Are hernia symptoms different for men and women?

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2023

If you’ve ever seen a TV character dealing with a hernia, odds are that the person was a man. While that’s often the stereotype, hernias actually affect both men and women. Would the symptoms of a hernia be the same for a woman as for a man?

The short answer is yes. While hernia symptoms can vary a little from person to person, like the symptoms of any other medical condition, both men and women experience similar symptoms.

With that said, though, the symptoms of a hernia do differ somewhat based on the type of hernia. There are multiple types of hernias, affecting different areas of the body and causing distinct symptoms.

Men are far more likely to develop inguinal hernias, which occur when the intestine protrudes through the lower abdominal wall, while women are more likely than men to develop femoral hernias, which occur in the upper thigh.

Because of that, the symptoms a woman experiences might indeed be different than the symptoms of a hernia for a man. But that’s because of the hernia type, not the patient’s sex.

Why the symptoms of a hernia might be different for women

In general, the symptoms of an abdominal hernia will include a noticeable lump or bulge around the area of the hernia, along with resulting pain and discomfort.

Women who have inguinal hernias will experience similar symptoms to men with the same type of hernia, including the visible bulge, a feeling of pressure and mild to moderate pain that can worsen with activity. Along with those symptoms, women may also experience a sensation of burning in the affected area.

Because each type of hernia is unique and can cause different and distinct symptoms, the symptoms a woman experiences may be different at times than a man who has a hernia.

A woman experiencing a femoral hernia, for example, will have a visible bulge near the upper thigh and may have hip pain, if the hernia is near the hip bone. Those symptoms are different from an inguinal hernia, which affects a different part of the groin.

There’s also something important to note: Because hernias are relatively less common in women, the symptoms of a hernia may be misdiagnosed. Pain, pressure and burning affecting the groin may be erroneously seen as a gynecological issue, rather than a hernia.

Because of that, it’s important to carefully outline the symptoms you’re experiencing and highlight for your medical provider the specific area of the body that’s affected. A thorough exam can help confirm a hernia diagnosis, and your provider can refer you for treatment through the Hernia Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

No matter what symptoms you’re experiencing, it’s important to receive the comprehensive hernia care you need.

Next Steps

As Georgia’s first accredited Hernia Surgery Center of Excellence, the Hernia Center of NGMC offers access to hernia specialists and the most advanced robotic and minimally invasive surgical techniques for hernia repair. Call 770-219-4040 to learn more or schedule an appointment.