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Groin Hernia: Is it Serious?

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Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to provide educational guidance as there may be other treatment options available; it does not replace the need for professional medical advice and should not be relied upon as specific advice for individual cases.

Groin hernia occurs when an organ or tissue pushes through the weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue of the lower abdomen. The most commonly affected area is the groin, which is why it is called a “groin hernia”. This condition can cause discomfort and even affect daily activities, but what is the seriousness of groin hernia in Singapore? Let’s dive into the details and find out.

What is Groin Hernia?

A groin hernia occurs when a part of the intestine or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. So, why do these hernias occur? The main cause is a weakness in the abdominal wall. It can also be due to factors such as:

  • Strain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing
  • Pregnancy or childbirth

It is important to understand the seriousness of this condition and how it can impact our daily lives.

Understanding Groin Hernias

There are two main types of groin hernias:

Inguinal hernia

The most common type, accounting for about 75% of all groin hernia cases. They occur in the inguinal canal, which is a passage in the groin that holds blood vessels leading to and from the testicles.

Femoral hernia

Less common but tend to be more serious. They occur in the upper thigh region, just below the groin.

Causes and Symptoms

Both inguinal and femoral hernias have similar causes, which include increased pressure on the abdominal muscles, weak abdominal wall muscles, and a natural weakness in the groin area. These factors can cause a small tear or opening in the abdominal wall, allowing tissues to bulge through. In some cases, this can be due to straining during bowel movements, chronic coughing, heavy lifting, or pregnancy.

Symptoms of a groin hernia may include a visible bulge or swelling in the groin area that may become more prominent when standing, coughing, or lifting. Patients may also experience discomfort or pain in the groin area, especially when bending over or straining. In some cases, a patient may not experience any symptoms until complications arise.

Diagnosis of Groin Hernias

If you suspect that you may have a groin hernia, it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history. In some cases, they may also order diagnostic imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to get a better look at the affected area.

Treatment Options for Groin Hernias

The treatment for a groin hernia depends on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical options may include lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that put strain on the abdominal muscles. Truss or support garments can also be worn to help keep the hernia in place.

Surgery is often recommended for more severe cases of groin hernias. There are two main types of surgeries:

  1. During an open hernia repair, a small incision is made in the groin area to push the protruding tissue back into place. The weakened area is then strengthened using sutures or a mesh.
  2. Laparoscopic hernia repair involves making several small incisions in the abdomen and using specialised surgical tools to repair the hernia.
Risk Factors for Developing Groin Hernia in Singapore

While groin hernias can occur in anyone, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing one. In Singapore, one major risk factor is our ageing population. As we age, our abdominal muscles naturally weaken, making it easier for a hernia to develop. This is especially true for men over 40 and women over 50.

Obesity is also a significant risk factor for developing a groin hernia, as excess weight puts added pressure on the abdominal muscles and can weaken them over time. Additionally, having a family history of hernias can increase one’s chances of developing one.

Complications of Untreated Groin Hernia

While some people may choose to live with their groin hernia, it is important to address it as soon as possible. Untreated hernias can lead to potentially serious complications such as:


Strangulated hernia occurs when the bulging tissue becomes trapped in the weakened area of the abdominal wall, cutting off its blood supply. This can result in severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. If left untreated, this can lead to tissue damage and even death of the affected tissue.

Intestinal Obstruction

In some cases, a groin hernia may also cause an intestinal obstruction, where the bulging tissue blocks the passage of food and waste through the intestine. This can result in severe pain, bloating, and constipation. In severe cases, it may require emergency surgery to remove the obstruction.

Recovery and Post-Surgery Care

The recovery time for groin hernia surgery varies depending on the type of surgery performed and individual factors. Generally, patients can expect to return to normal activities within 2-4 weeks for laparoscopic surgery and 4-6 weeks for open surgery. It is important to follow your doctor’s post-surgery care instructions, which may include avoiding strenuous activities and lifting heavy objects for a period of time.

Preventing Groin Hernia

While there is no surefire way to prevent groin hernias from developing, there are steps one can take to reduce the risk. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help prevent excess pressure on the abdominal muscles. Additionally, avoiding activities that put excessive strain on the abdomen, such as heavy lifting, can also lower your chances of developing a groin hernia.

It is also essential to address any chronic coughing or constipation issues promptly, as these can strain the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of hernias.


In conclusion, while groin hernias may not seem like a life-threatening condition, they can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life and work productivity. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and seek proper treatment to prevent potential complications or worsening of the condition. Prevention through healthy lifestyle choices is also key in reducing the incidence rate of groin hernias in Singapore.

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Here at KYM Surgery, we believe in providing holistic & comprehensive medical care for all patients.