Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Hernia Forum

Probable Inquinal Hernia - Weight Loss Question

I think I have an inguinal hernia. Strangely enough, my dad has the same symptoms as me, and just got back from a specialist who was able to detect it, it as very small and his regular physician wasn't able to find it. Ironically I may be in the same boat.

About 5 weeks ago I was sweeping snow with a push broom and a few hours later out of knowhere my right testicle was in pain. Not excruciating, but I have a high pain tolerance it seems. After 3 days of constant pain, I saw my doctor. I hadn't been for a visit because I am in-between jobs right now and uninsured, the one thing we hadn't done yet was a groin exam as part of a physical. I was worried it might be cancer becasue of the localization of the pain - solely in the testicle. I was examined and no hernia was found, so I guess it could have been a slight tear. We did a uninalysis for infection which came back negative. As prescribed, I took Ibruprofen for a week, and the pain seemed to go away.

But, it've felt the pain recurring in different areas near my lower groin. I've been taking things light physically, but it's been 5 weeks and I still have a pain right near my scrotum on the right-hand side. Some days I feel nothing, other days I feel a pain up higher. Not constant like before, more intermittent. Listening to my dad describe the exact same sympoms and location makes me think I have the same thing.

My dillema is I am unisured for the moment and that may change in a month or two. If the injury is so light that my doctor didn't find it in an exam and I don't even feel pain some days, could I get by for a while taking it easy and avoid complications as it seems to be mild?

A sortof complication/theory is I am a big man, 6'3", I was almost 400 pounds last july, I have been mainly dieting and occasionally exercising (battling one injury after another) and am down to 320 pounds. I am determined to get to 220 pounds and am staying on track. But I've notice while losing weight my (stomach/abdomen - I'll call it "gut") has shrunken and now rests differently than it did when I was heavier. I think I got this injury because my gut is moving differently when I do things like shoveling snow. I wonder what will happen as I continue to lose weight and my gut shrinks. If I am careful, will this minor hernia go away? If I keep exercising on light walks/hikes, will it worsen? I am extremely good at listening to my body and am familiar with good diet and exercise from stretching - I teach martial arts.

I can't find any information relating obesity/weight-loss to hernia. So the question bugs me. I have all this mass, mainly fat, some skin and muscle, that has stretched the tissue of my body. As all of that compacts and shrinks and goes away, how would a minor hernia injury progress?

Also, is there a chance that it is not hernia and just a bad tear that should mend? Like I said, it hasnt gone away in 5 weeks but at times I haven't noticed it and the pain has moved a bit. Sould I take a regimen of iburpofen for another week? My doctor told me not t go more than 8 days straight.

Thanks for any insight.
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replied July 2nd, 2008
hernia - weight loss
I lost around 25 lbs in 2007 due to anorexia...and developed bilateral hernia (both sides). I know of someone else who crash dieted (NOT due to anorexia) and developed a hernia.

I spoke to a doc friend and have seen several websites about this. Yes, extreme, rapid weight loss can indeed cause hernias to appear.

When you diet you are losing muscle bulk as well as fat. The muscle tissue may get weaker, and if a hernia is sitting there quietly, waiting to happen, bingo (you have to be pre-disposed to it, of course).

Also there is a layer of fat (called "omentum") protecting the lower ab muscles. If that cushioning layer diminishes, the muscle probably becomes more vulnerable to tears.

A recent Swedish study showed that obese and heavy men were much LESS likely to develop hernias (!). I know about 20 people (including a couple of women) who've had, or now have, hernias. Almost ALL of them are either thin, or VERY thin. Coincidence?

My hernia symptoms, usually very mild, also "come & go", as they often do in the early stages (apparently sometimes for years). The bulge is not ALWAYS present. One doc says I have it on the left, another doesn't. Get it checked out.

By the way, doc's don't always push immediate surgery anymore. Lately more & more doc's are recommending "watchful waiting" because of the risks of various surgical complications (there was a major study about this released in 2006). However do see a doctor, and all the best of luck.
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replied July 2nd, 2009
Re: Hernia and weight loss
I lost about 50 pounds over the course of 4-5 months. Shortly later I discovered that I had a hernia just to the left of my front groin area. I had it corrected a short time later and believe it is now okay. I am not sure if weight loss played a roll or just exposed what was already there and or had already started.
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replied October 6th, 2010
Inguinal Hernia
I had an inguinal hernia repaired 13 years ago. At the time I found it strange because the Doctors told me it was rare for a woman to have an inguinal hernia. I have a lifelong history with anorexia and bulimia and a Grandfather who had a double hernia in the inguinal area. I now am almost certain that I will have to have surgery on the right inguinal side. The intial pain was the same and now I have swelling in areas in addition to discomfort, lack of appetite, etc. I was also in rear-end in a car accident not too long ago which may have made the hernia worse. Wish me luck at My Dr.'s apt. tomorrow.
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