Femoral Hernia Symptoms

It's important to identify a femoral hernia, since it can cause serious medical complications that will need immediate treatment. In order to properly recognize femoral hernia symptoms, you need to understand what a femoral hernia is, what causes it and what it looks and feels like. 

Femoral Hernia 101
Your abdominal cavity contains many vital organs, fatty tissues and fluids. A thick membrane and strong muscles encase your abdominal cavity, keeping all those organs, tissues and liquids in their proper places. Between your abdominal cavity and your thigh, there is a tiny space that allows your femoral artery, vein and nerve to exit your abdominal cavity and enter your leg. Sometimes this space becomes stretched, torn or enlarged, allowing your intestine to protrude through the opening. When this happens, it is called a femoral hernia.

There are three types of femoral hernias:

  • A reducible femoral hernia is a hernia that can be manually manipulated back into the abdominal cavity. Sometimes the intestine can be tucked back inside the cavity and the opening will close up by itself such that it no longer creates a problem.
  • An irreducible femoral hernia is a hernia that cannot be corrected with external manipulation.
  • A strangulated irreducible femoral hernia is a hernia where the segment of intestine protruding through the opening in the abdominal wall has twisted, causing the blood flow or function of the intestine to be impaired. This condition can be very painful and serious and demands immediate medical repair.

All femoral hernias will look the same: they present as a bulge just below your inguinal fold, roughly mid-thigh. The doctor will determine which type of femoral hernia you have developed as he prods to see if the hernia can be externally manipulated back into proper position, or if the hernia will require surgical correction. In the case of the strangulated irreducible femoral hernia, you will experience pain and possibly nausea and vomiting in addition to the telltale bulge mid-thigh.  

If the hernia requires surgical repair, the doctor will either stitch the area or will use a mesh patch, known as a hernia patch, in the repair surgery. The operation is minor and is not very risky for patients in good health.

Femoral hernias are more common in women than men.

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