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Inguinal Hernia - When To Call a Doctor

Call a doctor immediately if:

  • Your child has an inguinal hernia that cannot be pushed back into the abdomen with gentle pressure.
  • You or your child has an inguinal hernia and symptoms of strangulation, such as nausea, vomiting, fever, tenderness, and severe cramping pain in the groin area. These symptoms mean that the intestine has lost blood supply.

Call a doctor if:

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  • Your infant has a definite lump in the groin area.
  • You or your child has a tender bulge in the groin or scrotum, even if the bulge disappears when lying down.
  • You or your child has increasing groin discomfort or pain. The discomfort may be increased by bending or lifting and may extend into the scrotum.

Talk with your doctor before wearing a corset or truss for a hernia. These devices are not recommended for treating hernias and sometimes can do more harm than good.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition but you do not receive medical treatment. If you are not sure whether you have groin muscle strain or a hernia, watchful waiting with home treatment for 1 to 2 weeks is appropriate. If you have pain that is increasing or severe, an obvious lump, or evidence of bowel blockage or urinary symptoms, call your doctor for an evaluation.

Watchful waiting is not appropriate for infants and children who have inguinal hernias.

You and your doctor can decide whether you should have surgery to fix your hernia or if you can wait. If your hernia does not bother you, you can probably wait to have surgery.

Who to see

The following health professionals can diagnose an inguinal hernia:

A general surgeon or pediatric surgeon with experience in inguinal hernia repair will be needed to perform hernia repair surgery.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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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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