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Is it necessary to treat hernia?

Q: I am a 59 years old man having hernia for the last five years back. No serious impairment or problem. I am not taking any medication. No physical problems and since life is sedentary do not have any major problem. I do not want to get into a surgery unless highly warranted by way of pain or other complications. I only feel heaviness slightly in the scrotal sac no outward signal, slight hardness can be felt on the groin side. Please advise.

A:You have not indicated the type of hernia. However, from your description it appears that you have an inguinal (groin) hernia. In an inguinal hernia the contents of the abdomen, mainly the intestines, enter the scrotum through a weakness or defect in the abdominal wall. This occurs when the patient stands, coughs or strains. The intestines return to the abdominal cavity when the patient lies down. This hernia will get bigger with time and complications may occur. Complications include irreducibility, (intestines not returning to the abdominal cavity on lying down) which may result in obstruction or strangulation of the intestine. Obstruction and strangulation may be life threatening. You may go through life without any complications but the risk is always there. Therefore, it is suggested that you see a general surgeon regarding further management of your hernia.

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