Inguinal Hernia FAQs

Inguinal Hernia Questions & Answers

When an organ or tissue in the body pushes through an opening or weak spot in a muscle, it can end up in a space where it doesn’t belong. Surgery is often required to ease the pain and repair the muscle impacted by this change. 

If you notice a bulge in your child’s side, it could mean they’ve developed an inguinal hernia. Ask them if they feel an accompanying burning sensation, pain or weakness around their groin. If so, it’s best to consult your Mercy pediatrician right away.

An inguinal hernia can occur when internal tissue, such as a small or large intestine, juts out through the groin muscle. A prominent bulge can result, which can be even more painful when they bend, cough or do strenuous activity. Inguinal hernias may occur on either side, however, they are more frequent on the right side than on the left. These hernias occur in 2% of all children and are more common in boys than girls. 

Surgery is the only definitive treatment for an inguinal hernia. It’s possible that other kinds of treatments, such as wearing a binder or corset, may alleviate certain symptoms, but the only way to truly get rid of one is through surgery. 

Typically, children with inguinal hernias describe a pain or aching pressure near the site of the actual bulge. This discomfort can worsen the longer it goes untreated and may increase with more strenuous activity.  

How long swelling lasts after inguinal hernia surgery can depend on your child’s body type. Bruising and swelling can last up to 2 weeks following their operation, but will usually resolve on its own.