Many things can increase your risk for having an inguinal hernia.
Risk factors you can change
- Being overweight or having a recent, large weight loss (such as in crash dieting)
- Having weak abdominal muscles from poor diet, lack of exercise, or both
- Straining during urination or bowel movements
- Chronic coughing, such as from smoking
Risk factors you cannot change
- Being male
- Having muscle weakness from birth, along with a hernia sac
- Having muscle weakness from aging
- Having one or more inguinal hernias
Risk factors for inguinal hernia in children
In children, risk factors for inguinal hernia include:
- Being born early and having low birth weight [less than 1500 g (3.3 lb)].
- Having one or both testicles that do not descend into the scrotum (undescended testicle).
- Having a family history of inguinal hernia.
- Having certain other birth defects or conditions, such as characteristics of each sex in a baby's genitals (ambiguous genitalia), abnormal position of the opening of the urethra on top of (epispadias) or underneath (hypospadias) the penis, or hydrocele, in which fluid builds up around one or both testicles.