What is a femoral hernia?
Your muscles are usually strong enough to keep your intestines and organs in their proper place. Sometimes, however, your intra-abdominal tissues can be pushed through a weakened spot in your muscle when you overstrain. If a portion of tissue pushes through the wall of the femoral canal, it’s called a femoral hernia. A femoral hernia will appear as a bulge near the groin or thigh. The femoral canal houses the femoral artery, smaller veins, and nerves. It’s located just below the inguinal ligament in the groin.
A femoral hernia can also be called a femorocele.
How common are femoral hernias?
Women are more likely than men to suffer from a femoral hernia. Overall, femoral hernias are not common. Most hernias that affect the groin are inguinal hernias, and fewer than 3 percent of all hernias are femoral. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of a femoral hernia?
You may not even realize you have a femoral hernia in some cases. Small and moderate-sized hernias don’t usually cause any symptoms. In many cases, you may not even see the bulge of a small femoral hernia.
Large hernias may be more noticeable and can cause some discomfort. A bulge may be visible in the groin area near your upper thigh. The bulging may become worse and can cause pain when you stand up, lift heavy objects, or strain in any way. Femoral hernias are often located very close to the hip bone and as a result may cause hip pain.
Severe symptoms can signify that a femoral hernia is obstructing your intestines. This is a very serious condition called strangulation. Strangulation causes intestinal or bowel tissue to die, which can put your life in danger. This is considered a medical emergency. Severe symptoms of a femoral hernia include:
Seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from these symptoms. If the hernia obstructs the intestines, blood flow to the intestines can be cut off. Emergency treatment can fix the hernia and save your life.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes femoral hernias?
The exact cause of femoral and other hernias are unknown most of the time. You may be born with a weakened area of the femoral canal, or the area may become weak over time.
What increases my risk for a femoral hernia?
There are many risk factors for femoral hernia, such as:
- Chronic constipation
- Heavy lifting
- Being overweight
- Difficult urination due to an enlarged prostate
- Chronic coughing
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is a femoral hernia diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination by gently palpating, or touching, the area to determine if you have a femoral hernia. If the hernia is large, the bulging will most likely be felt.
Ultrasound of the abdominal and groin area can confirm the diagnosis or establish a diagnosis if suspicion of a femoral hernia is high but no bulge is evident on physical examination. Imaging technology can show the defect in the muscle wall, as well as the protruding tissue.
How is a femoral hernia treated?
Femoral hernias that are small and asymptomatic may not require specific treatment. Your doctor might monitor your condition to see if symptoms progress. Moderate to large femoral hernias require surgical repair, especially if they’re causing any level of discomfort.
Femoral hernias can be repaired using surgery to push the bulge back into place and strengthen the weakness in the abdominal wall.
Unlike some other types of hernia, treatment of femoral hernias is almost always recommended straight away because there’s a higher risk of complications developing in these cases.
Surgery gets rid of the hernia and prevents any serious complications, although there’s a chance of it returning after the operation.
There are two ways a femoral hernia repair can be performed:
- Open surgery – where one cut is made to allow the surgeon to push the lump back into the abdomen
- Laparoscopy (keyhole) surgery – a less invasive, but more difficult, technique where several smaller cuts are made, allowing the surgeon to use various special instruments to repair the hernia
There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. The type of surgery you have depends on which method suits you and your surgeon’s experience.
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after surgery. It’s important to follow the hospital’s instructions on how to look after yourself. This includes eating a good diet to avoid constipation, caring for the wound and not straining yourself too soon.
Most people make a full recovery from femoral hernia repair within six weeks, although many people can return to driving, work and light activities within two weeks.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage femoral hernia?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: December 27, 2017 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019
Femoral Hernia. https://www.healthline.com/health/femoral-hernia. Accessed December 26, 2017.
Femoral hernia repair. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/femoral-hernia-repair/. Accessed December 26, 2017.