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Symptoms for a double hernia usually include two bulges or swollen areas near the groin, pressure or a heavy feeling, and pain. This condition, also called a bilateral hernia, is the simultaneous occurrence of two hernias, typically in the inguinal canal or upper thigh near the femoral artery. A hernia is an eruption of weakened tissue, followed by an intrusion of the intestines into another part of the body. In severe cases, an inguinal hernia may descend into the scrotum, causing pressure on the testes.
Occasionally, a person with a double hernia shows no symptoms, and this condition is not always painful. If the hernias are quite small, there might not be any swelling or bulges. Sometimes a bulge is only visible when the person is standing, lifting a heavy object or coughing.
When a bulge is apparent, it is typically reducible. In other words, it can be pressed back into the abdomen when the individual is sitting or lying down. If it is swollen, it may require the application of an ice pack before it will slip back into the abdominal cavity.
An irreducible bulge cannot be pressed back into the abdomen. A painful, irreducible bulge normally indicates that the hernia is incarcerated, or trapped. An incarcerated hernia can be deprived of oxygen, which leads to a serious problem called strangulation. Symptoms of hernia strangulation include discoloration of the hernia bulge, nausea, vomiting, fever, rapid heart rate and sudden pain. This is an emergency situation and must receive immediate medical attention.
Although a double hernia can occur in both men and women, it is more common in men since men have a larger inguinal wall. If a person has developed an inguinal or femoral hernia, their chances of developing multiple hernias increases. The risk of developing a inguinal hernia also goes up if an individual has a chronic cough, chronic constipation or a family or personal history of hernias. Premature newborn infants are also at risk for hernias.
Surgery is the only recommended treatment for hernias. There are two types: herniorrhaphy and laparoscopy. Herniorrhaphy is an open surgery in which the descended intestines are pushed back into the abdomen and the tear repaired with mesh and stitches. A laparoscopy requires several small incisions and the insertion of a small camera and tools through a tube into the abdomen. The surgeon uses the camera as a guide to repair the hernia.