Most of people know they have hernia problem but they are unable to figure out the type of hernia. They do not know the difference between femoral and inguinal hernia or direct or indirect hernia. Sometimes, hernia goes away on their own but sometimes they need immediate medical attention. Let us know the difference between the two most common types of hernia.
What is an Inguinal Hernia?
An inguinal hernia occurs in the abdomen near the groin area. It occurs when intestinal tissues protrude through a weak muscle in the abdomen. It is at the base of the abdomen. The protrusion along the groin area may increase in size when you cough or stand up.
Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia
The symptoms of an inguinal hernia include:
- Pain while coughing, exercising or moving
- Sensation in the groin
- Burning sensation
- Swelling of the scrotum in men
Inguinal hernia can be direct or indirect. An indirect hernia happens in premature births before the inguinal canal becomes closed off. On the other hand, a direct hernia can develop at any time during your life. Moreover, a direct hernia is more likely to occur in males. An incarcerated inguinal hernia occurs when tissues get stuck in the groin and cannot be reduced. Also, when intestine in an incarcerated hernia has its blood flow cut off, it is known as strangulation.
What is a Femoral Hernia?
Your muscles are strong enough to keep your organs and intestine intact. Sometimes, your intra-abdominal tissues get back through the weak spot in the muscle when there is a strain on them. If a portion of the muscle gets back through the femoral canal, it is known as a femoral hernia. It is a bulge near the groin or thigh. The femoral canal contains a femoral artery, smaller veins, and nerves. Femorocele is another name for a femoral hernia.
This is more common in women than in men. Most femoral hernias do not cause symptoms. However, they may lead to severe problems if the hernia blocks the blood flow to your intestines which is known as strangulation. It is a medical emergency and needs immediate surgery.
Causes of Femoral and Inguinal Hernia
There are chances that an individual is born with a weak area of the femoral canal or it may get weak over time. The primary cause of femoral hernia can be straining. Furthermore, straining maybe because of the following factors:
- Premature birth
- Obesity (Read here: If there’s a link between obesity and hernia?)
- Chronic cough
- Chronic constipation
- Being male
Signs and Symptoms of Femoral Hernia
The small-sized hernia may not give any symptoms and do not give any bulge. Whereas large hernias may be noticeable and cause pain and discomfort. The bulging may become worse and can cause pain when you stand up, sit or strain in any way. It may cause hip pain as it is located close to the hip bone.
Other symptoms may be:
- Severe stomach pain
- Groin pain
The diagnosis of femoral hernia is done by conducting an ultrasound of the abdomen and the groin area.
Difference between Inguinal and Femoral hernia
It is important to know the difference between the two types of hernia- femoral and inguinal. The femoral hernia tends to occur more in women while the inguinal tends to occur more in men. Moreover, the former occurs when a part of the intestine protrudes through the femoral canal which runs from the abdomen to the groin and upper thigh. As mentioned earlier, the inguinal hernia occurs when part of the intestine bulges through the inguinal canal.
|Inguinal hernia||Femoral hernia|
|It is more common in male||It is more common in female|
|Passes through the inguinal canal||It passes through the femoral canal|
|It is above the crease of the groin||This is below the crease of the groin|
|Can reduce completely||It cannot reduce completely|
|The neck of the sac is above and in the middle of the pubic tubercle||The neck of the sac is below and lateral the pubic tubercle|
|This is less common to be strangulated||It has a higher risk of strangulation|
|It may be treated without surgery||Femoral hernia must be treated surgically|
|Cough impulse usually present||Many do not have cough impulse|
|The sac mainly contains bowel||The sac mainly contains omentum|
Treatment of Inguinal and Femoral hernia
If the inguinal hernia is small and is not bothering you much, the doctor may suggest you wear a truss. It may help relieve symptoms but talk to the doctor and make sure that you wear the correct size. If the hernia is large and causes pain and discomfort, you may need surgery. There are two types of surgeries – open repair and laparoscopic repair.
In the open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the groin and pushes the protruding tissues into the abdomen again. Then the weak area is sewed often reinforcing it with a synthetic mesh. The recovery may take some time.
There are advantages of laparoscopic surgery for femoral and inguinal hernia are:
- Less pain after surgery
- No scarring
- Short hospital stay
- Short recovery time
- negligible post-surgery complications
Also Read: What to expect under Hernia Surgery?