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Help - Inguinal hernia - what to do

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Hello

I’m quite new on the forum here, and would really appreciate some advice. I learned recently that I have a small inguinal hernia (about 2.5 cm). I’ve done a little reading here and elsewhere about hernia surgery, and must admit, that while I’d like to get this fixed, I’m quite scared of what I read concerning the possibility that chronic pain could result from the surgery. So my question to everyone here whose knowledge and judgment certainly goes well beyond mine … what would you do if you were me?

Here’s my situation: I’m 67 years old and in good physical shape, having been a distance runner for the past two decades. I’m not on any medications whatsoever. My family doctor has described my hernia as “small”. He feels I really don’t need to do anything about it at this time. A second doctor - a surgeon with lots of experience with hernias - has also stated than an option is definitely watchful waiting. He stated that the risk of anything serious developing was quite small (though not non-existent). He did though, that “these things don’t get better on their own” and most people eventually (with ten years or so) end up getting surgery.

I did search around for a surgeon who was experienced with non-mesh repairs and this doctor certainly is. He does both types, but is an advocate for, and experienced with the Shouldice-type of repair. I do understand that the recurrence rate is a little higher when mesh is not used, and I would accept that because I just want to avoid mesh. But in terms of chronic pain issues after surgery he has indicated that as many as 30% of people getting the surgery, can possibly have chronic pain issues. (I read different statistics in different places, but if this number is anywhere near accurate, this really concerns me. Also, maybe I've scared myself reading some of the post surgery stories posted online?)

Currently, my hernia is only mildly symptomatic. I am aware of it, expecially at the end of the day when I have a few sensations (not exactly pain, but some different feelings there). It’s probably more of an issue mentally than physically for me, because it’s on my mind.

The other factor for me is that I currently have a shoulder tendonosis issue that causes fairly constant, though low-level discomfort for me. This is sometimes a challenge for me to deal with, and I certainly don’t want to add to this with any chronic pain that might result from hernia surgery.

I should add that I’ve also read about exercises that could possibly resolve such hernias, or at least keep symptoms from becoming worse. I’ve already started some of these, and am prepared to commit fully to these if they have potential.

Anyway, I know there aren’t any “right” answers, but I would really appreciate any thoughts concerning what you would do if you were in my place.

I do have a surgery date schedule in about a month, but I’m really wondering now, whether I want to go through with it, or wait.

Again, thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice! I just don’t know what to do.

Bob
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