A double hernia (also known as a bilateral hernia) occurs when two inguinal hernias develop on both sides of the groin. When hernias first develop, thereby be little to no pain, however after time and if the hernias enlarge, there may be pain and discomfort. It is important to seek medical help and consider double hernia surgery.
What causes a double hernia?
A double hernia occurs when weak spots or tears develop between the layer of muscle in the abdominal wall, resulting in the contents of the abdomen pushing through and creating a bulge. Double hernias can be caused by intestinal problems such as constipation, as this causes strain on the stomach muscles. They can also be caused by strenuous activity such as lifting heavy objects, bending over or by sudden bursts of movement such as coughing. Double hernias are a lot more common in men than women, and can be associated with the following:
● Hereditary – past family history of hernias
● Being overweight
● Excessive coughing
● Heavy lifting / strenuous activity
● Sudden movements during sports
How is a double hernia diagnosed?
A doctor will be able to diagnose a double hernia if they present with intermittent swelling within the groin. Occasionally the hernias might not be evident on clinical appraisal in a patient who may be complaining of groin pain. Further tests would be required for confirmation. These include:
● Ultrasound: The radiologist uses a probe and gel to perform this painless assessment. Patients can be asked to strain during the scan to create a moving (dynamic) assessment
● Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This is a radiation free investigation which allows careful scrutiny of the groin. It has the advantage of exclusion of other pathologies that can mimic a hernia such as inflammation around the tendons in the groin or hip pathology
Surgery for double hernias
The optimal operation is a key hole repair. The surgeon can use the same small incisions for the camera to fix both sides. Recovery is quicker than with open operations and the incidence of chronic discomfort following surgery reduced. There may be factors that mitigate against key hole surgery such as previous multiple operations, obesity, large hernias and so on and this will be discussed at the time of review
Following surgery rest for a few days is recommended but gentle movement such as walking is encouraged. Usually patients will be able to go home the same day or the day after the operationand will be given advice from a medical professional for post operative aftercare. It is recommended to eat a high fibre diet and to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation, to lessen the chance of strain. Patients will also be recommended suitable painkillers for any discomfort after the surgery.
Around a week to a fortnight following key hole surgery normal activities such as driving and light exercise can resume but heavy lifting and strenuous activity may take a little longer. The recovery is delayed following open surgery but most usually only by a further week or two and most will be fully recovered after six weeks.
Seek Medical Advice From Us
If you have concerns about a double hernia or think you may have one but have yet to be diagnosed, then please contact us for more advice and support. We have a wealth of medical experience and knowledge in bilateral hernias and the appropriate hernia treatment. Contact us today to find out more.