Can you Prevent a Groin Hernia?
A groin hernia (inguinal hernia) is a lump that you can see and feel low down in the groin to either side. One or both sides can be affected. They are soft and can usually be pushed back if lying down. They may then re-appear after standing up and moving around. They tend not to be painful unless they get stuck out and have become difficult to push back. Fairly commonly, being up and active all day can lead to a pulling and sore sensation near the lump which is relieved by lying down and gently pushing it back.
Hernias develop through natural anatomical weaknesses. It is impossible to completely avoid them developing but a number of factors can be controlled to prevent them from occurring.
Hernias are common.
Natural wear and tear can make these canals/natural anatomical weaknesses bigger so hernias more likely to occur. This occurs naturally with age. The lower abdomen also provides support to the abdominal contents. The more fatty tissue there is in the abdomen the more support is needed, so they are more common in obese patients.
Smoking weakens connective tissue that provides strength. Smoking, being overweight (BMI >25) and ageing not only increase the risk of developing hernias but they are linked to the failure of hernia repair causing hernia recurrence, especially umbilical hernias that occur around the belly button.
Not smoking and weighing a normal weight (BMI<25) reduce the risk of forming hernias. Exercise and muscle conditioning will also help reduce the risk of hernias occurring and reduce the risk of recurrence after repair if advice is followed.
If you are concerned about your hernia, do not hesitate to have it checked by a specialist.