Topic Overview

A femoral hernia occurs in the groin area when abdominal tissue (such as a loop of intestine) bulges through a weakness in the abdominal wall and moves into the upper part of the thigh. The hernia follows the path of the femoral canal, a narrow passage that carries blood vessels to the leg.

Femoral hernias occur more frequently in women than in men, but they are less common than inguinal hernias .

These hernias can be hard to diagnose because pain often is felt generally in the groin, not in a particular spot. Also, a femoral hernia mass may be too small for a doctor to feel during a physical exam. As a result, two out of three femoral hernias are found only when a portion of intestine has been trapped in the femoral canal and blood supply to the tissue has been cut off ( strangulated hernia ). footnote 1 Unlike inguinal hernias, a femoral hernia usually does not flatten when you lie down.

Because it can be hard to diagnose, a femoral hernia sometimes is mistaken for an inguinal hernia, a lymph node , or a benign fatty tumor (lipoma).

References

Citations

  1. Jeyarajah DR, Harford WV (2010). Abdominal hernias and gastric volvulus. In M Feldman et al., eds., Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 379–395. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth Bark, MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014