Inguinal hernia is a very common disorder, affecting millions of people in the United States alone. Considered to be a surgical disease, inguinal hernia accounts for thousands of annual operations worldwide.
Although inguinal hernia can occur in both sexes, the disorder predominantly affects men. Also, this type of hernia has the highest incidence in the elderly, people who frequently sustain physical effort and smokers. Inguinal hernia usually occurs on the background of a weak lower abdominal wall, allowing the internal soft tissues to pierce through it. The symptoms of inguinal hernia are: abdominal pain and discomfort (which intensify with intense physical effort or sudden moves), abdominal bloating and nausea. Some people with inguinal hernia are asymptomatic, rendering the process of diagnosing the disorder a lot more difficult.
There are many factors that can lead to the development of inguinal hernia, such as birth defects, internal disorders or acquired weaknesses of the abdominal wall. In the recent past, the majority of patients who were diagnosed with inguinal hernia were suggested to have their disorder surgically corrected as soon as possible. However, nowadays there are many debates over the necessity of surgical intervention when dealing with patients diagnosed with inguinal hernia. Although the surgery for inguinal hernia is a simple procedure, most patients experience a post-operative recurrence of the disorder. Hence, in many cases the surgical treatment for inguinal hernia only provides temporary relief, and most patients who suffer surgical hernia repair are later hospitalized due to complications.
Physicians have begun to doubt the efficiency of most surgical treatments for inguinal hernia and nowadays they only recommend surgical interventions to patients with complicated forms of the disorder. The majority of patients diagnosed with uncomplicated inguinal hernia nowadays have the possibility to decide whether they will have their hernia surgically repaired or not and in many cases, the best option for patients is to delay surgery until it is absolutely required. Statistics reveal that the patients who have their inguinal hernia surgically corrected can in time experience a relapse of the disorder and they are actually more exposed to developing complications than the patients who delay their surgery.
In many cases, the factors that lead to the recurrence of inguinal hernia in patients who suffer surgery are related to native predispositions. It seems that most patients who experience a post-operative recurrence of their inguinal hernia have a weak abdominal wall or other internal physiological abnormalities. The categories exposed to the highest risk of relapse are: people with native defects of the internal organs (gastrointestinal problems), people with physiological abnormalities of the abdominal wall and people whose careers involve intense physical activities. Patients who belong to these categories are advised to delay their inguinal hernia surgery for as long as possible, in order to prevent a recurrence or even an aggravation of the disorder.