If you see a painful lump in the inner thigh or groin area, you may have a femoral hernia. It can often be simply pushed in or disappears when lying down. Any cough or muscle strain can cause it to appear.
A femoral hernia is often caused by strain on the tummy, such as straining on the toilet due to constipation, or carrying heavy weights. They appear when fatty tissue or a portion of the bowel forces itself through into your groin near the top of the inner thigh, into the femoral canal.
They have been linked to obesity and heavy coughs as well as the aforementioned stomach issues and muscle strains.
You need surgery on a femoral hernia quickly once diagnosed, as there can be serious complications. Obstruction and strangulation can occur in the area, leading to more serious problems.
Obstruction is where part of the bowel becomes fully stuck inside the femoral canal, and can cause nausea, stomach pain and vomiting, along with a lump causing pain in the groin area.
Strangulation is caused by a section of the bowel becoming trapped and cutting off the flow of blood, this means emergency surgery quickly, as the affected tissue needs to have its blood supply restored, or it will die.
Surgery for these hernias will remove the hernia and any resultant complications, and is almost always recommended, though there is always a chance of recurrence.
Once surgery is required, there are two different methods to employ:
Open hernia repair
involves an incision made in the abdomen, through which the surgeon will push the tissue back through the abdomen. The surgeon will then sew the affected area up, usually reinforcing it with a synthetic mesh before closing the incision.
In a laproscopic surgery, the surgeon will make several small incisions in the abdomen to send through a small tube equipped with a camera. The surgeon then inserts several tiny instruments through the other incisions to actually repair the hernia, guided by the camera.
In both surgeries, it can take as much as a few weeks before you return to your usual level of activity.
While it normally takes 6 weeks to fully recover, many people can return to light work and driving within 2 weeks.