A hernia is the bulge of an organ through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place.
There are many different types of hernias. The most common hernia is a bulge in the wall of your abdomen (belly), called an abdominal wall hernia. The organ causing the hernia is the small intestine.
An inguinal hernia is a common abdominal wall hernia. It appears in the crease of your groin or, if you're a man, sometimes in your scrotum (the sac that holds your testicles).
Inguinal hernia is more common in men
You'll have a bulge in your groin that may or may not hurt
Heavy lifting or straining may make a hernia look bigger but doesn't cause a hernia
If part of your intestines gets trapped in your groin or scrotum, it can block blood flow to your intestines and make part of the intestine die
Sometimes, doctors treat an inguinal hernia with surgery
Usually, the only symptom of an inguinal hernia is a:
The bulge may get bigger when you stand and smaller when you lie down. Usually you or your doctor can push the bulge back into your belly.
An incarcerated hernia is when a loop of your intestine gets stuck in the hernia. This can cause a blocked intestine.
A strangulated hernia is when your intestine is trapped so tightly that its blood supply is cut off. The part of the intestine that isn't getting enough blood can burst and die and, if not treated, can kill you. A strangulated hernia can cause the following symptoms:
Doctors test for an inguinal hernia using:
While you're standing, the doctor examines your groin and asks you to cough. If you have an inguinal hernia, coughing will make the hernia bulge even more. In men, the doctor places a finger into a fold on the upper part of the scrotum and pushes upward to find a hernia.