Femoral hernia (patient information)

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Femoral hernia


What are the symptoms?

What are the causes?

Who is at highest risk?


When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for (Condition)?


What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Assistant Editor-in-Chief: Meagan E. Doherty


A femoral hernia is the sticking out of a part of the intestine through a weakening in the abdominal wall near the thigh.

What are the symptoms of a Femoral hernia?

What are the causes of a Femoral hernia?

A hernia occurs when abdominal contents, usually part of the small intestine, push through a weak point or tear in the thin muscular wall of the abdomen that holds the abdominal organs in place.

In a femoral hernia, a bulge is usually present in the upper part of the thigh, just below the groin, where the femoral artery and vein pass. Femoral hernias tend to occur more often in women than in men.

Who is at risk for Femoral hernias?

How to know you have a Femoral hernia?

A physical examination reveals the hernia. Tests are usually not necessary.

When to seek urgent medical care

Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if a hernia cannot be pushed back into the abdomen by gentle pressure, or if nausea or vomiting develop.

Treatment options

Hernias generally get larger with time, and they usually do not go away on their own. If the patient's health allows, surgery is done to relieve discomfort and to prevent complications such as incarceration and strangulation. Often, a piece of plastic mesh is surgically placed to repair the defect in the abdominal wall.

Urgent surgery is required for a hernia that may be trapped or strangulated.

Diseases with similar symptoms

Where to find medical care for a Femoral hernia

Directions to Hospitals Treating Femoral hernia

Prevention of a Femoral hernia

Overweight patients may be able to prevent hernias from forming by losing weight.

Chronic cough, constipation, and prostatic hypertrophy may lead to straining with urination or defecation, which can lead to the formation of hernias. These conditions should be discussed with your doctor prior to hernia repair.

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)

The outcome is usually quite good if the hernia is treated properly. The rate of hernia recurrence after surgical repair is generally less than 3%.

Possible Complications

A femoral hernia may become stuck (incarcerated) and strangulated (the loop of bowel loses its blood supply). Nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain may occur with a strangulated hernia. This is a medical emergency. A strangulated intestine can result in tissue death (gangrene), a life-threatening condition requiring immediate surgery.


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