Hernia: Symptoms

Symptoms may not be present in some inguinal hernias while in some other hernias, including inguinal, they are. Symptoms and signs vary depending on the type of hernia. In the case of reducible hernias, you can often see and feel a bulge in the groin or in another abdominal area. When standing, such bulge becomes more obvious. Besides the bulge, other symptoms include pain in the groin that may also include a heavy or dragging sensation, and in men, there is sometimes pain and swelling in the scrotum around the testicles area.

Irreducible hernias or incarcerated hernias may be painful, but their most relevant symptom is that they cannot return to the abdominal cavity when pushed in. They may be chronic, although painless, and can lead to strangulation. Nausea, vomiting, or fever may occur in these cases due to bowel obstruction. Also, the hernia bulge in this case may turn red, purple or dark and pink.

Strangulated hernias are always painful and pain is followed by tenderness. Nausea and vomiting also may occur as well due to bowel obstruction. The patient may also experience fever.

In the diagnosis of abdominal hernias, imaging is the principal means of detecting internal diaphragmatic and other nonpalpable or unsuspected hernias. Multidetector CT (MDCT) can show with precision the anatomic site of the hernia sac, the contents of the sac, and any complications. MDCT also offers clear detail of the abdominal wall allowing wall hernias to be identified accurately.