inguinal hernia

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A hernia that may develop during intense exertion due to the production of very high abdominal pressure. A sac of peritoneum (the connective tissue lining the abdominal cavity and its organs) is forced through the inguinal canal. In men the hernia tends to descend along the spermatic cord into the scrotum. Sometimes an abdominal hernia descends through the point at which the femoral artery passes from the abdomen to protrude at the top of the thigh. This is called a femoral hernia. Presence of an inguinal or femoral hernia in athletes is potentially dangerous because an increase in intra-abdominal pressure accompanying physical exertion can cause strangulation, stopping blood flow and resulting in gangrene. Therefore, surgical repair is usually recommended. In the past, athletes with an inguinal hernia were precluded from participation in strenuous activity, especially contact and collision sports. Although this preclusion still applies to those with symptomatic hernias, many doctors now judge each case separately and make recommendations dependent on the desired sport and individual circumstances.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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