What Makes Men More Susceptible to Hernias?

The disparity between men and women when it comes to hernias, specifically inguinal hernias, is staggering — one quarter of men will develop this type of hernia, while only 2% of women fall prey. The reason for these skewed numbers comes down to a surprisingly small difference in anatomy.

Here at Surgical Associates of North Texas, Dr. Scott deVilleneuve and our team routinely help our male patients in the McKinney, Texas, area overcome inguinal hernias through surgical repair. While we feel that every surgery is unique and we take the utmost care, this particular surgery is one of the most common, and the success rates are extremely high.

But getting back to our original question, here’s a look at why men are more susceptible to hernias and how we can help.

Hernias 101

In the most basic terms, a hernia develops when a piece of tissue bulges through a weak spot in your muscles. Hernias aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can cause discomfort, and they typically don’t go away on their own.

A hernia can develop in many different areas, but the most common are inguinal hernias in your lower abdomen, more specifically in your inguinal canal. There are two types of inguinal hernias:

Indirect inguinal hernias

A birth defect that leaves you with an opening in your abdominal wall.

Direct inguinal hernia

A weakening in the abdominal muscles surrounding your inguinal canal.

Why are men more prone to hernias?

The main reason why men are more prone to inguinal hernias, both direct and indirect, boils down to reproductive anatomy. During fetal development in males, the testicles descend from the abdomen and through the inguinal canal. 

In a perfect world, your abdominal wall closes back up after their descent, sealing your abdomen off from your inguinal canal. Should this not occur, you’re left with a weak spot or opening in your abdominal wall where fat or a piece of your small intestine can protrude through, leading to an indirect hernia.

In men over 40, the abdominal wall can weaken in this area, leaving men more susceptible to an intrusion of tissue leading to a direct inguinal hernia. The reason why women don’t succumb to this type of hernia is that their inguinal canals contain a stronger ligament that holds their uteruses in place, providing extra strength that prevents foreign tissue from pushing through.

Treating inguinal hernias

If you develop an inguinal hernia, the good news is that we can put everything back into its proper place and repair the weak spot in your abdominal wall. We use the latest minimally invasive techniques to perform this surgery, including laparoscopy, to reduce your surgical risks and improve your outcome.

While no two surgeries are alike, rest assured that we have extensive experience helping our male patients overcome inguinal hernias.

If you suspect you may be one of the millions of men who’ve developed an inguinal hernia, please give us a call at 972-947-2264 or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.

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