5 Tips to Relieve Groin Pain After Inguinal Hernia Repair

The groin area has a natural weak spot, especially in men where the testicles descend. Weak areas in your tissues make them susceptible to damage, and in the case of your abdominal wall or groin tissues, it’s common to experience a rip or tear called a hernia

Dr. James D. Rifenbery and his team of expert surgeons at Laparoscopic Surgery, NW can assess your hernia and perform the least invasive, most effective surgical repair so you can get back to life as usual. The majority of patients breeze through the procedure with only mild pain and discomfort for a day or two. But if yours persists, we have some tips to help you reduce your symptoms and heal completely.

Inguinal hernia 101

A groin hernia, also known as an inguinal hernia, may occur due to lifting something heavy, being overweight, having a family history of hernias, or even occasional biological issues, like excessive coughing or constipation. The result is a tear in your abdominal lining that allows internal tissues to protrude through it. 

The good news is that we can repair your inguinal hernia with a special mesh patch that reinforces the weak abdominal lining and keeps everything in place. We use laparoscopic surgery using a long, thin tube called a laparoscope, which has a tiny camera to see inside your abdomen. 

We make a few (2-4) very small incisions to complete the repair. The procedure is considered minimally invasive and low risk.

Pain after inguinal hernia repair

Most people feel mild-to-moderate discomfort and pain following their inguinal hernia repair, but it typically lasts only a few days. About 10%-15% of patients experience pain that lasts longer than that, and less than 1% report chronic pain a year or more beyond the procedure.

If you need an inguinal hernia repair, you can reasonably expect to fall into the category of those who recover quickly and overcome their pain in less than a week. However, if you have pain that lasts three months or more, marked by the following symptoms, you may be in the minority of those who experience chronic, post-operative pain:

Whether your pain is mild, moderate, or severe, there are ways to relieve your discomfort.

Five ways to relieve groin pain 

Our team at Laparoscopic Surgery NW comes alongside you from your first appointment with us to well beyond your surgery. We keep in close contact to make sure you’re healing and feeling well. We’re happy to report that nearly all of our inguinal hernia patients come through the procedure with very little discomfort. However, if you find that your pain is persisting, here are some ways to address it.

1. Post-operative care

The best way to keep your pain level down is to follow your post-operative instructions. Don’t try to do too much, too soon. Take a few days off and get plenty of rest. Use ice packs to ease pain and reduce swelling for the first 24 hours.  The day after surgery you can start using a heating pad for relief. Your body has an amazing capacity to heal itself, so just give it the time it needs to regenerate tissues. 

This means refraining from strenuous exercise and activities that might strain your groin area. Lifting heavy objects — which may have been the cause of your inguinal hernia in the first place — is definitely off-limits for a while (and may become a lifetime limitation).

2. Oral pain-relief medication

Sometimes, pain begets pain, meaning that pain triggers responses in your body that cause stress and inflammation, which in turn increases your pain. Often, your body simply needs a break in order to calm down and allow your natural healing processes to go to work. Pain medication can do that.

3. Nerve block injections

If you need something stronger than oral medication, we can offer a nerve block, which is an injection that numbs a group of nerves and allows you to experience relief.

4. Peripheral nerve catheter

Depending on your pain level, we may send you home after your inguinal hernia repair with a peripheral nerve catheter, which provides you with an ongoing analgesic to stop the sensation of pain for as long as you have the catheter inserted. This is a device that delivers medication to your surgical site and floods the area with a numbing agent so you can stay pain-free through the healing process.

5. Nerve ablation

A medication-free way to stop nerve pain is to use nerve ablation or nerve stimulation. These are techniques that administer electrical currents to your nerves and prevent them from sending pain signals to your brain.

Keep in mind, these measures of pain relief are rarely needed. However, should you experience unusually high levels of pain, we want you to have the peace of mind that relief is available. The most important thing to understand is that inguinal hernias are potentially life-threatening if left untreated, so come in to see us right away if you have a bulging, painful area in your groin.

And rest assured that your health, safety, and comfort are our top priorities. If you need an inguinal hernia repair, or just had one and need relief from post-operative pain, contact Laparoscopic Surgery, NW at 253-234-1586 for a consultation today. 

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