What Is a Femoral Hernia?
are usually strong enough to keep your intestines and organs in their proper
place. Sometimes, however, your intra-abdominal tissues can be pushed through a
weakened spot in your muscle when you overstrain. If a portion of tissue pushes
through the wall of the femoral canal, it’s called a femoral hernia. A femoral
hernia will appear as a bulge near the groin or thigh. The femoral canal houses
the femoral artery, smaller veins, and nerves. It’s located just below the
inguinal ligament in the groin.
hernia can also be called a femorocele.
more likely than men to suffer from a femoral hernia. Overall,
femoral hernias are not common. Less than 5 percent of all hernias are femoral. Most
femoral hernias do not cause symptoms. However, they can occasionally lead to
severe problems if the hernia obstructs and blocks blood flow to your
intestines. This is called a strangulated hernia — it is a medical emergency
and requires prompt surgery.
Causes of Femoral Hernias
cause of femoral and other hernias are unknown most of the time. You may be
born with a weakened area of the femoral canal, or the area may become weak
can contribute to the weakening of the muscle walls. Factors that can lead to
- chronic constipation
- heavy lifting
- being overweight
- difficult urination due to an
- chronic coughing
Signs and Symptoms of a
You may not
even realize you have a femoral hernia in some cases. Small- to moderate-sized
hernias don’t usually cause any symptoms. In many cases, you may not even see
the bulge of a small femoral hernia.
hernias may be more noticeable and can cause some discomfort. A bulge may be
visible in the groin area near your upper thigh. The bulging may become worse
and can cause pain when you stand up, lift heavy objects, or strain in any way.
Femoral hernias are often located very close to the hip bone and as a result
may cause hip pain.
symptoms can signify that a femoral hernia is obstructing your intestines. This
is a very serious condition called strangulation. Strangulation causes
intestinal and bowel tissue to die, which can put your life in danger. This is considered
a medical emergency. Severe symptoms of a femoral hernia include:
- severe stomach pain
- sudden groin pain
Call 911 and
seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from these symptoms. If the
hernia obstructs the intestines, blood flow to the intestines can be cut off.
Emergency treatment can fix the hernia and save your life.
Diagnosing a Femoral Hernia
will perform a physical examination by gently palpating, or touching, the area
to determine if you have a femoral hernia. In many cases, the bulging can be
of the abdominal and groin area can confirm the diagnosis. Imaging technology
can show the hole in the muscle wall, as well as the protruding tissue.
Treatment for Femoral
hernias that are small and asymptomatic may not require specific treatment.
Your doctor might monitor your condition until symptoms progress. Moderate- to
large-sized femoral hernias require surgical repair, especially if they are
causing any level of discomfort.
hernia repair is performed under general anesthetic. This means you will be
asleep for the procedure and unable to feel pain. Femoral hernia repair can be
done as either an open or laparoscopic surgery. An open procedure requires a
larger incision and a longer recovery period. Laparoscopic surgery uses three
to four keyhole-sized incisions that minimize loss of blood. The type of
surgery chosen depends on a few factors, including:
- the surgeon’s expertise
- the type of hernia
- anticipated recovery time
surgery, for instance, involves less pain and scarring than open surgery, as well
as a shorter time required for healing. However, it is a more costly procedure
than open surgery.
surgeries, your surgeon will make incisions in your groin area to access the
hernia. The intestine or other tissue protruding from the femoral area is
returned to its proper position. The surgeon will sew the hole back together,
and may reinforce it with a piece of mesh. The mesh strengthens the wall of the
canal. Some procedures called “tension-free repairs” are minimally invasive and
do not require the use of general anesthesia.
Outlook After a Femoral
hernias are generally not life-threatening medical conditions.
of the hernia can become life-threatening, however, and must be treated through
emergency surgery. The British Hernia Centre estimates that the bowel will
only survive for roughly eight to 12 hours following strangulation, which makes
it imperative to seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms. The
repair itself is very safe with little risk. Most people can return to light
activities within two weeks. Most people fully recover within six weeks.
recurrence of a femoral hernia is very low. The Royal United Hospital estimates that only 1 to 5
percent of people who have had a femoral hernia will have a recurring hernia.