Men and women are affected by many types of Hernia. Data says that men are six times more prone to Inguinal Hernia than women. There are few websites and literatures that talk about a possible connection between hernia and infertility. Are there elements of truth in it? What about other abdominal hernia types? Let us explore.
Inguinal Hernia in Men
Though many types of hernia are present, inguinal hernia is the most common of all and is chiefly present in men. Inguinal hernia happens when the inguinal canal does not close properly after few months of the male child’s birth. Through this canal the intestine or fatty tissues of the abdomen or both can penetrate the groin area and inguinal hernia can manifest as a result.
Can Inguinal Hernia cause fertility issue in men?
If the abdominal material is present inside the scrotum because of hernia, it certainly causes the abdominal temperature to trickle down the testicles. It may be noted that the testicles of the body maintains a slightly lower temperature than the body temperature. This lower temperature is required to produce healthy sperms.
An inguinal hernia present for long years unattended has high probability to alter the temperature of the testicles. A variation in temperature can certainly interfere in the process of sperm production (spertmatogenesis) and can potentially destroy the sperms. However if the inguinal hernia has just happened and is just detected, then the probability of sperm production getting affected is less. A prompt consultation with a hernia surgeon and subsequent medical assistance should effectively address this issue.
Can Inguinal Hernia cause sexual dysfunction in men?
The reference to sexual dysfunction here is the ability of the penis to erect and sustain the erection. The presence of inguinal hernia is not known to cause any erectile dysfunction in any men. This is because inguinal hernia is not known to compress the blood vessel that controls the erection.
But having said that if the inguinal hernia is going to be left unattended for years, then there is every possibility that the scrotum is going to bulge steadily and become bigger where in the penis is buried inside. Under such extremities, penile erection and subsequent sustenance of erection can have negative implications. Even sex becomes painful under such aggravated conditions.
The swelling if left unattended for years, they can cause mechanical disruption of the normal inter course.
Can Inguinal Hernia Surgery cause infertility?
Inguinal hernia surgery certainly does not cause infertility. As a matter of fact, it saves a man from infertility (due to neglected hernia). Having said that it needs to be kept in mind that infertility can be due to many reasons that have nothing to do with inguinal hernia like genetic defects, imbalance in hormones.
Also the surgical techniques present today are very advanced. Hernia surgeons use advanced laparoscopic methods to treat hernia. The entire hernia surgery is done through a small hole in the abdomen and this does not involve touching any blood vessels or nerves passing in and out of the scrotum. Hence inguinal hernia surgeries are pretty safe and they do not cause any infertility.
So anyone who has inguinal hernia can go ahead and simply get their hernia surgery done with no doubts in mind.
Inguinal Hernia in Women
An inguinal hernia that holds the reproductive organs of a female like fallopian tubes and ovary is a very rare medical event. If that does happen then the impact it can have on the fertility of the woman will unfortunately be more on the negative side. Since this condition is extremely rare, women who are trying to conceive but have hernia need not worry about this too much.
If you are a woman who has been diagnosed with inguinal hernia and planning to have a baby, your hernia surgeon will most probably recommend you to undergo hernia surgery before trying to get conceived. This is because the complications arising out of the presence of hernia and giving birth to a child is on the higher side. The hernia can become bigger and probably strangulate as the baby grows. So it is prudent to undergo your hernia repair surgery, get completely healed and then plan for your baby.
Other Abdominal Hernia causing infertility in men and women
Femoral hernia and umbilical hernia are other two types of hernia that happen in the abdomen. They do not impact the reproductive area and hence do not pose any threat to fertility in men. If the incisional hernia is from incisions made elsewhere in the abdomen which does not concern the area near the testicles, they are also pretty safe. However if the incisional hernia has happened due to previous inguinal hernia surgery, people should exercise caution and anyways get treated as soon as possible. Because the probability discussed for inguinal hernia applies here too and medical actions required accordingly needs to be applied.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.