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Hernia, inguinal repair - Recovering from surgery

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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You will not feel any pain while your inguinal hernia is being repaired, but your groin will feel sore and uncomfortable afterwards. You will be given painkillers to help relieve this.

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after your operation. Get an adult to take you home in a car or taxi.

Looking after yourself

An adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery. You can follow the tips below to ensure your recovery is as quick as possible.

  • Follow the instructions your nurse gave you about caring for your wound, hygiene and bathing.
  • If you are still in pain, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and high-fibre foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta. This helps to avoid constipation, which may cause pain in your wounds from straining.
  • In general, take it easy for the first two or three days.


A general anaesthetic can affect your coordination and reasoning skills, so avoid alcohol, operating machinery or signing legal documents for at least 48 hours afterwards.

You cannot drive legally within 48 hours of a general anaesthetic. It will be at least one to two weeks before you can drive after keyhole surgery and two to six weeks after open surgery. You must not drive before you are pain free. Contact your car insurance company before driving.

It usually takes 10-15 days before you can get back to normal activities such as walking, shopping and sport. You may recover faster if you have had keyhole surgery.

You can usually return to work after two to four weeks, depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work. Gentle exercise can help the healing process, but you should avoid anything too strenuous and heavy lifting.

You may find sex painful or uncomfortable at first, but it is fine to have sex when you feel like it.

Medical Review: November 30, 2009
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