In women, the vulnerable (reproductive) organs located in the abdominal area must be taken into account during a hernia operation. Operations in this part of the body therefore require special attention and knowledge. At BioHernia we find it important to pay extra attention and time to the inguinal hernia operations in women. If you choose an operation with us, we will give you three guarantees:
√ Always a tailored solution
√ No plastic meshes that can damage organs
√ Help with every step before and after the operation
In general, inguinal hernias are much less common in women than in men. To illustrate: of the 30,000 inguinal hernia operations per year in the Netherlands, no less than 88% of all operations are performed on men and only 12% on women. (1)
Researches are often conducted with individuals who are part of a majority (in this case men), so that all factors that can influence the research are kept the same. The conclusions drawn from these studies are then applied to both the majority (men) and the minority (women). Important factors such as the anatomical difference between men and women and the presence of other organs in the abdominal area are overlooked. We prefer to separate both groups and use our individual approach to offer women tailored solutions for their hernias.
Although inguinal hernias are not common in women, women are treated with the same standard operation methods as men. In recent years, however, there is a lot of doubt whether the standard method with mesh is the right solution for women.
For example: when removing inguinal hernia meshes, we see an alarmingly high number of women among our patients. No less than 44% of all patients treated in 2017 for chronic ‘mesh pain’ are women. This while only 12% of all inguinal hernia operations are undergone by women.
The abdominal area of a man and woman is very different. Where a woman has ovaries and a uterus, a surgeon must consider the sperm cord in a man. In addition, women have a much smaller inguinal canal, which means that the chance of getting an inguinal hernia or recurrence of inguinal hernia is much smaller in women than in man. A study in 2007 showed that the use of meshes for inguinal hernia surgery is probably not necessary in women.(2) Unfortunately, this is the only study that has been conducted into the effect of inguinal hernia meshes on women.
The European guidelines nevertheless tell us that every adult (regardless of gender) has to undergo an inguinal hernia operation with a mesh. But, the fact that women have an increased risk of chronic pain is also known to the makers of this European guideline. In a broadcast of Dutch television show ”AVROTROS Radar” about the dangers of inguinal hernia meshes, Dr. M. Simons (leader of the group responsible for writing the European guidelines for inguinal hernia operations) acknowledges that women have an increased risk of chronic pain.(3)
In addition, women may wonder whether the guidelines were written with them in mind, as they are a small minority in the total number of inguinal hernia operations. The new guidelines show that the writers of the guidelines are sponsored by the largest manufacturers of plastic hernia meshes.(4) The question begs whether this has ultimately influenced the writing of the guideline, since it recommends the use of plastic meshes for every patient over 18 years old (regardless of gender).
Did you know that women generally recover quicker after a hernia repair without mesh? At BioHernia, women can almost always return home faster than men. In the case of a bilateral inguinal hernia repair, it sometimes saves even half of the time! This is because the anatomy of women is better in line with the operation techniques without mesh.
An umbilical hernia is a type of hernia that is more common in women than it is in men. A weakening of tissue behind the navel, allows fat and intestines to press outwards. These types of hernias can also be repaired by our surgeons without the use of plastic meshes, but these kinds of operations are more difficult. Before we can guarantee an operation without mesh, our surgeon has to examine you.