(Hernia, Groin—Child; Hernia, Inguinal—Child; Inguinal Hernia—Child)
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 belly area. It is called the inguinal canal.
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This may be caused by:
- A large inguinal canal
- A weakened area in the lower belly muscles
Groin hernias are more common in boys. They are also more common in babies who 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 belly wall. This is called a strangulated hernia. Symptoms may be:
- Swollen belly
A strangulated hernia is an emergency that needs medical care right away.
The doctor will ask about 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 clear. This can be done with an ultrasound.
The goal of treatment is to fix the weak spot in the belly wall and get the soft tissue back to where it belongs. This is done with surgery. Babies born very early may not have surgery until later.
Groin hernias cannot be prevented.
- Groin hernia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/groin-hernia-in-children.
- Inguinal hernia. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/inguinal-hernia.
- Yeap, E., Nataraja, R.M., and Pacilli, M. Inguinal hernias in children. Australian Journal of General Practice, 2020; 49 (1-2): 38-43.
- Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
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