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Femoral Hernia - Topic Overview

A femoral hernia occurs in the groin area when abdominal tissue (such as a loop of intestine) bulges through a weakness in the abdominal wall and moves into the upper part of the thigh. The hernia follows the path of the femoral canal, a narrow passage that carries blood vessels to the leg.

Femoral hernias occur more frequently in women than in men, but they are less common than inguinal hernias.

These hernias can be hard to diagnose because pain often is felt generally in the groin, not in a particular spot. Also, a femoral hernia mass may be too small for a doctor to feel during a physical exam. As a result, two out of three femoral hernias are found only when a portion of intestine has been trapped in the femoral canal and blood supply to the tissue has been cut off (strangulated hernia).1 Unlike inguinal hernias, a femoral hernia usually does not flatten when you lie down.

Because it can be hard to diagnose, a femoral hernia sometimes is mistaken for an inguinal hernia, a lymph node, or a benign fatty tumor (lipoma).

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 15, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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