Inguinal Hernia in Children – Symptoms and Treatments

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Inguinal-Hernia
Inguinal-Hernia

Usually, most of the abdominal organs are held back and placed in their original positions by a muscular wall called PERITONEUM. In any case, if there is a defect or hole in the peritoneum, abdominal organs and tissues may push or herniate through this muscular wall producing a bulge or lump called a hernia. Every man, woman, children, and older people can get affected by any form of hernia. A hernia can be congenital [present at birth] or can develop during childhood.

Inguinal Hernia: Overview

A hernia is nothing but a protrusion of the internal organs or tissues through the weak muscle. When the fatty or intestinal tissues push through the lower abdominal region near the right or left inguinal canal, then inguinal hernias can form. Two inguinal canals are present in the human body at the left and right side of the base of the abdomen.

Most of the patients may avoid treatment for an inguinal hernia as it may be small in size or does not cause any major symptoms. However, it is advised to consult the doctor for prompt medical treatment that can prevent further discomfort or bulging.

Types of Inguinal Hernias that can be noticed in children

Depending on the cause and occurrence of hernia, an inguinal hernia is classified into 2 types: Indirect Inguinal Hernia and Direct Inguinal Hernia.

  • Indirect Inguinal Hernia: caused due to birth-defect [congenital] in the abdominal wall.
  • Direct Inguinal Hernia: caused due to weakness in the abdominal wall that develops over a while or due to heavy lifting or straining.

Indirect inguinal hernia is commonly seen in children, and direct inguinal hernia is noticed in adult males.

Signs & Symptoms in children suffering from Inguinal Hernia:

If any of the following signs and symptoms are noticed in children with inguinal hernia, one should get immediate medical attention.

  • Severe or moderate pain in the abdomen or groin region
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Pain while coughing and sneezing
  • A bulge that cannot be pushed back
  • Firm and tender swelling in the lower abdominal region

Risk factors of Inguinal Hernia in children

On a serious note, an inguinal hernia can affect newborns and children more than adults. However, the occurrence of an inguinal hernia cannot be noticed in newborns and children for several weeks. Few of the risk factors that place children at higher risk for inguinal hernias are:

  • Family history of hernia
  • Prematurity
  • Undescended testicles
  • Mother with cystic fibrosis
  • Developmental hip dysplasia
  • Urethral abnormalities

Treatments available:

In most of the cases, people suffering from inguinal hernia need to undergo a surgical procedure. So, once an inguinal hernia is diagnosed in children, the doctor will refer the child to see a pediatric surgeon or a pediatric urologist. However, depending on the severity of the hernia and health condition of the child, either the surgery will be planned or not.

●      Open surgery:

A small incision will be made near the bulge, and then organs or tissues will be pushed back to their original position. Once it is done, a mesh will be placed over them, and the opening or incision will be stitched.

●      Laparoscopic surgery:

To allow laparoscope, small cuts will be made in the region where hernias are formed. Then, with the help of a laparoscope, the hernia will be evaluated and repaired.

Usually, surgeons may take around 30-60 minutes to complete hernia repair surgery.

Must know about Hernia: Meaning & Types

Abnormal protrusions or lumps caused due to a weak section of the muscular layer is called Hernia. Most of the hernias are abdominal hernias and can occur in the belly region, groin area, and the scar area where one previously had surgery. Hernia or the lump can go away with a gentle press on it and can reappear with severe pain.

Based on the protrusions of the tissues or organs through the specific body part, hernias are classified as:

  • Inguinal Hernia: Tissues or part of the intestine bulges through the lower abdomen.
  • Femoral Hernia: Either a portion or complete tissue pushes through the muscle of the groin or inner thigh [femoral canal].
  • Umbilical Hernia: Protrusion of the internal organs or tissues through the weak muscle around the belly button area.
  • Incisional Hernia: Bulging of the incompletely healed surgical wound or scar.
  • Epigastric Hernia: Tissues or organs or fat pushes through the upper or central part of the abdomen [Epigastrium].
  • Hiatal Hernia: Bulging of the stomach into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm.

Beware of the risk factors of Hernia:

A common surgical condition that affects all the ages and sexes is an abdominal hernia. The most common risk factors for hernia can be:

  • Pregnancy
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Weight lifting
  • Previous abdominal trauma or surgery
  • Lack of exercise or physical activity

NOTE: One should seek medical attention if there is a painful and noticeable protrusion or bulge on the abdomen, pubic bone, or in the groin.

Have a look for common symptoms of Hernia:

Most of the patients who have hernia may not notice until it gets worse. However, after thorough research, common symptoms of a hernia are mentioned below.

  • Bulging on the abdomen or pelvic region
  • Swelling around the belly button
  • Severe pain and discomfort while standing and lifting heavyweights
  • A bulge that cannot be pushed back
  • Nausea and vomiting

Care for Children with Hernia:

Care for the child after surgery or post-surgery will differ from one child to another due to the age and complexity of the surgery. However, few general principles are:

  • Can eat a regular diet right after the surgery
  • The child should be restricted from bathing for 2-3 day post-surgery
  • Can get back to school after 1-2 weeks of completion of the surgery
  • One should follow all the instructions provided by the surgeon or Pediatrician for a speedy recovery

If any of the following is noticed, immediately contact the surgeon or the doctor.

  • Drainage of pus or blood from the site of incision
  • Swelling and redness around the wound(s)
  • A child suffering from fever above 101 F
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Decreased in urination [less peeing or wet diapers than usual]

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