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Hernia - What are the symptoms of a hernia?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

An inguinal hernia is a bulge or swelling in your groin. Its size depends on how much bowel and fat has slipped out of your abdomen and down into your groin.

If you have a hernia, you may notice the following.

  • You can see or feel a bulge or swelling in your groin. It may get bigger when you cough, bend, lift, or strain. You may only be able to feel the lump when you stand up. Some people can push their hernia back into their abdomen.

  • Your groin may feel uncomfortable and tender, especially when you bend or lift. In men, the lump can move into the scrotum (the bag that holds the testicles). This can be painful and it can cause swelling.[9] Small hernias can be as painful as large hernias.

  • The part of your bowel inside your hernia may gurgle. You may also get a burning feeling in your groin.

You can get a hernia on one side of your groin or on both sides. You're more likely to get a hernia on the right side of your body.[10][11]

Not everyone with a hernia has painful symptoms, but most people don't like having the bulge in their groin.

A hernia may show in babies and children only when they cry or cough. Some children have a hernia but don't have any symptoms until they are adults.

There's a chance that your hernia could lead to a more serious problem. It's important to see a doctor straight away if:

  • Your bulge is very painful to touch[12]

  • You have bad pain in your groin that doesn't go away[12]

  • You feel sick, or get a high temperature

  • Your hernia looks red, purple, or black.

To read about problems that could happen if you don't have an operation to repair your hernia, see What will happen to me?


For references related to Hernia click here.
Last Updated: October 07, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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