Recognize the Characteristics of an Inguinal Hernia in Children
“Inguinal hernia is more risky for men. The main characteristic is the appearance of a lump in the groin area when the child is active and deflates when he is resting.”
hellodoc, Jakarta – An inguinal hernia occurs near the groin area, between the abdomen and thighs. When it occurs in boys, the mother will often notice swelling in the scrotum. This disorder occurs in 3-5 percent of healthy babies born at term. Meanwhile, the risk becomes greater in babies born prematurely, reaching 30 percent.
How Do Inguinal Hernias Form?
When a male fetus develops in the womb, the first testes will grow in his abdomen. As pregnancy progresses, the testicles travel down a tunnel (which is also present in baby girls) into the scrotum. Sometimes, the tunnel called processus vaginalis not closing
As a result, the tunnel will leave an opening from the stomach into the inguinal canal which increases the risk of the intestines or ovaries being trapped in it. When this happens, various objects that should stay securely behind the stomach can pass through and into the groin.
This includes fluids, intestines, or other tissues. In order to avoid the potential for complications, in this case the hernia is pinched, the inguinal hernia needs to be treated with surgery.
What are the characteristics of an inguinal hernia?
The main symptom of an inguinal hernia in children is the appearance of a lump that can be seen under the skin in the groin or scrotum. The lump may get bigger when the child cries or strains and deflates when the child is relaxed or resting.
Your child may have a lump on one or both sides of the groin. In addition, other inguinal hernia symptoms in children are:
- Pain and discomfort that improve with rest.
- Heaviness or pressure felt in the groin.
- The scrotum is swollen.
- A burning sensation at the site of the bulge.
- Decreased appetite in infants and children.
If your child has an incarcerated hernia or a herniated disc, seek immediate treatment, especially if they develop any of the following symptoms:
- It hurts a lot.
- Redness and bruising around the site of the lump.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stool accompanied by blood.
How is an Inguinal Hernia Treated?
Surgery is needed to repair an inguinal hernia. After establishing a hernia diagnosis, the doctor will refer the child to a pediatric surgeon or pediatric urologist for a surgical procedure. Hernia repair surgery is done by making a small incision near the bulge.
Next, the contents of the hernia will be pushed back into the stomach. Then, the inguinal tunnel where the organs exit the abdomen (hernia) will be closed. If the doctor uses a laparoscopic surgical technique, a small cut will be made in the abdomen and instruments are inserted to view and repair the hernia.
Meanwhile, if the intestine is trapped in a hernia or pinched, the doctor will make sure in advance that the blood supply to the intestine is not cut off for too long. If it turns out that the blood supply to the intestine has been cut off for a long time, a small piece of the intestine may need to be removed and the intestine stitched back together.
Care Needed After Surgery
Home care may differ depending on the hospital, surgeon, child’s age, and how complicated the surgical procedure is. However, in general the treatments that can be done are:
- Most children are able to return to eating and drinking as usual right after surgery.
- Recovery time depends on the child. Most will be able to return to normal, non-heavy activities in about 1-2 weeks.
- The doctor may prohibit the child from bathing for 2-3 days after surgery.
Having an inguinal hernia in one groin can increase the chances of a hernia in the other. After repair, most children do not have problems with this condition anymore. However, in rare cases, hernias can come back, so surgery is needed to treat them.
If your child shows the characteristics of an inguinal hernia, immediately do an examination and treatment to avoid complications. Use the Medical Appointment Service at Hellodoccheck and download Hellodoc on your phone!