(Hernia, Groin—Child; Hernia, Inguinal—Child; Inguinal Hernia—Child)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A groin hernia happens when soft tissue pushes through a weak spot in the wall of the belly. Sometimes the tissue also passes down a canal that links the scrotum to the abdominal area. It is called the inguinal canal.
Causes may be:
Groin hernias are more common in boys. They are also more common in babies that are born very early.
The most common symptom is a bulge in the groin. It may be easier to see this bulge when a child is crying. The child may also show signs of pain.
Hernias can sometimes get caught in the abdominal wall. This is called a strangulated hernia. Symptoms may be:
A strangulated hernia needs emergency care.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be taken if the diagnosis is not certain. This can be done with an ultrasound.
Groin hernias are repaired with surgery. Babies born very early may not have surgery until later.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Groin hernia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/groin-hernia-in-children. Accessed December 16, 2020.
Inguinal hernia. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed December 16, 2020.
Wang K. Assessment and Management of Inguinal Hernia in Infants. Pediatrics. 2012 Oct;130(4):768-773.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated: 5/28/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.