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A testicle hernia is a type of inguinal hernia in which a loop of bowel pushes its way into the scrotum, causing a distinctive lump. Inguinal hernias in general tend to be more common in men than in women because of the way in which male fetuses develop, but testicle hernias are comparatively rare. Like other hernias, the only way to repair a testicle hernia is through surgery to put the bowel back into place and repair the site of the herniation.
Hernias occur when an organ pushes through the layers of tissue which are supposed to keep it contained. In the case of an inguinal hernia, this involves the protrusion of bowel past the inguinal canal, an anatomical feature located in the lower abdomen. Inguinal hernias cause lumps and corresponding pain in the groin area. They tend to be more common in men because of the male anatomy: the testicles actually start out in the body, and later descend, leaving a weak point which is vulnerable to herniation.
In the case of a testicle hernia, the loop of bowel trapped in the intestine may feel painful at times, and it leaps into prominence when the patient coughs, which is a useful diagnostic tool. At a physical, a doctor often checks for hernias by placing a hand on the scrotum and asking the patient to cough; if a lump emerges, the patient has a testicle hernia. If the condition is left untreated, the hernia may become strangulated, meaning that the supply of blood is cut off, causing the tissue to die. This is not desirable, and as a result, a testicle hernia must be treated.
A hernia truss can sometimes be worn to keep the herniated bowel in place, but the site will eventually require surgery. Although many men are understandably nervous about having surgical procedures in the vicinity of their testicles, the consequences of an untreated hernia should not be taken lightly, and the earlier surgical intervention is undertaken, the less traumatic the surgery should be. The surgeon will also exercise due care in the region while repairing the hernia to ensure that nothing is damaged.
Sometimes, a testicle hernia just emerges, without any action on the part of the patient. In other instances, the hernia is brought on by severe strain, poor lifting posture with weights and heavy objects, or strenuous activity. Men can reduce their chances of developing an inguinal hernia by learning to lift things safely, and exercising at a reasonable comfort level which includes adequate time for warming up and cooling down.