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Symptoms

At first, an inguinal hernia either may not cause any symptoms or may cause only a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the groin. Symptoms are most likely to appear after standing for long periods, or when you engage in activities that increase pressure inside the abdomen, such as heavy lifting, persistent coughing or straining while urinating or moving the bowels.

As the hernia grows, it eventually causes an abnormal bulge under the skin near the groin. This bulge may become increasingly more uncomfortable or tender to the touch. As the hernia increases in size, a portion of herniated intestine may become trapped and unable to slide back into the abdomen. If this happens, there is a danger that the trapped intestine may twist and die because its blood supply is cut off. This causes severe pain and requires immediate treatment.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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