A hernia is when an internal part of the body, such as an organ, pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. Usually, your muscles are strong and tight enough to keep your intestines and organs in place, but sometimes they are not, causing a hernia.
What is a femoral hernia?
A femoral hernia usually occurs when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh.
It pushes through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle wall (abdominal wall) into the femoral canal, a channel through which blood vessels pass to and from your leg.
The hernia appears as a painful lump the size of a large grape in the inner upper part of your thigh or groin. The lump can be pushed back in, or disappears when you lie down.
Femoral hernias occur far more frequently in women than men because of the wider shape of the female pelvis. Straining (for example, on the toilet) increases pressure inside the abdomen and can trigger a hernia.
Other triggers include:
- a smoker's cough,
- carrying or pushing heavy loads, and
- a growth in the bowel.
Repairing the femoral hernia
A femoral hernia repair is an operation to push the bulge back into place and to strengthen the abdominal wall.
The operation is necessary as a femoral hernia is a potentially dangerous condition:
- The section of bowel can get stuck in the femoral canal, causing an obstruction. This causes nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, as well as a painful lump in the groin.
- The section of bowel can get trapped and have its blood supply cut off (known as a strangulated hernia). Emergency surgery within hours is essential to release the trapped tissue and restore its blood supply so it does not die.
Femoral hernia repair is a routine operation with very few risks. The hernia will not go away without an operation.
Surgery will get rid of the hernia and prevent you from having any serious complications that a hernia can cause.
After having the operation, you should be able to go home the same day or the day after.