A hernia is a bulge produced by protrusion of content through a weak point in its containing cavity. Abdominal hernias are the most common. There are several abdominal hernias such as inguinal hernia, umbilicus hernia and femoral hernia. Femoral hernia is not as common as inguinal hernia.
A femoral hernia is the bulge that appears on upper side of the thigh. It occurs when the content of the abdomen (intestine) passes through weak femoral canal (a space through which blood vessel and lymph tissue pass from the abdomen towards the lower leg).As compared to men, femoral hernia is common in females.
A femoral hernia can be reducible or irreducible. In reducible femoral hernia, the bulge can be pushed back into the abdomen by the patient. A femoral hernia is said to be irreducible when the patient is unable to push it back into the abdomen. Irreducible hernias usually cause obstructed and strangulated hernia.
Causes Of Femoral Hernia
No one is able to establish with certainty the reason for femoral hernia or in that case for any type of hernias. However, several factors are known to contribute this condition.In some cases femoral hernia can be congenital but may be obvious only in adulthood.
- One of the causes for its prevalence among women is due to wide female pelvis. It is more common in women who have more than one child (multiparous).
- Chronic constipation where the patient has to strain for defecation causes raised intra-abdominal pressure. This may push the peritoneal abdominal fat into the femoral ring. It widens the ring and makes it weak. Now the content of abdomen can easily pass into the sac forming a bulge.
- Chronic cough can also increase the intra-abdominal pressure.
- Lifting heavy objects may also put lot of pressure on the abdomen.
- Excessive smoking, excessive weight gain, chronic straining during urination are few other causes for femoral hernia.
Femoral Hernia Symptoms
In many cases the hernia is small and remains undetected by the patient. However, with passage of time, it is apparent as a bulge in the upper thigh and groin area. The bulge becomes prominent in standing position. The size of the bulge may change during whole day. It may depend on the amount of intra-abdominal pressure variation of the intestine.
- The bulge recedes in size and becomes small when the patient lies down. This is because during this period, there is less intra-abdominal pressure.
- Femoral hernia may be painful or it may remain painless. It is especially painful when the hernia is irreducible or becomes strangulated.
- Vomiting, nausea and severe pain may be due to strangulation or obstruction of the content of femoral hernia. In most cases it is the peritoneal sac and the intestine.
How To Repair Femoral Hernia?
With passage of time, femoral hernia enlarges in its size. It becomes more prominent. Patient may complain of discomfort and pain. Femoral hernia does not recede on its own. It has to be surgically repaired.
Patient may neglect it when the hernia is reducible. However, most of the time he only visits the health care personnel when the hernia gets enlarged or it becomes painful and obstructed. Now it becomes a surgical emergency. Patient has to be admitted in the hospital and hernia is reduced surgically.
To prevent such situation, it is necessary to get operated before the complications appear. Key-hole surgery or an open surgery may depend on the size of femoral hernia and the condition. In most cases the doctor performs the operation under local anesthesia with 1% xylocaine.
After repair of femoral hernia, the patient is discharged on the same day. Patient should not lift weight for few months are the repair.