Hernias develop when organs and tissues push into a weak area within the muscular wall, also known as the peritoneum. This condition can occur in infants, children, and adults; however, a femoral hernia is a one that generally occurs in women. Appearing in the upper groin area, a femoral hernia develops in the femoral canal, which is a passage that streams large blood vessels in and out of your leg. While pregnant and obese women seem to be at risk for this hernia, the underlying cause can be due to many reasons. First and foremost, while the condition is rare, it can occur at birth, and progress over the years as someone grows. It can also be caused heavy lifting, straining while urinating, chronic cough, or constipation.
The main symptom of a femoral hernia is the appearance of a protruding bulge in the upper groin area. Pain and discomfort in the lump may also occur, especially when standing, partaking in any physical activity, or lifting. Those who suffer hernias may also complain of swelling in the bulge, and it may be tender when touched. Additional signs of a femoral hernia include nausea and vomiting, and general pain in the abdomen. Alternatively, one may not even notice they have this condition, until they visit their doctor for a yearly checkup.
In general, femoral hernias may be hard to detect. As they grow over time and do not go away, when you initially visit your family physician, the lump could be too small to feel or detect. Ultrasounds and CT scans are often used to help diagnose this hernia, to move treatment along. Surgery is the recommended path for those who have this hernia, however, a change in diet, exercise (once a patient has healed of course), and other weight loss techniques might work hand-in-hand with an operation, as obesity can be an underlying risk to this condition.
However, the key is early detection. Unlike other types of hernias, the risks of complications are high with femoral. Obstruction can occur, where a portion of the bowel is lodged in the femoral canal, which can result in extreme pain, discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Another major complication associated with femoral hernias is known as strangulation, where the blood supply moving to the small intestine is compromised, and can essentially cause the intestine to shut down. Emergency surgery is required for both issues, and can be seriously detrimental to a person’s health. In order to avoid this, it is highly recommended to book an appointment with your doctor, should you notice any unusual signs that might point to a femoral hernia.