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Different Types of Hernias That Affect Males

As mentioned in Are Breast / Genital Exams Necessary For Sports Physicals?, hernia / genital exam should not be required for sports physicals.

Hernia exams should only be done when the history indicates a possible problem. The NCAA 2008-09 Sports Manual doesn’t even mention the word hernia. There is no other need for genital exams to play sports. Given the total lack of evidence that routine intimate exams add to the safety of participants, the regular use of these exams should be abandoned.” (Source: Sports Physicals Are They Needlessly Embarrassing? By Dr. Joel Sherman). Small hernias can usually be left alone unless they cause pain.

Congenital inguinal hernia - "A congenital inguinal hernia occurs to newborn babies and is a congenital defect which cannot be prevented. When a male baby is being formed in the womb the testicles are formed inside the abdominal cavity. They move down through the abdominal cavity through an opening into the groin and then end up in the scrotal sac. The opening is called the inguinal canal and will close up once the testicles have dropped in the fetus's eight month. The cord that is attached to the testicles and the veins supplying the blood into the testicles pass through the canal and are completely fused where the opening used to be. The abdominal wall becomes separated from the scrotum area by the peritoneum. If the fusion is incomplete at birth, then the baby will have a congenital inguinal hernia. Sometimes the hole is big enough that the intestines will pop through the peritoneum into to the scrotum. You will notice in your baby a small swelling or protrusion of a soft lump into the groin area, especially when they are crying, coughing or straining." (Source: Inguinal Hernia) Most boys and parents are well aware of congenital hernias long before a child plays sports and would be a part of their medical history that may affect sports but most likely would not.

Inguinal hernia - It is a hernia that occurs when the membrane that separates the abdominal cavity that holds the intensities breaks open and allows protrusions into the groin region. The cause of the hernia is usually related to a weakness of the peritoneum which separates the abdominal cavity from the groin area. The peritoneum will stretch and rupture, usually from lifting something heavy or straining. When a hole occurs in the peritoneum the intestines or bowels can be pushed through the opening down into the groin. You will feel a soft lump; which may be painful or may not. Usually there is more pain if you stretch, cough, laugh, lift something heavy or strain yourself in any way. (Source: Inguinal Hernia)

It is pretty easy for a boy to tell if he has a hernia without a doctor's help. Adolescent boys should be taught to self-examine for testicular lumps and hernias and if they have a problem, they can always go to see a doctor. Kids will know if they have a hernia if it is significant. If it is too small for them to notice, nothing need be done unless they have some pain. Small hernias can usually be left alone. Check out the following articles about how you can determine if you have a hernia: How to Check for a Hernia and How to Tell If You Have an Inguinal Hernia.

Sports hernia - This type of hernia occurs with the weakening of the muscles or tendons in a thin region of the abdominal wall. Once overexerted, a muscle tear occurs inside the groin. The overexertion occurs because of a losing battle with the adductor muscles of the thigh. The oblique muscles attach at the pubis in the groin. When contracting, they pull up on the pubis as the trunk flexes and rotates. Adductor muscles also attach at the pubis. The muscles pull on the pelvis from below as they work to move the femur medially toward the body. When both oblique muscles and adductor muscles contract at the same time, a tug-of-war of the pelvis ensues. Because athletes tend to focus on strengthening the lower body more so than the trunk, the adductor muscles are typically stronger. As a result the weaker oblique muscles tear, resulting in a sports hernia. A sports hernia is probably the least understood of all the injuries that involve professional level and collegiate level athletes. A sports hernia is a tear to the oblique abdominal muscles. Unlike a traditional hernia, the sports hernia does not create a hole in abdominal wall. As a result, there is no visible bulge under the skin. This means making a definitive sports hernia diagnosis is difficult. (Source: Understanding the Often Misunderstood and Misdiagnosed Sports Hernia)

"A sports hernia rarely causes any visible bulge in the muscle wall, so it is often overlooked for some time before it is diagnosed. The most common symptom of a sports hernia is a dull, aching pain in the lower abdomen or groin that gradually increases in severity. This pain generally increases with exercise or activities such as running or weight lifting."
(Source: What is a Sports Hernia)
A hernia check at a physical exam cannot help to find a sports hernia. A sports hernia is found based on a guy's complaint of pain in the groin and abdomen.

Other Related Articles:

Are Breast / Genital Exams Necessary for Sports Physicals?

Unnecessary Breast / Genital Exams in Sports Physicals - Video

Tips For Parents of Teenage Children


Sports Physicals Are They Needlessly Embarrassing? By Dr. Joel Sherman

Inguinal Hernia

How to Check for a Hernia

How to Tell If You Have an Inguinal Hernia

Understanding the Often Misunderstood and Misdiagnosed Sports Hernia

What is a Sports Hernia


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