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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Inuginal hernia and pain?



I have a 9-week old son (born 5 weeks early) who has both an umbilical hernia and hydrocele. His pediatrician told me the presence of a hydrcele is usually associated with an inguinal hernia - which is not currently noticeable in my son but could be hidden under the hydrocele. My son seems to constantly strain and be in pain with gas or stool passing. From what I`ve read about inguinal hernias, they are painful. My question is: is my son too young to have an obstructed intestine from a hernia - or does obstruction result over a long period of time? Could he be in pain from an undecteded inguinal hernia and should I have him examined by a urologist right now to make sure? Any assistance would be immensely appreciated!


It is a complicated issue--hydroceles in infants can be due in part to a small hernia but usually they are not. If the hydrocele is large and tense, so that the testicle cannot be felt, it could be causing pain. However, the vast majority of hydroceles cause no pain. If there is an underlying hernia causing the pain, then usually there would be an obvious bulge in the groin. Intestinal obstruction or incarcerated hernias can occur at virtually any age. It would be reasonable to have him seen by a pediatric urologist or pediatric general surgeon.

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Response by:

Jack S Elder, MD, FACS, FAAP Jack S Elder, MD, FACS, FAAP
Clinical Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University