• Groin Hernia—Child

    (Hernia, Groin—Child; Hernia, Inguinal—Child; Inguinal Hernia—Child)


    A groin or inguinal hernia is a bulge in the groin area. It is created when soft tissue pushes through a weak spot in the abdomen wall. Sometimes soft tissue also passes down a canal that connects the scrotum to the abdominal area. This canal is called the inguinal canal.
    Inguinal Hernias
    Nucleus factsheet image
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    A groin hernia in children can be caused by:
    • A large inguinal canal
    • A weakened area in the lower abdominal muscles

    Risk Factors

    Groin hernias are more common in boys than girls. Factors that may increase the risk of groin hernias include:
    • Birth defect that affects the abdominal wall
    • Family history of groin hernias
    • Premature birth
    • Open inguinal canal
    • Constipation
    • Chronic respiratory condition
    • A previous hernia on other side


    A bulge is the most common symptom. It may be easier to see this bulge when your child is crying. If your child is relaxed, the bulge may look smaller. Your child may also have some occasional pain in the area.
    Hernias can sometimes get caught in the abdominal wall. This is called a strangulated hernia which can lead to more serious symptoms such as:
    • Severe pain in the groin or abdomen
    • Fever
    • Irritability
    • Rapid heart beat
    • Abdominal swelling
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    A strangulated hernia requires emergency care.


    You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. The doctor will be able to feel your child’s hernia. Other conditions will be ruled out.
    An ultrasound may also be done to create images inside your body.


    Most groin hernias require surgery. The surgery may be:
    • Open surgery—An incision is made over the area so the doctor has access to the tissue. May be needed if there are complications.
    • Laparoscopic surgery—Small incisions are made so specialized tools can be used to make the repairs.
    If your premature baby has a groin hernia, surgery may be postponed for several months.


    There are no current guidelines to prevent a groin hernia.


    Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics https://healthychildren.org

    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov


    About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca


    Groin hernia in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115959/Groin-hernia-in-children. Updated July 23, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2016.

    Hernia (umbilical or inguinal) in children. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/hernia-umbilical-or-inguinal. Accessed June 6, 2016.

    Inguinal hernia. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/inguinal-hernia. Updated April 2016. Accessed June 6, 2016.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.