Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions

Inguinal Hernia Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Inguinal Hernia

The main symptom of an inguinal hernia is a bulge or swelling that you can see under your child’s skin. The bulge is near the crease between your child’s belly and inner thigh. In boys, the swelling can extend down into the scrotum. In girls, it may extend to the labia.

Many children with a hernia seem to be comfortable and act normally. Other children are fussy or complain of pain with exercise. If the bulge comes on suddenly, your child may become cranky, cry out in pain or not want to eat.

Symptoms may depend on the type of hernia:

  • With reducible hernia, the bulge may show up only when your child cries, coughs, strains, runs or stands. These actions create more pressure in your child’s belly. When your child is relaxed or resting, the hernia may seem to hide (retract).
  • If your child has an incarcerated hernia, the bulge is present all the time. Your child will probably have pain. They may vomit, and the bulge may feel hard.

Inguinal Hernia Diagnosis

Your child’s doctor will look for the hernia during a physical exam. Most hernias occur on the right side. But inguinal hernias can occur on the left side or on both sides at the same time. The doctor will check both sides on your child.

Your child’s doctor will examine your child’s belly and the area between the belly and the inner thigh. In boys, the doctor will most likely examine the scrotum to feel for a hernia.

The doctor will check to see if the bulge gets bigger when your child is crying, coughing or straining, or if it is present all the time. This can help you and your child’s doctor decide on the timing of treatment.

Contact Us

If you have questions about inguinal hernia treatment, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794, extension 4.