How are inguinal hernias treated in children?
When children have inguinal (groin) hernias, they are usually born with them. These hernias don’t go away again on their own and can cause complications, so they are always treated with surgery.
As a baby boy grows in his mother’s womb, his testicles form inside his abdomen. Shortly before or after birth they move (“drop”) down into a pouch of skin known as the scrotum, through the inguinal canal. If the inguinal canal is not yet fully closed, inguinal (groin) hernias are more likely to develop. Then areas of fat tissue or parts of the bowel bulge out through gaps in the abdominal wall. This bulge is also called a hernia sac. Girls can have inguinal hernias too, but that is rare because their inguinal canal is narrower.
About 5 out of 100 babies are born with an inguinal hernia. Boy babies are five times as likely to develop a hernia. The risk is also higher in babies who are born too early (preterm babies).