Direct vs. Indirect Inguinal Hernias

Direct vs. Indirect Inguinal Hernias

What is an Inguinal Hernia?

An inguinal hernia (also known as a groin hernia) is the most common type of hernia. It occurs when soft tissue, such as fat or part of the intestine, protrudes through a weak spot in the lower abdominal wall. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when coughing, bending over or lifting a heavy object. Inguinal hernias are up to 10 times more common in men than women and one in four men will develop a hernia at some point in their life.

Direct vs. Indirect Inguinal Hernias

An inguinal hernia can be classified as “direct” or “indirect” depending on how and when it forms and a person’s age and gender are often a determining factor in the type of hernia.

A direct hernia typically occurs in older adults and is usually develops over time due to straining or the result of a specific injury. They are often caused by age-related stress and weakened muscles in the inguinal area. Previous surgery in the lower abdomen can also weaken the muscles there and contribute to a hernia.

An indirect hernia usually initially occurs in infancy, because it is a defect in the abdominal wall that will typically have been present since birth. A persistent opening that does not close during fetal development often causes them. Indirect hernias are the most common type of inguinal hernia. Although they occur in both men and women, they are more common in males than females.

What are the Symptoms of an Inguinal Hernia?

Both direct and indirect hernias have the following symptoms:

  • Bulge on either side of the pubic bone
  • Burning, gurgling, or aching sensation surrounding bulge
  • Pain or discomfort in the groin, especially when bending over, coughing, or lifting
  • Heavy or dragging sensation in the groin
  • Weakness or uncomfortable pressure in the groin


Inguinal hernias (both direct and indirect) do not correct themselves on their own, and the only to repair them is with surgery.

Surgery does not always have to be immediate, but if an inguinal hernia is discovered, a doctor must closely monitor it to see if the symptoms get worse.

If you are experiencing inguinal hernia symptoms, call Avalon Hernia today at (626) 310-0772 for a consultation with a hernia expert.



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