Inguinal hernia

If you have an inguinal or groin hernia, you are not alone.

Total hernia
procedures performed are more than 1.3M in the United States annually. Inguinal procedures making up approximately 60% of total hernia

Hernia considerations 1

Learn more about hernias and different treatment options.

This website is educational and describes a hernia repair care pathway and is only an example. Consult your surgeon with questions about your care pathway.

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What is an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias are the most common kind of hernia and account for two-thirds of hernias overall.1 The majority of these hernias are found in males - which accounts for its reputation as a male condition.1 Men are 25 times more likely to have a groin hernia than women.1 Only a small percentage of people with hernias have them repaired; this may be because they don't know what their treatment options are.

A sudden pain in the groin or the sensation that something has torn can indicate a hernia. A hernia is a weakness or tear in the abdominal muscle wall, which normally holds the inner lining of the abdomen and internal organs in place (inside, where they belong). The weakness or tear allows the inner lining to protrude and form a pouch. The visible bulge is usually a loop of intestine protruding through the tear in the muscle and into that pouch.1

Female doctor and her female patient in exam room

What are the treatment options for a hernia repair?

Read more

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What is the recovery process after hernia repair?

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Talk with a hernia surgeon about your treatment options.

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Tire leaking

Anatomy of a hernia1

The anatomy of a hernia can be compared to a bulge in the inner tube of a tire. When the tire is damaged, the inner tube pushes and bulges through the opening of the tire. 

Similarly, when a hernia occurs, the inner layer of the abdominal wall may push through the abdominal defect.

A man and his child take a walk in the park on a beautiful day with him giving her a piggyback

Why men?

The area where inguinal hernias occur is the opening through which the testicles descend during fetal development. It usually closes up before birth except for a small space allowing the spermatic cord to pass to the scrotum. If it doesn't close properly, it can leave a natural weakness that can bulge or tear later on.1

Two dads walking outside with daugther

Indicators of a hernia

A soft bulge in the groin area or scrotum that can be pushed back in with gentle pressure or that gets smaller or disappears when you lie down can indicate a hernia. A sudden, sharp pain in the groin area or a sensation that something has 'torn' can also, sometimes, indicate a hernia. Any potential indicators of hernia should be discussed with a doctor.1

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What's next?

The more you know about surgical repair techniques, the better prepared you will be to have an informed discussion — and make an informed decision — with your doctor.1

Hernia Bulge Illustration showing bowel protruding

Symptoms of a hernia1

A hernia won't fix itself and may get bigger and worsen over time. Some hernias have no symptoms and are found during a routine physical. Most inguinal hernias will have one or more of the following signs or symptoms:

  • A dull ache
  • A feeling of weakness, heaviness, pressure, or tingling
  • A burning sensation in the abdomen, groin, or scrotum

Call 911 or go to the emergency department of a hospital if:

  • A hernia becomes obstructed (stuck) and strangulated (loses blood supply) 
  • The hernia bulge no longer goes back inside the body when lying down or with gentle pressure
  • A fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or bloody stools occur
  • There is no ability to have a bowel movement or pass gas
  • The bulge turns red, purple, or dark
  • There is increased pain in the abdomen or genital region

The outcomes and results referenced on this website are taken from internationally peer-reviewed studies. The clinical outcomes of each surgeon may vary due to different circumstances, experience and infrastructure. Please discuss with your local surgeon what treatment option is the most suitable for you

Patients and caregivers: This information is designed to provide you with helpful educational information but is for information purposes only, is not medical advice, and should not be used as an alternative to speaking with your doctor. No representation is made that the information provided is current, complete, or accurate. Medtronic does not assume any responsibility for persons relying on the information provided. Be sure to discuss questions specific to your health and treatments with a healthcare professional. For more information, please speak to your healthcare professional.


HerniaSurge Group. International guidelines for groin hernia management. Hernia. 2018;22(1):1–165. doi:10.1007/s10029-017-1668-x.


Mesh Advisory Statement. Americas Hernia Society. October 2018.