A scrotal hernia is only one type of hernia and it affects the scrotum. Similar to any other type of hernia, scrotal hernia features with protrusion of certain structures into the scrotum. Hernia in general affects weak spots in the front abdominal wall. The content of the abdominal cavity (usually intestine) protrudes through weak spots on the abdominal wall and create a bulge. In scrotal hernia there is also protrusion of the abdominal content but it occurs in the scrotum. Scrotal hernia is in fact inguinal hernia since the content of the abdominal cavity protrudes through the inguinal canal and the name scrotal is related to the fact that the content actually ends up in the scrotum. Scrotal hernia is more common in infants than in adults.
Causes of Scrotal Hernia
The most common causes of scrotal hernia are heavy lifting, persistent cough, straining and any activity that increases intra-abdominal pressure and leads to subsequent protrusion of the abdominal content.
Furthermore, there are certain risk factors for scrotal hernia and they include family history of hernia, chronic constipation, heavy straining during defecation, obesity etc.
Symptoms of Scrotal Hernia
If the hernia is too small there are no obvious signs and the condition may be asymptomatic. However, bulging may be rather huge and cause asymmetry of the scrotum. Protrusion may enlarge if one coughs or strains. In children scrotal hernia tends to enlarge when a child is crying. Some patients complain about discomfort. Sometimes scrotal hernia leads to pain in the scrotum and this symptom usually points to potential complications of hernia known as strangulated or incarcerated hernia.
Treatment for Scrotal Hernia
If the condition is asymptomatic the person is not even aware of the presence of the hernia. The hernia may be accidentally found during routine checkups. Small and asymptomatic hernia actually does not require any treatment at all. Still these patients must be monitored since the hernia may eventually enlarge.
On the other hand, larger scrotal hernias require proper treatment. If left untreated scrotal hernia may cause serious complications such as strangulation of the intestines or incarcerated hernia. The most suitable treatment modality for scrotal hernia is surgical repair. During the procedure the content of the abdomen is returned to its original location and the weak spot in the abdominal wall is tightened. Even complications of scrotal hernia are treated surgically but unlike the uncomplicated hernias complications such as strangulation or incarcerated scrotal hernia require prompt medical care and immediate surgery.