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Study: Hormonal Changes In Aging Men Could Cause Hernias


A study, involving mice, recently revealed that increases in estrogen, due to aging, could be the reason behind inguinal hernias that occur in older men.

These hernias unfold when soft tissues within the intestines stick out through a weak area in a male’s abdominal wall, located close to the groin. These types of hernias are commonly the reason as to why men go through surgery. In fact, as per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over 700,000 surgeries for inguinal hernias happen annually within America.

Meanwhile, as the chances around hernias for aging men increases, the cause behind them aren’t known.

A study team stemming from Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Medicine stated another factor with the aging male is the fact that a big part of their testosterone is transformed to estrogen via a hormone referred to as “aromatase”.

What the team discovered via their research that used rodents as test cases is that increased levels of estrogen cause the abdominal wall to weaken, which could very well lead to a hernia developing. Meanwhile, the researchers also discovered that a drug referred to “aromatase inhibitor”, which lowers estrogen, prevented hernias within their mice test subjects.

The study team came up with a theory that this could also potentially work on humans.

Study lead, Dr. Serdar Bulun, commented on the research findings, noting that treating at-risk males with this “aromatase inhibitor” could potentially strengthen the muscle as it lessen the estrogen levels within the body.

And this might be a viable strategy to combat inguinal hernia within aging males for the future; however, more research is required as the theory needs to be tested on humans first. While the results are powerful in the study, animals and their reactions to things don’t always fit the same bill for actual people.

Healthline recently reported that Bulun chimed in, stating that the most common risks around hernias are genetics and age; however, the biggest predictor overall for a future inguinal hernia is having had one before.

In general, a hernia develops as an organ pushes through an opening within the tissue or muscle that keeps it in place. A key sign or symptom around this condition is a lump or bulge in the area affected. When it comes to inguinal hernias, a person may see a lump on either side of their pubic bone; the region where the thigh meets the groin. It’s important to note that most people feel their hernias via touch when they are coughing, bending down, or standing up.

If you think you are showing signs of a hernia, book an appointment with your doctor to get checked out. As with any condition, an early diagnosis is key when it comes to treatment options and recovery.