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Bilateral inguinal hernia

Symptoms | Causes | Types | Diagnosis | Treatment | Recovery

What is a bilateral inguinal hernia?

In the case of a bilateral inguinal hernia there are weaknesses on both sides of the lower abdominal wall, resulting in bulges in the groin containing part of the peritoneum or abdominal fat. It is a very common phenomenon that mainly occurs in men. Approximately 25% of all men will ever experience an (double) inguinal hernia. In contrast to this high percentage, only 2% of women are affected by inguinal hernias. Many people do not seek treatment for their inguinal hernia because it often does not cause direct complaints. However, early medical intervention can prevent further bulges and / or complications from occurring.

Inguinal hernia symptoms

Swelling in both groins – The area under the skin of the groin or abdomen on both sides swells up, resulting in a thickening, which is especially noticeable when you cough. The swelling should disappear when you lie down.

Heavy feeling in the abdomen and groin – The abdomen feels heavy and this can be accompanied by intestinal problems such as constipation. The inguinal or abdominal area feels uncomfortable when you bend over, cough or lift an object. Feeling of heaviness or dragging sensation in the groin area. These symptoms of a bilateral hernia can be relieved by lying down.

Pain and pressure – You can sometimes have a painful or burning sensation in the groin area. The groin area can also feel weak and feel as if it is under pressure. In men, the testicles occasionally experience pain and swelling.

Treatment of a bilateral hernia

An operation is the recommended treatment in the case of a bilateral inguinal hernia. The operation is a small operation that can be performed in two ways: using an ‘open’ operation or a laparoscopic operation.

If an open operation is used, a small cut is made in the groin after which the bulges are pushed back into the abdomen. The hernias are then repaired by stitching your own tissue. During a laparoscopic operation, a camera and equipment are brought in through several small holes to repair the hernia from the inside. With a laparoscopic operation, the recovery time is shorter, but the operation is always carried out with the use of plastic mesh (BioHernia does not carry out laparoscopic surgery). In both cases, the operation is performed simultaneously on both sides, unless there is no need to repair the hernia on one of the sides.

With or without mesh?

We always recommend surgical procedures without the use of meshes, and only by an experienced surgeon. Especially in the case of a bilateral hernia it is important that you opt for an operation without a mesh, because you are at twice the risk of complications caused by the meshes. If you still have doubts about the difference between operation methods with or without a mesh, we have made an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of both types of inguinal hernia operations.

Hernia repair: with or without mesh?

What types of hernias are there?

Indirect inguinal hernia
The indirect inguinal hernia is the most common type of inguinal hernia. It often occurs in premature babies, where the inguinal canal has not fully developed. However, this type of inguinal hernia can also occur at any other time in life and occurs mainly in men.

Direct inguinal hernia
A direct inguinal hernia usually occurs in adults. Often it is mistakenly thought that weak muscles during the adulthood lead to a direct inguinal hernia. This type of inguinal hernia is also more common in men.

Risks
Due to the weakening of the hernia, tissue can sink in from the abdominal cavity. For example, a piece of the intestine can become trapped. When entrapped, the blood supply to that part of the intestine is obstructed, allowing the constricted part of the intestine to die off. If this happens, you must be operated urgently, otherwise you risk death.

Causes and risk factors of inguinal hernia

An inguinal hernia can occur for various reasons. First of all, it may be that the weakening of your abdominal wall is an innate characteristic. Abrupt or continuous stress or pressure on the abdominal wall can also cause a hernia, for example heavy work or exercise. In both cases, a number of factors play a role in the occurrence of the hernia: Bilateral inguinal hernias are caused by weakening or overloading of muscles in the groin / lower abdomen. Bilateral hernias can take a long time to develop, depending on the cause. Everyone can suffer from bilateral inguinal hernias, but they are more common in men than in women.

  • Heredity
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Standing for a long time
  • Smoking (smoking causes the connective tissue to weaken)
  • Excessive coughing
  • Constipation
  • Often lifting of heavy objects
  • Making sudden explosive movements during sport

Diagnosis of a bilateral hernia

A diagnosis can be made in two ways:

Ultrasound
An ultrasound gives a better image of the inside and is usually used when the inguinal hernia can not be seen with the naked eye.

Observation
An experienced doctor can make a diagnosis of a bilateral hernia without the use of medical equipment. The doctor does this by physical examination and letting you cough.

Recovery after a hernia operation

After a bilateral hernia operation, you mostly need to rest. You are still quite mobile after an inguinal hernia operation, for example you can walk easily. After about 2 weeks you can resume light work where you do not lift more than 10 kilograms. After 4 to 6 weeks you are fully recovered and you can resume work.

recovery & after care

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