Inguinal Hernia | Symptoms and Causes

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What are the symptoms of an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias appear as a bulge or swelling in the groin or scrotum. The swelling may be more noticeable when the baby cries and may get smaller or go away when the baby relaxes. If your physician pushes gently on this bulge when the child is calm and lying down, it will usually get smaller or go back into the abdomen.

If the hernia is not reducible, then the loop of intestine may be caught in the weakened area of abdominal muscle. Symptoms that may be seen when this happens include:

  • a full, round abdomen
  • vomiting
  • pain or fussiness
  • redness or discoloration over the groin
  • fever

Symptoms of a hernia may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Please consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

What causes an inguinal hernia?

Inguinal hernias in children most often occur when the groin opening present in the fetus fails to close securely at birth. Abdominal contents can push through this opening. 

Some factors place children at higher risk for inguinal hernias such as:

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