Testicular hernia symptoms

Written by james rada, jr.
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Testicular hernia symptoms
(Diagram of an testicular inguinal hernia. Courtesy of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.)

Odd bulges around the testicles doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with your testicles. It could be a hernia. Hernias occur when body organs push through an opening in the walls surrounding the organs. The most-common organ for this to happen with is when the intestines push through weak points in the abdominal wall and make themselves known through bulges in the stomach, scrotum, thigh, side and lower abdomen. The hernias that make themselves noticeable around the testicles are inguinal hernia, which is also the most-common abdominal-wall hernias.

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Inguinal Hernia

Inguinal hernias occur in the groin area where the thigh meets the body and are found in men at a rate 25 times greater than women. Obviously, women won't experience hernias in their testicles, but there are two types of inguinal hernias: direct and indirect. While both types may cause bulges around the testicles, it happens nearly always with indirect inguinal hernias and rarely with direct inguinal hernias. .

Indirect inguinal hernias

Indirect inguinal hernias begin when the intestines push through the abdominal wall by following the path of the testicles when they descended into the scrotum during fetal development. Though this path usually closes prior to birth, it leaves a weak area in the abdomen. This type of hernia generally shows itself by a bulge around the testicles.

Direct inguinal hernias

Direct inguinal hernias begin near the site of an indirect inguinal hernia, but not along the testicular path. Instead, it pushes through a nearby spot where the abdominal wall is naturally thinner. This type of hernia rarely shows itself around the testicles, but it does happen.

Signs and Symptoms

Many times hernias will show no symptoms. The unusual bulge around the testicles from an inguinal hernia is usually the most-noticeable sign that you have a problem. The hernia bulge may ache but not be painful or it could be very tender. While many things could produce such bulges, if it grows in size when you stand or strain, it is probably a hernia. Another sign of a hernia is that it can be pushed back inside the abdomen. This is called reducing.

Danger Signs

Because of entanglements with other organs and tissue, some hernias can't be reduced. These hernias are more painful and can cause bowel obstruction, nausea and vomiting. The danger with these hernias is that the blood supply can be cut off. The hernia will be painful and tender if this is the case. The person with the hernia may look and feel ill, though the person won't have a fever. At this point, the hernia has become a medical emergency that requires surgery.

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