The Differences Between Hernias in Men Versus Women

Hernias result from an internal body organ, like the intestine pushing through the muscle wall in a weak spot. The abdomen and the groin are usually affected. Pain happens, mild or severe, and a bulge occurs. Hernias may be mild and benign or dangerous if neglected. Men and women suffer from hernias, but significant differences are found. Hernia should not remain untreated. If doubt arises, seeking an appointment with a specialist is necessary. Examination and diagnosis will take little time, but one can be confident.

Hernia Similarities in men and Women

An uneasy swelling in the pelvis or groin is joint for both men and women. During walking or lifting, inguinal hernias generate a dull pain. Femoral hernias cause pain in the inner leg, sometimes moving down the front of the leg.

Hernias do not subside by themselves but may require surgery. Open surgery requires cutting into the body and restoring the protruding organ. Suturing will be needed, along with a supporting mesh if required. In laparoscopic surgery, the repair is done through a tiny incision in the belly button. The tool resembles a telescope.

Types of Hernia Occurrence in Men Occurrence in Women
Groin/Inguinal hernia More common
Umbilical hernia More common
Femoral hernia More common
Hiatal hernia More common

Lifting weighty objects is what many men do rather than women. That is why hernias have become associated more with men than women.

Umbilical hernias develop in obese and pregnant women. The cause is weakness in the abdominal muscles around the naval cavity.

Femoral hernias, too, are predominantly found in women. They occur around the upper thigh and groin region.

Sports hernias, medically called athletic plumbagin, too, are centered around the groin region. It is an injury that affects the muscles or tendons of the lower abdomen because of hectic sports activity. Though not a hernia, the damage could lead to a hernia. In the absence of healing, the result may be an inguinal hernia. Nowadays, women with greater participation in sports are also becoming victims of sports hernias.

Causes of Hernias

As in some professions, lifting heavy objects is a common cause of hernia. Age and weight play important roles, too, with the older and the obese at greater risk. Genetics and heredity can be responsible, like a baby born with abdominal muscles undeveloped during pregnancy. The hernia may subside when the child grows within a few years.

Inguinal hernias happen in both men and women but are more prevalent in men. Men and women are anatomically different. Men have a little hole in the groin muscles. The function it serves is that blood vessels, along with the spermatic cord, can pass through and reach the testicles, according to a specialist.

When does a femoral hernia form? The intestine juts through a weak part of the upper thigh muscle. Women have a greater frequency of femoral hernias. The specialist thinks it is due to the different pelvic shapes compared with men to facilitate pregnancy and childbirth.

The cause of the umbilical hernia is the abdomen tissue lining protruding into the belly button region. During pregnancy, the abdominal wall experiences stretching. Naturally, umbilical hernias occur during the childbearing years. In the later older years, women and men experience them equally frequently.

In the case of hiatal hernias, obese and older women stand at greater risk. In the hiatal hernia, the stomach moves upwards into the chest through the diaphragm opening.

Are Hernias less Common in Women?

During diagnosis, healthcare professionals tend to assign other causes to the problem rather than hernias in women. A 2016 study revealed that inguinal and femoral hernias commonly caused pelvic pain in women referred for pelvic ultrasounds. The reason could be that gynecologists who attend to them are experts in the ovaries and the uterus. Getting more details about the pain quality could help point toward a hernia.

Conversely, it is men who suffer inguinal hernias more often than women. Inguinal hernias develop in the inner groin. Once again, the differing anatomy leads to 25% of men developing it sometime during a lifetime. Aging men have weaker abdominal walls, and the danger of hernia increases.

In comparison, only 2% of women get inguinal hernias. Why? The answer is that women need a solid abdominal wall to back up the uterus and get pregnant. The inguinal area of women carries a strong structure.

Several Hernia risk Factors

Along with gender, some other factors like family histories present dangers of possible hernias. When women suffer from a hernia, it is usually a deep tissue hernia. The truth is that hernias in women are misunderstood and taken to be gynecological problems like cysts and fibroids.

Like other medical conditions, hernias could run in the family. Abnormal collagen, a protein that forms muscle tissue, gives rise to hernias in some people.

When persons get obese, many chronic health complications could strike. Masses of fat in the overweight increase the likelihood of hernia attacks.

Like lifting loads, the pressure from strained bowel movement in constipation could increase the risk of hernia. Along with additional risk factors, lifting heavy things as a part of a job or hobby increases the risk of hernias. It is essential to avoid undue strain on the muscles.

Severe coughing from asthmatic conditions could exert a lot of pressure on the abdominal wall, resulting in a hernia.

Surgery may require incisions that increase the hernia risk. If the incision is done in the abdominal or pelvic region, it presents a greater risk of hernia. What can be done to reduce the postoperative hernia risk? Talk it over.

Men and Women Require Differing Treatments.

The only known treatment for hernias is surgery that could be minor according to the condition. The usual surgical procedure is to cut and find the hernia’s location. The protruding part of the organ is returned to its original place. The weak muscle is stitched, sometimes with a mesh for additional support. In the case of women, the mesh will not usually be required. With women, the hernia opening can be completely closed with sutures. Men need the opening to allow blood to pass to the testicles. In fact, for this reason, women get fewer hernias.

Laparoscopic surgery of groin hernias dramatically reduces the recurrence risk in women. That does not apply to men who face more significant risks of recurrence. According to an authority, the most significant risks arise from smoking and obesity, practiced equally by men and women.

Don’t take hernias lightly though they are hardly life-threatening. Get the hernia diagnosed and treated in time. Follow some prevention strategies for a healthier lifestyle, like not being obese and restricting smoking.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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