Femoral hernias are fairly uncommon. Also known as a femorocele, women are more likely to suffer from a femoral hernia than men. Estimates reveal that 1 in 20 groin hernias are femoral. The rest of them are inguinal hernias. A painful bulge forms in the inner (upper) part of the thigh or groin. Due to over-strain, a portion of the intra-abdominal tissue pushes its way through a weak spot in the muscles. When these tissues push its way through the wall of the femoral canal, it is called as a femoral hernia. The femoral canal consists of small veins, nerves and the femoral artery and is located just below the inguinal ligament. Again, most femoral hernias do not reveal any symptoms but if it obstructs, can cause severe problems and is deemed as a medical emergency due to strangulation.
- Congenital weakness of the femoral canal
- Weakening of the area over time
- Overstrain can cause weakening of muscle walls
- Chronic constipation
- Lifting heavy objects
- Enlarged prostrate difficulty in urination due to this
- Chronic cough
Signs and symptoms
Usually small to medium femoral hernias do not exhibit any symptoms. Large hernias may cause significant discomfort upon prolonged standing, lifting or straining. The bulge is usually visible in the upper right thigh and is located close to the hip bone, and can even cause sufficient hip pain. With severe symptoms, a patient could also experience sudden pain in the groin and abdomen, along with nausea and vomiting. It signifies that the femoral hernia is obstructing the intestines leading to strangulation.
Reducible femoral hernia this can be pushed back into the abdomen with manipulation or spontaneously; this is common and not painful.
Irreducible femoral hernia the tissues have pushed itself into the femoral canal and cannot be reduced with spontaneous or manual manipulation; painful and feeling of illness.
Obstructed and strangulated femoral hernia some part of the intestine is twisted along with the hernia causing obstruction; it could grow becoming painful; the femoral hernia blocks blood supply to the loop bowel; causes nausea, vomiting and severe pain in the abdomen.
Femoral hernia repair
A femoral hernia repair is performed with a laparoscope under general anaesthetic. It takes about 30-45 minutes and a patient can return home the same day.