Skip to content
in this discussion +10 following
wacky wacky

Femoral Hernia (near my inguinal canal) Female 51 years very fit.

I am a fit lady of 51, use chainsaws and telescopic hedgetrimmers, move branches/logs etc. I am quite tall 5.10 and muscular but not obviously. I do attend the gym but for much light hearted activities like body step, I do too much lifting to want to do any extra. I have always been naturally strong.

One night while suffering from a persistent cold I had a sudden pain on the lower quarter of my abdomen, with sharp shooting pains going down my thigh. I went to A&E but due to the large area of pain and my xray showing lots of feces they fobbed me off with constipation pains and gave me some pain killers (codine).

Eventually after two days I was diagnosed with a urine infection, but there wasnt any blood in my urine, they decided this as I had no urge to go to the toilet even though my bladder was quite full. The antibiotics worked, so there was something not right with my bladder, but I still had a large mass of pain in my right side as the doctor put it "your bits", was given antibiotics for pelvic inflammation and that cleared up. All I was left with now was a sharp pain in between my belly button and pelvic area, groin pain and shooting pains like sciatica down my thighs, it was if a nerve was trapped above in my abdomen. I went straight to my GP and she diagnosed a femoral hernia.

My other symptoms were nausea, bowel problems - I was forced to go on a strict fibre/mushy diet as I couldnt eat enough due to feeling full quite quickly, in other words something was stopping my normal bowel flow and only very well chewed food would pass through. I did try laxatives but they caused me so much pain, I could feel the feces pass this bulge/obstruction and it hurt. So no bread, steak, heavy food. I also felt very tired and would have to sit down if I started my normal routine. When I stood I could feel pain from my groin area and even sitting caused me to feel uncomfortable. But lying down on the sofa made the pain virtually disappear.

I could do certain exercises/actions which didnt cause pain or make my hernia worse ie. jumping up and down on a soft surface, twisting, dancing moves, but it would wear me out, I did notice a slight improvement after exercise but only say 4%.

As well as all hernia symptoms I also had strange periods, more often and would stop suddenly. For 37 years I have never had problems with my periods. Also due to the pelvic inflammation and bladder infection my Consultant has his doubts about a hernia. Nowadays surgeons are far more careful, they dont want to be sued or have their career ruined with an operation that may cause the patient to sue them if they are not 100% sure.

This problem flared up with chronic pain on the 23rd January 2012, since then due to my insistence that I have a hernia I have had a CT scan but that was while I was in A&E and it was thought I had kidney stones so my Inguinal canal/possible hernia area wasnt covered, otherwise all ok. I then had a private ultrasound due to the delay with NHS that showed all my female parts were ok but when I said I thought I had a femoral hernia we worked on trying to get it to show - a slight bulge (from his report) did show but the radiographer said he couldnt define it as a hernia.

I then went to a private consultant with my radiologists report, my symptoms and some notes on my A&E admission. He suggested an MRI scan, so reluctantly I went. This showed no hernia but he has found a cyst. I believe the cyst has only appeared after my private ultrasound and is connected with the inflammation from the hernia. My first private ultrasound showed no cyst and I am confident he was doing a thorough job.

I did realise after researching femoral hernias in "Sports/athletes" with women that are not menopausal that altered periods, bladder problems, bowel problems, shooting pains are all linked to a femoral hernia - and also a femoral hernia can be much harder to detect as quite often there isnt a lump (intestines coming through). Quite a lot of female hernias are in obese or older women so the young fit ones are normally sent to a gyne. or for groin strain problems.

All I want is for it to be diagnosed, whether I have an operation is another matter. I met a lady at the ultrasound queue who had two symetrical femoral hernias, it had taken 2 years to be diagnosed. Her GP had told her that you couldnt get two and that her bowels shouldnt be affected, finally she demanded an ultrasound and replicated her work duties while having the ultrasound. She was a gymnast but was now teaching smaller children 4/5 years old and was not only assembling the apparatus which was heavy but lifting the children onto the bars which was heavy work. She was quite slight but looked in good shape. She was sitting next to me waiting for the US because she was getting her hernia pains back since having both hernias operated on 6 months later - so I am a bit worried about having an operation now - if it ever gets diagnosed.

I shall have to think out of the box now and decide whether I could replicate my heavy lifting pain on an Ultrasound bed or stand up holding something heavy. This will be the only way I can tell if this "bulge" gets bigger and if there is a hole or just a weakness in the abdomen.

If anyone can help with diagnosing a Femoral Hernia then this would be useful. I have tried to stick my fingers down into the area to locate the possible pain but I cant get a big enough pain to point it out. Sometimes the area throbs. And when I eat my shooting pain in the leg gets worse. In men they get shooting pain in their testicles (I think) but as I dont have male parts and it is a rare condition I am having difficulty getting a definite answer.

I have an Indian friend whose mother has warned her of problems if she lifts heavy items, and a spanish friend whose female cousins in the north of Spain have all had hernias due to picking and lifting fruit in baskets, theirs mind you must have ruptured completely or within that fruit picking area or their doctor is very experienced with the problem.

Femoral Hernias havent just arrived they must have been around since "Eve" why do the doctors not pool their information?

If anyone has had a femoral hernia operation I would be very interested to find out how successful it was and if they have resumed a very active career as I want to do. Its better the devil you know sometimes I dont want ongoing problems if I have an operation with mesh and a laparoscopy.

15 Replies

  • dblhernia dblhernia


    I had both an inguinal and femoral hernia on my right side! It wasn't

    until I was 43 years old that I developed the small lump that was

    the inguinal hernia. Both my mother and father had inguinal

    hernias. The consultant believed that I actually had a femoral

    hernia that was presenting as an inguinal and it wasn't until he

    operated that he discovered that I had both! (I was only the 3rd

    patient that he had come across with both!) He believed that the

    femoral hernia may have been there for MANY years (since a horse riding accident when I was 18?!) I have always been very fit and

    active with the occasional ache and pain but had I not had the

    inguinal hernia, the femoral would never have been discovered, and I would have probably had serious circulatory problems when I

    became pregnant (at the ripe old age of 43!) I did not have keyhole surgery for my repair (which is common for inguinal) but had

    surgery under general anaesthetic. The femoral was stitched and

    the inguinal had mesh put in place. I have since had a healthy

    pregnancy and continue to be active without any problems. BTW

    the first GP that I saw told me that I did not have a hernia and

    actually wrote that in my notes!! 2 weeks later (for quickness my

    employer paid for me to be treated privately - approx. £2,000) my

    notes state double hernia repair!!!!! Hernias ARE common in

    women despite what some doctors (in my case a female GP) think!

    You mentioned that you have had Codeine. I was given this to

    take after my hernia op. for pain relief - BIG MISTAKE!! Codeine

    causes constipation which is the last thing you want after a hernia op. Don't know if any of what I've written is of any help to you but I hope that you get the treatment that you need.

  • wacky wacky

    Thank you for replying, it makes it all worthwhile. I am extremely glad that both your hernias havent caused you any problems and as you have had two types of hernia surgery it bodes well. The internet can be a blessing or a curse, especially when you find all the patients that have not had successful hernia operations. When you say you are active thought, are you still horse riding? I could imagine that lifting yourself up onto a horse would be quite strenuous.

    So far I have paid £460.00 for the MRI scan, £150.00 for the consultant and £300 for ultrasound with BMI, still no diagnosis.

    I also believe that I have had my hernia at whatever stage it is at for 3 years as I have had recurrent thrush which not matter what I do appears on a daily basis. I believe the hernia or weakness in my abdomen wall has caused an irritation in my vagina. I will never know until I have the operation.

    My father has had a hernia but he was 70 and a man which is expected!

    Thank you once again, any more comments please feel free.

  • wacky wacky

    Was it diagnosed by Ultrasound ? Was your private consultant 100% sure you had a hernia or was there still doubt? Or how was it dianosed and did you have the intestines poking through. You see mine has been described as a "small bulge" on my femoral canal and due to that description my Consultant isnt sure. Sometimes the intestines poke through then immediately return, showing no obvious hernia at the time of the Ultrasound or MRI. Also most hernias on women occur due to obesity or old age. Glad to hear you are horse riding, it shows there is life after a hernia.

  • dblhernia dblhernia

    No ultrasound required! Mine was a small squidgy lump which I could make more obvious by leaning backwards so that it poked out! I believe that I caused this inguinal hernia to happen by lifting a heavy, awkward to carry, mounting block! After the first GP told me that it wasn't a hernia (don't think she actually felt it - she never even asked me to cough!) I asked her what she thought it was! Her lame reply was ligament damage. I was off to a Pilates lesson the next day with a physiotherapist who by shear coincidence had had bilateral inguinal hernias herself during pregnancy! Unable to 'diagnose' a hernia as a physiotherapist but knowing from experience she told me to return to the GP and get a 2nd opinion. I then saw my usual GP and living in a rural farming area he had seen plenty of hernias during his career! The consultant (Mr Norman Binnie, Aberdeen) was able to diagnose it just by palpating but it wasn't until he operated that it became apparent that I had an inguinal and femoral. There was no fat in the area of my hernia so it wasn't difficult to feel the little lump! Old age and obesity definitely not the reasons in my case!!! ;o)

  • wacky wacky

    Thanks. To be fair Femoral/Inguinal hernias are difficult to diagnose especially in young fit women, other female symptoms can occur and that throws Doctors off in another direction. I am down South, not much countryside or rural pursuits take place here! Lucky for you some added input helped you get it diagnosed, but saying that complete incompetence by your first GP.

    My bowels are certainly playing me up and I may have to resort to these protein shakes that bodybuilders take to get enough energy.

    Anyway, I shall plough on. God knows what the hospital staff will think when I bring my heavy items to lift in the Ultrasound room. He hasnt referred me to a psychiatrist yet but maybe thats the next step!

  • wacky wacky

    Because femoral hernias and probably all hernias without a constant bulge/lump (not unusual) are difficult to diagnose without a GP, Consultant/Radiologist with considerable experience and knowledge I refer you to three articles I have found online which explain where things can go wrong in diagnosis. One from a gynea. who obviously sees women with hernias unnecessarily, the other two explain the problems with femoral hernias.

    Type into google

    "His and Hers Hernias: Pelvic pain culprit tough to diagnose in women"

    article written 9.6.11 Huffington Post

    Type in :

    Laparoscopy Today : Hernias in women: Uncommon or Unrecognised?

    article written 1.1.04

    Lastly type in:

    In women, hernias may be a hidden agony.

    New York Tiimes

    If there are any women who would like to put down their experiences to help other women then please do, we need to make women more aware of something that doctors dont appear to have much knowledge about.

  • gemgeroo gemgeroo


    Thank you so much for posting all this fantastic information - I am so grateful!

    I am however going slightly mental as I now seem to convince myself - and seem to have every symptom of every ailment going - but your discussion has rung so true to me - here is my story - I hope that it can help others as yours has me:

    I havent felt 'right since having my second child in 2001 as for my build (petite) was rather a large baby for me. I had a fantastic water birth, despite going 15 days over due I had her in 1 hour 25 mins. I felt winded for 2 weeks after and couldnt stand straight. I had campalabacta (food poisioning) in 2002 and took a downwards spiral from there. I started to have bad constipation, (contraction like sheering pain when a stool passed through my bowel (arounf half an hour before I need the loo) trapped wind, weight loss, excruisiating tummy pain and felt like I hadn't had a complete bowel movement even though I had. My bowel felt swollen all the time. My periods were horrendous (lumpy and heavy) and sex was really really painful - to the point where my relationship broke down.

    I was back and fourth to the doctors every week (being told it was IBS all the time) I was given so many meds and fibre tablets that didn't work. They then gave me lactulose - which I was practically drinking! I was left with an annoying sharp pain over the area where my right ovary would be - it would sting and feel like a deep cut - sometimes it would feel like I had a very small water balloon wobbling around which would vibrate whenever I walked, moved in bed, changed position, put my foot on the brake or changed gear in the car. When my partner returned we decided to seek help gyne wise and was referred for a lapaoscopy in 2005. They discovered that my tubes were swollen and blocked - however they left both my tubes in - but couldnt locate the pain. I was told it was a hormonal pain where my bowels would inflate and cause this problem. I was advised to take the mini pill Cerezett. The pain did go, and I felt well, although my bowels were still tender and sex was impossible. On the upside I didn't have a period for 5 years! :-) I was also taking 300mg of magnesium which did help with the constipation!

    I had constant urinary infection symptoms (but no infection) like a squashed bladder feeling. I had an operation to take a biopsy of the urethra is 2010 - but this was negative!

    I came off the pill 2010 as my partner and I decided we would like another child, and although we knew that my tubes were damaged and we would need help, possibly just help unblocking the tubes. After just 2 weeks after coming off the mini pill the dreaded right hand side groin pain returned - with avengance - but I started keeping a pain diary and it seemed to only occur when I was ovulating - but would last 2 weeks! I had low back pain and a funny pain under my ribs (like being heavily pregnant and baby's feet sitting there) Constant wind (top and bottom) and my right hip ached and radiated into my right leg and I have a numb big toe! I had to give up jogging and swimming :-(

    I went to see a herbalist who said I had candida - most of my symptoms matched so I started an awful sugar free diet - which was impossible - I lasted 3 months (it changed nothing) I then started a complete elimination diet of brown rice and water - only introducing one thing each week - this came to nothing either (apart from tomatoes and chocolate) Just my luck!

    After seeing my Gp numerous times and waiting for a referral to the fertility clinic in 2011 I was given a scan on my ovaries and had a Hysterosalpingham where they put dye through your tubes to see how damaged they were. Both were still blocked - but - they did say if we had the tubes removed it would increase our IVF chance to 40% - and that my right hand tube was 2 x bigger than it should be and near rupture and was the cause of all my symptoms and back pain, but most of all my right hand groin pain would go!

    I couldnt get my tubes out quick enough - I wanted release from the horrid stinging pain, the bowel fullness, trapped wind, bloating, leg, hip and back pain. At last I would be pain free

    After the op (bilateral salpingectomy) I felt pain free for 10 days (this must have been the pain killer supositry they give u) I was over the moon and booked an appointment with the IVF clinic (we would have to pay privately) However the pains returned just 2 weeks after the op - I was so deflated.

    Back to the doctors i go to be told its IBS and to try this that and the other. How could IBS cause my numb toe and heavy leg? How could I pin point in my diary in 2 months time exactly when I would be getting the pain and how long it would last? That is not IBS! My period pain has become bad again where I am in bed for nearly 3 days unable to move - pins and needles in my right leg and heavy feeling - I feel like there is an elastic band around the top of my right leg. My periods are really heavy and my bowels are inflamed.

    I can feel every single bowel movement and every bubble of air that passes through - I watch my diet and do not eat tomato's, chocolate and I limit my sugar religiously. I do not eat meat now either as it makes my stools too painful. I only drink water. I do not have milk or cheese!

    My month: So with my 2 weeks of right groin pain, heavy numb leg, and a week of period pain with my right groin pain and heavy numb leg - i only have 1 week of the month where I actually feel okayish.

    After begging my GP, so we can get started on the IVF, I asked to see a gastroenterologist. He examined me and my right hand side pain - I did the cough test (Hernia) - NOTHING THERE! But wondered why he did a hernia test because a hernia has never crossed my mind before! So he referred me for a colonoscopy.

    I had my colonoscopy 2 weeks ago - I had a bad reaction to the sedative and pain killer which made me really sick - and I had to have double to pain killer just so he could insert the camera - he only got as far as the sigmoid colon (about 6 inches up from the anus) where he discovered bowel loops. But this is on the left - my worse pain is on the right. He mentioned Crohn's? - I have googled that too - but i do not have bleeding from the bowel, but have most of the other symptoms! As u do... haha!

    I was then referred for a Barium meal X-ray which i had yesterday - the lady that came to look at me after my x-ray had been done said she was going to do a live moving x-ray - she pushed my right hand side exactly where the pain is and said there is nothing there! But to wait until my consultant has seen the resuts - but all looks normal to her (the witch)

    I know I have loop in my bowel as when the stool passes through the sigmoid colon i am on the floor doing my contractions breathing as if I am about to give birth - however she could not see this loop either

    I know I am jumping to conclusions and diagnosing myself - and i should probably wait until I hear from the consultant again, but I did wonder if my right hand side pain is a hernia (only becuase he did the cough test) and like everyone else I assumed it wasnt because I do not have a lump there. I was moving a heavy bed the other day and felt it pop out and I had to sit down and hold my side until the pain eased!

    I have a bowel movement every day now due to diet and I do take Threelac probiotic which had really helped with the wind etc - but I just wish this bloody right hand groin pain would go! I feel so tired all the time because it drags me down. I know I have 6 days left until my next painful episode! I always have this groin pain (10 years now) - the back pain and leg pain is more recent (within the last 2 years)

    Reading about all your symptoms today I wonder whether this is what I should get my consultant to look into?

    Sorry for the novel x

    And thank you for sharing x

    evil evil evil evil evil evil

  • wacky wacky

    This is all getting a bit confusing as "Femoral hernia (near my inguinal........ was my first post to patient co uk.

    Since then I have written another one "Right groin pain, or Left groin pain or both.......... this has been put under:

    Conditions F - Femoral hernia (Some other comments from women) not many but worth reading.


    Conditions H - Herniae, if you put in "Conditions H - Herniae - List of Discussions" and then go to "Right groin pain, or left groin pain". There you will see the majority of discussions on Femoral Hernia. As well as me (Wacky) there is wackytwinsister, Sanga and Liznew, just so you know you are on the right site.

    So please if you want to add anything about Femoral hernia, give your story please post on Herniae, Right groin pain, or Left groin pain etc. so we can keep it all together. Gemeroo, if you could do this too then that would be great.

  • Ann A Ann A

    I had an emergency femoral hernia op 2 weeks ago after 3 weeks of agony aaand only being given anti biotics for a urine infection<of which I have had many over last 3 years.> Have also a prolapsed bladder.As Ihave had IBS for years, and recently when having colonoscopy for polyps was told I have diverticulosis as well you can imagine I get a lot of stomach pains anyway.

    Now have been in a lot of pains and am trying to sort out constipation problems. I did not have a bowel movment for 5 days after op and needed stong medicine Hopefully will be better when sorted as going on holiday soon to Tukey-----fingers crossed.

    Sorry but do not have a lot of faith in doctors surgeries now as keep seeing different doctors so no ongoing discussions.

    By the way i am 72 years old. Good luck Ann A

    • sue06690 sue06690 Ann A

      Hi Ann,

      I know its been a year ago since your post so I may not get a response but I was wondering how you're feeling. My Mom just had double femoral hernias and bowel blockage emergency surgery at the age of 84. She is really struggling with pain and discomfort. her surgery was 8 days ago and its not getting better

    • Momsnurse Momsnurse sue06690

      Hi, Sue:

      I was wondering exactly what symptoms did your Mother have prior to his operation. She must be in really good physical health for the doctor to proceed with surgery at her age. My mother (84) and leads a sedentary lifestyle (much to my dismay) and uses a Rollater (walker thingy with wheels. She has slowly declined after both my sisters died, then my Daddy died, so she doesn't care about anything. She had Morton's Neuroma (25 yrs. ago-surgery for it) in both feet (tiny nodules on nerves on soles of feet-said it felt like she was walking on marbles). So, now she lies on the couch all day long, has fallen more times that I can recall, never injuring herself, luckily.

      But now, in the last week or so, she complains of a severe pain in the right leg, up high near the groin, in the front and says her entire leg is numb.

      Now, to ME, it sounds like a circulatory issue to ME... The other night I had her do some exercises in bed, stretching, bending her legs up to her chest, twisting her legs across her body to extend the muscles running down her butt... She was able to do them without discomfort. So I'm TRYING to figure out what in the hell is going on. She is on Oxycontin (10 mg 2x a day), has Lortab 10 mg. (for breakthrough pain as needed), Lyrica (75 mg. 2x a day).

      Any ideas? I'm going to call her regular doctor (internist) to see if he can refer her to someone without having to make an appointment with HIM first, as she HATES going anywhere, ever! Thank you for any help you can give me.

      Kathy in Memphis, TN

  • carmel85488 carmel85488 wacky

    Has any of you ladies considered endometriosis as a diagnosis? I had considerable pain in my pelvis, shooting pains in legs, rotten periods and felt very bloated. The doctors kept telling me it was a urine infection, then an ovarian cyst, then ibs. All scans and tests reported nothing serious. After begging for a laparoscopy, they discovered endometriosis implants all over my pelvis. My colon and uterus were stuck to the pelvic walls. My consultant thinks she couldn't get all the endometriosis out and I am awaiting further surgery to remove my ovaries and tubes. It will be a hysterectomy after that if the pain doesn't improve.

    So if you're still suffering pain and can't get a diagnosis, push for an exploratory operation. Once you get a confirmed diagnosis, the treatment options open up. Doctors can't diagnose what they can't see but they went in and saw the damage in my pelvis!

  • anneinwales anneinwales wacky

    I am another active woman who has just had a hernia. It was inguinal not femoral, but I really couldn't make up my mind whether to have the op or not. The US operator wasn't sure or wouldn't say if I had one, and no-one really convinced me I did. 8 months wait in the queue, and it wasn't really troubling me. In the end I went, making sure before going I had done all the heavy work, lifting trees, hedge cutting etc! Well - if I make it worse - they are going to repair me. I am 75, and lucky I can do all these things. I also walk 12m once or twice a week. I was repaired by darn method, open surgery, no mesh, and straight after the operation was pleased to have full flexibility. After 3 days I felt I could have done a sedentary job, and was pleased with recovery. Remember the stool softener, as you really don't want that problem. The surface wound took much longer than I expected to heal properly, probably due to my age, but 3 months after the op, I am back to normal activity. No more trees to lift, I did it all before! Went for a 12 mile walk with 2500 ft of climbing at the weekend, and have handled petrol hedge-cutting and strimming etc, with no problems. I think the surgeon was very skilled, and I am glad I had it done now, not when I am even older.

    • kristen59235 kristen59235 anneinwales

      Hi Annie,

      When you say "darn" method with no mesh - why did you not have mesh surgery? I have diagnosed bilateral fem. hernias which "should" be operated on. I only have tissue come through when I really strain (we could see on the ultrasound). On my left it is only adipose coming through and I have had that "lumpy area" for at least ten years. The other side I only thought to follow up on after getting avery sharp bilateral pain on coughing when i was lying down the other night. I had to hold the areas for a minute until the pain calmed down. it was like something ripped - not saying it did but it was sharp pain.

      So my (female) GP sent me off for an U/S and there were two femoral hernias (really quite rare). As I believe 1/3 of them end up strangulated and in emergency surgery with 20% morbidity rates I will be off for surgery at some point this year (currently Sept 2017).

      I have seen reports of the mesh being a frequent problem (chronic pain etc). I will def talk to surgeon about my concern in this regard. My guess is thought that most use the mesh and don't see a prob with it - at least not enough to learn the other few surgical techniques to do otherwise. I am very glad to hear about your open, mesh-free surgery and hope to find same here in Sydney, Australia.

      I am a 44yo, petite but strong woman and used to be a registered nurse for about ten years, andI  have 2kids and garden a lot and like to do all the heavy lifting I can - being more cautious lately though!

      Tks all for your helpful reflections.

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

Already approved

You can't report this, it's already been approved by a moderator.

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.