Post hernia surgery pain

Updated April 17, 2017

Every year, doctors perform more than half a million hernia repairs in the United States. The most common is the inguinal hernia, in which the intestine pushes through a weakness in the abdominal wall. There are two major techniques to repair hernias surgically, and both come with a certain degree of pain during recovery. Managing it is a matter of taking your pain prescriptions, following your doctor's orders for activity after surgery, and looking out for unusual pain that may be a sign of infection or another complication.

Type Of Surgery

The kind of pain you have depends greatly on the type of surgery your doctor chooses to repair your hernia. There are two major kinds of hernia repair--herniorrhaphy and hernioplasty.

Herniorrhaphy is an open and invasive repair of a hernia. The doctor makes an incision in the groin and pushes the protruding intestine back inside the abdominal wall. The surgeon then sews the torn muscle back together.

Hernioplasty is a far less invasive procedure. It is similar to patching a torn piece of clothing. The surgeon makes several small incisions and uses a laproscope, an instrument with a tiny camera on the tip, to see inside the patient's body. Watching the procedure on a monitor in the operating room, the surgeon sews a mesh patch over the hernia


Hernia surgery pain is centred on the abdomen. The muscles that have been sewn together are active and healing, and when they pull on the stitches, it causes pain. In addition, the incisions are healing, so doing anything but resting that area of the body can cause a sharp shooting pain.

Walking straight, sitting up, using the bathroom, taking a shower and sexual activity all may be very painful in the days or weeks following hernia surgery.

Time Frame

How quickly you leave the hospital and recover depends on the type of surgery you had, and your general fitness going into the procedure. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients who have herniorrhaphy or non-laproscopic hernioplasty have to wait four to six weeks to resume normal and pain-free activity.

Because laproscopic hernioplasty is less invasive, recover times generally are faster. Patients usually leave the hospital on the same day as the surgery and can return to work or school within three to four days. They are encouraged to be up and walking the day after the surgery, and generally can resume normal activity completely in a week or two.


Post-surgery pain is manageable with prescription painkillers, and easing back into activities as your doctor advises. If your doctor tells you to take things easy the first day, follow the advice; pain generally is mild in the first 24 hours following the surgery but grows more intense over the next few days. Overexerting yourself on that first day can make the next few days more painful than they would be normally.

Intense post-surgery pain can be treated with special painkilling injections.

Irregular Pain

Certain pain is normal after a hernia surgery, but other forms of discomfort may be a sign of infection or complication. According to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, patients should see their doctors if they have a persistent fever of more than 38.3 degrees C, bleeding or swelling in the groin.

Other symptoms that require immediate medical attention include nonstop nausea or vomiting, stubborn pain, inability to urinate, chills, coughing, shortness of breath, pus, and growing redness near the incision, and the inability to eat or drink.

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About the Author

John Zaremba began writing professionally in 1997. He has worked at some of the country's finest small daily newspapers, including "The Beacon News" and "The Patriot Ledger." Zaremba is a graduate of the University of Illinois.