Bill is at the gym working out with a focus on his core and really pushing it. He adds a couple extra 10-pound discs to the squat bar for his final reps.
On the construction job site, Tom lifts a heavy cedar 2×10 off the stack. His right foot slips a little in the mud as he twists his body.
During a bad allergy day, Scott has the sneezing fit of all sneezing fits. He blows his nose, unaware that something just happened.
During his normal morning routine, Ray is in the shower thinking through his upcoming day. He notices a bulge in his groin. He can’t determine when or how it showed up. Concerned he has a tumor, he schedules an appointment with his primary physician.
A New Sensation
As time passes, all four men begin to feel different. They each develop a dull ache they’ve never experienced before. The discomfort is centralized in the lower abdominal area on either side of their pubic bones.
Bill describes the sensation as a “heavy feeling in my nether regions.” He reports that it feels like more of a burn when he’s exercising at the gym.
Tom explains that it’s a “pressure in my groin” that gets worse when he bends over. He’s aware of it and is increasingly cautious at work when it comes to putting any strain on his body.
Scott’s assessment of the sensation is exactly the same, and he dreads it every time he feels a sneeze or cough coming on. Because when that happens, Scott gets a searing pain in his groin.
Ray’s symptoms are more obscure because he doesn’t know how the bulge originated. He doesn’t have any pain per se; just a different feeling. He can’t trace the lump to an activity or event. He only knows one day it appeared and he’s worried it might be something serious.
What They Have
Bill, Tom, Scott, and Ray all developed inguinal hernias, which is when tissue (occasionally a small part of the intestine) protrudes through a weak area in the abdominal muscles on either side of the pubic bones.
Each man can verify the diagnosis by being able to feel a bulge in the pubic area, which is more obvious when standing upright. Occasionally, the pain and swelling can extend down into the scrotum. All agree that it’s a real bummer when that happens.
The men are able to gently push the hernias back into the abdomen, particularly when they’re lying down. Applying an ice pack to the area also works well to reduce swelling and discomfort.
It’s not necessarily the men’s fault that they have inguinal hernias. Weaknesses in the abdominal muscles are common, and can sometimes be congenital. Also, abdominal strength naturally reduces with aging. The inguinal hernias aren’t always dangerous. However, the conditions and discomfort won’t improve on their own.
The Next Step
Bill, Tom, Scott, and Ray owe it to themselves to visit their doctors to see if an inguinal hernia repair is a good idea. And if you share any of the same sensations as these men, then you should do the same and make an appointment with Dr. Michael Reinhorn and our team at Boston Hernia today.