bump in the area? The pain comes and goes, can be unbearable and last for 2.5 days at at time, go away for a day, or several, and return. It is never really quite gone. It seems to be triggered by vigorous movements, walking around, lifting things and being physically active. I was sent for physiotherapy sessions with it last year, which did nothing to help whatsoever. Quite the opposite, I was in so much pain trying to do some of the exercises, I could not perform them.
The doctor says he does not THINK it is a hernia, though admits it could be, and does not seem to be willing to take it any further. My questions are: what would I look for as far as the symptoms, (of a surgical or inguinal hernia)? What type of pain is to be expected? Mine can be dull and just achy (on good days), poking/daggers on bad days, making it hard for me to walk. It can be on one side, sometimes the other, sometimes both, but mostly just the same one side, groin, pelvis, or both, sort of hard to tell at times.
One thing seems quite clear to me - I should insist on obtaining a requisition for an ultrasound of the area. Any thoughts ? They would be much appreciated.
Hi there! You definitely do NOT have to have a noticeable lump in the area. When I looked up photos of what a typical inguinal hernia looked like, mine did not appear to be this bad at all! In fact, I never thought I had any problem and my husband never suspected anything either. I could feel a small mass in there, but just thought it was normal tissue since nothing seemed to bulge much or anything. Hernias can be very small, or can become much larger. I did find that the little mass I could feel would flatten out and nearly disappear when I laid down on my back, and I could feel it more when standing up. When I coughed, I could feel it slightly bulge if keeping my hand on it. I hear that the cough test is a little test often used, but again, I'm sure there are hernias you still might not feel much of anything with.
Since you are having pains, I don't blame you for wanting to procede with looking into it further. Even if it isn't a hernia, it would be good to determine what might be causing the pain and if any further action should be taken. I didn't have pain for over 20 years! I am 24 and only felt the discomfort last year during a vigorous workout. I was using a weights machine to work my inner thighs and pulled my muscle, and then noticed a bit of swelling on the left side of my groin. Little did I know, I had the hernia and it got slightly worse. Then I started feeling some minor pain, but nothing bad at all. Then my husband thought of the possibility and when I learned about hernias, I realized I might even have two! I sure did... and I wouldn't have known if I didn't have that incident happen.
After I had the repair done last year to correct the two hernias, I actually feel some tenderness on and off, even though I didn't have that before! I am fine with it though, as of course I'd rather have some minor tenderness than risk a dangerous hernia later down the road. It's been one year since the surgery, and my surgeon told me it can take years to feel 100% back to normal, and some people never do. I am thankful that she recommended sewing me up and NOT using any mesh or other material. Using the material if you don't have to (if it were a larger hernia, I would have had to use it, and she said she wouldn't know 100% until the incision was made and she could see everything first-hand) can cause more risk for irritation and sensitivity after you heal. I didn't want that!
Best of luck! I would just tell your doctor that it will give you a peace of mind to get an ultrasound or other test to find out what it causing the discomfort. If your doctor still refuses, I'd look into another doctor for a second opinion. Some doctors just have very strong opinions and things can be missed. I go with my gut feeling... if something does not seem right, I will keep looking into it.
The Following User Says Thank You to tUrRrRa For This Useful Post:
Thank you so much for your informative reply, and for sharing your personal experiences with me and the other posters! I found your reply very helpful, and cannot thank you enough! I think many of us who experience pain on regular basis and want to get to the root of it have the same problem. Our doctors are skeptical and tend to ignore our pain, in hopes it will go away. (One of my doctors told me so) I am sure it does, sometimes. I have noticed that they also tend to attribute some or all of these issues to aging, or other non-specific causes (muscle exertion???), or a multitude of other things. I would expect that some muscle fatigue and aches are normal in people who are in late forties or older. But we know our bodies, and know when something is wrong. After all , we have lived in our bodies all these years....
So, once again, thank you so much for your post. I really appreciate you getting back to me. I will be back and forth and am glad that we now have a hernia board!
Last edited by flowergirl2day; 12-10-2010 at 09:48 PM.
I was going to mention, and forgot, that it took me a while to find this board. I did not see it in the board listings, so I tried to find it on the site map, but did not. In the end, I went to the New site features Announcement, where I knew the link to hernia board could be found, as that is where I had seen it originally. Maybe the links page needs to be updated? I may have missed it repeatedly, but I looked three times under all the headings and still did not find it. This may need to be brought to the attention of the administrator. I will, if I experience difficulties finding this board next time I want to visit.
Last edited by flowergirl2day; 12-10-2010 at 09:45 PM.
Since you mention it, I do remember that when I first had questions about hernias (before I got my own surgery), I posted in the general health boards and didn't see this hernia board! When I saw it later, I wasn't sure if I missed it or if it was new. I saw that I had posted something much later in here, but didn't have any replies and forgot about it.
I agree that there are many doctors who might be quick to say something is just muscle strain or general aches from stress, etc. Then you get the doctors who are the opposite and want to test you for everything! They say to not self-diagnose, but I feel that it's necessary to do some research on your own first to get a general idea of what it might be. Then you can go to the doctor to ask about it.
Unfortunately some aches or other symptoms can be pretty tough to diagnose. I was super tired quite often (still am, but slightly better), and this is one thing I haven't been able to figure out. Luckily the hernia was very quick to diagnose for me, and surgery right after was quick without any complications. I first asked my gyno about what I felt in my groin area and she wasn't sure. Nobody EVER said anything about it, so I assumed it was normal for many years. I guess they truly were very small hernias. When I saw a general surgeon about it though, they identified them very quickly as hernias. I was surprised they knew right away and didn't have any doubts about it.
The only unfortunate thing I can say is that I feel more "fragile" since I had my hernias corrected. I worry that I might accidentally rip the muscle gap back open and have them again, although my doctor said this is rare. She said the main risk to reopen them would be from pregnancy (which I do not plan in my near future - I am not ready). Stretching seems to be more important now and I feel a little bit of tightness in that area now.
Lessons learned - If I did have to go through surgery again, I can say it wasn't as bad as I thought, but waking up afterwards wasn't very comfortable for me. I remember wishing I could just lay down since I felt very nauseous and didn't want to have to get up (I suggest asking for anti-nausea meds for the anesthesia - I had it, but I guess not enough - and I had a terrible migraine making me nauseous right before & you can not take most medicine within a certain amount of hours before the surgery). I also felt like a mess emotionally from the pain killers I was taking (Vicodin - seems like most people are the opposite though), so I would ask to have a different med if possible. Definitely accept help from those who offer. I had my dad come to town during the week, and my husband off from work for a couple of days. They drove me home and helped me get up the stairs (I was in an apartment at the time), get food, walk my dogs, etc. I never needed help to go to the restroom. I used my arms a lot for lifting myself up and lowering myself. To get out of bed, it's best to roll to the side. I tried to avoid sneezing and coughing whenever possible! I took a week and a half off work, but if it weren't for the meds, I probably could have gone back in a week or so.
Best of luck identifying what the pain is! Maybe it is just a muscle strain of some sort. It's very hard to know for sure. A big giveaway for me was how the small masses would disappear when I would lay down on my back, then come back when standing up. That is a definite hernia symptom, and I am not sure of anything else that would cause that (at least nothing too common).
thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, and describing your post surgery recovery period. This will help others who are reading this post and will have this surgery in the future.
After my surgery, I lived on the couch for a few days. The only things I found myself able to do were to roll off the couch sort of onto the floor, get up holding onto the coffee table, and go to the bathroom, or my computer, the one thing I could not give up. I was so nauseated I had to keep a small plastic pail alongside at all times for the first couple of days, and used it frequently. When in a chair in front of the computer, I had pillows all around me, and one on my abdomen, just in case I needed to sneeze or cough. Of course, laughing was not a problem at the time, but I would imagine even that would have been extremely painful. One has to have some help. I spent my recovery days alone by choice, with my husband working as usual. A couple of friends dropped by to make sure I was ok. It is important to anticipate this - one really cannot do anything.
I will definitely pursue this. If there is a chance that whatever is causing this pain can be taken care of, then it has to be done. Like you, I am also afraid of getting another hernia in the same spot as before (or elsewhere). The surgeon told me the area would always be sensitive, and that if I tear it again and have to come back for another repair, it will be MUCH more painful the second time around. Can you imagine that? Not a good prospect. So I try to be careful.
Thanks for sharing! I am so glad to see a hernia board!
flowergirl2day, You are so right about having to roll around! I remember desperately trying to not get sick from the nausea, because after one stomach heave, I felt a sharp pain and a popping feeling around the area the surgery was performed! That definitely hurt and I worried I popped a stitch or something! For the most part, I needed the help with the dogs. I felt like I could manage to take care of myself, but caring for the dogs would have been a little tricky being on the third floor of an evening. My dogs also tend to jump into my lap, so I had to be careful that they didn't do this. One of them still tends to jump in that spot and make it tender, even a whole year later! Silly dogs
Oh boy, I sure hope that it isn't much worse the second time around! I hear that somebody said the pain for them was unbearable and felt very lucky that it wasn't as bad as I thought. My doctor kept saying that it would be pretty difficult to tear it back open again, so that was a nice thing to hear. They assured me that my stomach heaving would not have popped the stitches, even though I felt some kind of popping feeling.
I am not sure if you already mentioned or not, but did you get your surgery done with any mesh or material? I hear that some women have trouble with sensitivity and pain later on when materials are used.
Also, I am curious to hear about others' experience after healing. I feel like my stomach isn't the same! Did you find any trouble getting back to how your body was before? My lower belly isn't as flat as it used to be, although I work out and try to eat a healthy diet. If I need to urinate and am holding it, I get very swollen looking in my lower belly, and this didn't happen before. If I work on my lower abs more, they build out and I get a hardened pooch. So, I avoid lower ab exercises and focus more on holding in my stomach and doing Pilates exercises, cardio, and strength training. I do regular crunches and bicycles, planks, etc., but absolutely no lower ab-specific exercises. My scars have faded a lot, but I still have some scar tissue bumps along the scar area. I also have slight numbness on the right side. I had the most trouble w/ my right side while healing. That was the side I felt the "popping" feeling on, so I probably strained the area during healing.
Thanks! This is such a helpful thread for those who have had the surgery to share our experiences, and those who might need to go through it later!
it is so good to see that you are doing everything you can to build up some muscle strength in the area of your hernia. After surgery, scar tissue forms in and around the cuts in the tissue. This may result in making the area around surgical scar more sensitive. Also, nerves are often damaged during surgery. As a result, some people feel mild pain for months afterward. I have a friend who has had the repair done three times. This is something we definitely want to avoid!!!
I think I've healed very well and a minimal amount of scar tissue. I guess the main thing that concerns me is that I worry I won't be able to get into as good of shape as I hope. I am self conscious in a swimsuit right now because of my little belly bulge I've gotten. I hope with time, my stomach can flatten out again!
A general response after reading all recent posts (from 46 yo male diagnosed with inguinal hernia in April (2010):
As corrective repair is still pending, the only advice I am confident of offering regards pain management. Activities to strictly avoid: 1) Lifting above the waist. 2) Coughing, and unnecessarily exerted sneezing, yawning, laughing, and perhaps only for guys, passing gas and more significantly 3) No over eating or eating foods that irritate ones bowels or even perhaps require greater digestion (if you can do without a regular meat diet). 4) Stress and stress related activities which affects your blood pressure. 5) Thinking about it (or any pain for that matter).
Since having the hernia, I never over eat anymore and am more strictly avoiding foods that might over irritate the bowels. The emptier my stomach is generally the better I feel.
One poster mentioned she was always tired. Yes, because lying down -- and best, lying slightly inclined with raised (supported) legs-- is the only sure, complete relief possible, one might tend to rest more than usual. While expecting surgery, I did so too. But the insurance claim was rejected and a choice had to be made. I chose to resume regular activities which do not require too much lower abdominal exertion. -- For me, it's bicycling. Sure enough, I've found other mentions in talk boards from people who received the same advice, that bicycling helped their hernias. While no medical doctor has encouraged bicycling to relieve hernia symptoms, it is significant to note neither has any advised against it. Certainly, I am not going to stand out of the bicycle saddle when climbing hills and over exert myself. That said, resuming a regular non impact aerobic activity has helped me immensely. While the hernia discomfort continues -- as 'normal' -- the benefits vastly outweigh doing next to nothing at all.
Psychosomatic pain is unavoidable (for me, anyway); whenever I think about the hernia, the pain comes seemingly automatically. The advice is evident enough. But sometimes pain is brought on by stress. This should not be confused with the former.
Stress causes a (literally) real hernia pain. (It took me months and various experiences to learn the difference and many people do not accept the apparent (to me) causal explanation.) Rises in blood pressure resulting from emotional crisis or urgency somehow want to find physical release in any case. With a hernia, you've literally a soft spot, more like a bubble on an bicycle inner tube tire (which feels like) it's going to pop.
Thus, in addition to avoiding any activities that require (unnecessarily in this case) lower abdominal exertion, the advise is to greatly modify one's diet -- be kinder and gentler with your stomach -- and to also remember you've a whole lot of other muscle groups and systems that are able and require oxygenitised (new word) aerobic activity, most importantly your heart and mind (brain).
Good luck everyone. And good cheer.
Last edited by Mandet; 12-25-2010 at 01:09 AM.
^This is excellent advice! Thanks for sharing for those who might have to deal with the troubles of an inguinal hernia. I was very lucky that I didn't get many symptoms prior to my surgery, but that's just because I caught it so early on. I wonder if indirect hernias tend to be less painful and less troublesome, especially if one was born with them.
I agree very much about the activities to avoid. It was a bit of time before I could resume my regular workouts, so I just walked for a while. I had to rest completely and only walk around my home very little immediately afterwards. I was surprised that when I had to use the restroom, I felt no discomfort. I agree to watch the diet. You don't want to be constipated (sorry if this gets a little gross), or then I am sure you will be uncomfortable! Sneezing was definitely awful, as well as laughing and coughing! I would hold my stomach if I absolutely couldn't stop myself from doing any of those.
Hope all of you who have had the repairs are doing well! Although I am not 100% normal, I'd say I am pretty close. I can deal with minimal numbness and occasional pains. It's definitely much better than risking a hernia getting dangerous!
I was diagnosed with bilaterial inguinial/femoral hernias. I betcha I have had them a long time but did not know it thus making them larger via heavy lifting...brochitis fits, allergy sneezing, etc. A colon doc ordered a pelvic MRI with contrast in November. It showed a sacral cyst and these lil buggers. Surgeon is a Professor of endoscopic surgery and he is suppose to be an expert in all kinds of surgery BUT, I wish I had a fermale surgeon. Little did I know when I saw him he would bring in a caravan of Fellows in Training to look at me. Not good....I would never allowed this had I known. My hernias are small. I had to cough and lay down and stand up and squat. He would not attempt to do any surgery until I had a lot of discomfort/symptoms.
Well, I just got over 6 weeks of Bronchitis and coughed my fool head off. Soemthing is not right down there. I need to see if it is the Sacal Dimple cyst 9Internally) causing problems or the ehrnias. I do remeber this surgeon telling me that I could have post-hernia surgical pain for months/years....
he does this surgery Laproscopically and can also cut. I do not want General Anesthesia so he would have to do a local and one surgery at a time....I am not a youngster and feel it is all the hard work I did over the years. 0-: Will start to investigate this week of where this pain is coming from before I get on the operating table. I do get nauseated with this and the tail bone will hurt like the dickens.