Do Hernia Symptoms Differ Between Men and Women?

Published October 9, 2023 by

Most physicians believe you have a greater chance of getting a hernia as you get older. This is true for both men and women. Hernias are weak places in muscle walls that allow internal organs to protrude. They don’t heal on their own and must be surgically repaired. However, becoming aware you have one can differ between the sexes. Do hernia symptoms differ between men and women?

mesh for hernia surgery Common Hernia Symptoms in Women

Although women have fewer hernias, they still must be aware of symptoms. She may feel persistent intense pain, pelvic discomfort, sporadic sharp and piercing pain. There can be an achy feeling, a burning sensation, dullness, pinching, sharpness or shooting pain.

Females have less hernias than men. Their symptoms are different as well. A female hernia is smaller and deeper and does not have a lump. Female hernia symptoms many times mimic gynecological issues, and because of this, they are commonly misdiagnosed for a cyst, endometriosis, or fibroid tumors. It is essential that women describe their symptoms very specifically.

A woman is less likely to have a groin hernia, however they are susceptible to abdominal hernias.

Types of Female Hernias

Femoral Hernia

  • More common in women due to wider pelvis
  • Commonly appear after childbirth, after lifting heavy objects, or if a women is obese
  • Can have a small bulge in the inner or upper thigh area
  • Can become incarcerated or strangulated which is a medical emergency

Umbilical Hernia

  • Common when a woman is pregnant, especially when carrying multiple babies
  • Located at the belly button area or upper abdomen when a bowel or fatty tissue pushes through

Incisional/Ventral Hernia

  • Occurs through a previous incision in the abdominal wall
  • Common in those who had a caesarian section

Hiatal Hernia

  • Affects the chest area and digestive system
  • Upper part of the stomach pushes into the chest through an opening in diaphragm
  • More common in overweight women

Inguinal Hernia

  • Less common in women
  • Pain increases with exercise, laughing, coughing, or straining to move bowels

If a hernia becomes strangulated you will see red or purple tissue, a persistent bulge even when lying down. The pain will continue to get worse, there will be nausea, bloating, fever, rapid heart beat, and problems moving bowels. This is true for both men and women.

Common Hernia Symptoms in Men

Hernia symptoms in men are much more noticeable and quite different from female symptoms.

Men will have the following hernia symptoms:

  • A bulge a man can see and feel
  • A tugging sensation in the scrotum and around the testicles
  • A feeling of pressure
  • Aching pain in the area
  • Pain that gets worse with any activities requiring pressure to the area like heavy lifting, pushing or straining
  • Men also explain a hernia feels like a popping sensation internally

If a man experiences strain in the abdominal wall like heavy lifting, gaining weight in the abdomen, chronic coughing, or a surgical procedure on the abdomen, this can bring on a hernia.

Types of Male Hernias

Men have most of the same types of hernias as women as explained above

They also can have:

  • Obturator hernia, which occurs when part of the intestine passes through a gap between the bones of the front of the pelvis.
  • Epigastric hernia, when fat or intestine pass through the abdominal wall between the navel and breastbone.

Both men and women should be aware of the symptoms of a hernia and see a hernia specialist like Dr. Carlos Barba in Brownsville and Harlingen as soon as possible for a repair.

Contact Dr. Carlos Barba at (956) 621-4981 if you are experiencing any symptoms of a hernia.

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