Dealing with a hernia can be concerning, and when it comes to a bilateral inguinal hernia, it’s essential to understand what it is, how it differs from a one-sided inguinal hernia, and what treatment options are available.
This article will explore the ins and outs of bilateral inguinal hernias, the symptoms to watch out for, and the treatment methods involved. So, if you or someone you know is experiencing this condition, read on to gain valuable insights and knowledge.
What Is A Bilateral Inguinal Hernia?
A bilateral inguinal hernia is a specific type of hernia that occurs when a weakness in the abdominal muscles allows a portion of the intestines or other abdominal tissues to protrude through both sides of the groin or inguinal canal. This condition often leads to the formation of two distinct hernias, one on each side of the pubic bone.
The symptoms of a bilateral inguinal hernia may be similar to those of a one-sided inguinal hernia, but the key difference is the presence of hernias on both sides of the groin. Common symptoms include:
- Visible bulges on both sides of the pubic bone, especially when standing, coughing, or straining.
- Discomfort or pain in the groin, particularly when bending, lifting, or performing physical activities.
- A feeling of heaviness or pressure in the groin area.
- A burning or aching sensation at the site of the hernias.
In some cases, pain or discomfort may radiate into the abdomen or scrotum.
Treatment: Bilateral Inguinal Hernia Repair
There are two main surgical techniques used for repairing bilateral inguinal hernias: open surgery and laparoscopic surgery.
In open hernia repair, the surgeon makes two incisions near the hernia site, allowing direct access to the protruding tissues. The herniated tissues are then pushed back into the abdominal cavity, and a synthetic mesh is often used to strengthen the weakened abdominal wall. This mesh acts as a support structure to prevent the hernia from recurring. The incisions are then closed with stitches or surgical staples.
Laparoscopic hernia repair is a minimally invasive approach that involves making several small incisions in the abdominal wall. A laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera on the end, is inserted through one of the incisions, providing a visual guide for the surgeon. Specialised surgical instruments are then inserted through the other incisions to repair the hernias and place the mesh. Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic surgery typically results in smaller incisions and less scarring.
Length of Recovery Before Returning to Work and Exercise
The complete recovery period after bilateral hernia repair varies from person to person but typically takes several weeks. Most individuals can resume light activities and return to work within 2 to 4 weeks after surgery, depending on the nature of their job and their healing progress. However, engaging in heavy lifting or intense exercise may need to be avoided for a more extended period, usually 4 to 6 weeks, to allow the abdominal muscles sufficient time to heal and regain strength.
Dealing with a bilateral inguinal hernia may seem daunting, but with proper understanding and timely treatment, it can be effectively managed. If you experience symptoms of a bilateral inguinal hernia, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly to prevent complications and achieve a smoother recovery.