Who gets inguinal hernias?

Inguinal hernias are the most common hernias that are not caused by an incision in the abdominal wall.

In children

  • The risk of developing hernias is higher for infants born prematurely or with low birth weight than it is for other babies.
  • Out of 100 full-term infants, 3 to 5 will have hernias.1
  • Inguinal hernias are more common on the right side (about 60%) than on the left side (about 30%). About 10% of children with hernias have them on both sides.1

In adults

  • About 3% to 5% of men older than 45 develop inguinal hernias.2
  • About 65% to 70% of groin hernias in men and women result because the opening to the inguinal canal does not close before birth (indirect hernia).2
  • About 30% of hernias in men occur from normal aging and wear and tear (direct hernias), and about 1% to 2% are hernias of the upper thigh (femoral). The reverse is true for women—30% have femoral hernias and 1% to 2% have direct hernias.2

Citations

  1. Aiken JJ, Oldham KT (2007). Inguinal hernias. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th ed., pp. 1644–1650. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  2. Jeyarajah R, Harford WV (2006). Inguinal and femoral hernias (groin hernias) section of Abdominal hernias and gastric volvulus. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 483–487. Philadelphia: Saunders/Elsevier.

Last Updated: April 29, 2009

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