As its name suggests, a double hernia is the occurrence of two groin hernias on both sides of your body.
What is a double hernia?
A double hernia, also called a bilateral inguinal hernia, is when you have two hernias in your groin on both sides of your body.
Double hernia symptoms
Hernia symptoms if you have a double hernia are:
- A swelling or lump in both groins – this may be more noticeable when you are upright, especially if you cough or strain. The lumps may be pushed back in or disappear when you lie down
- Pain, burning or aching sensation in both groin areas, especially when bending over, coughing or lifting. In men, you may experience pain and swelling around your testicles as your protruding intestine pushes down into your scrotum.
- Weakness or pressure in your groin areas as if it is under pressure.
- Heavy feeling in your groins.
What are the causes of a double hernia?
The cause of a double hernia is a weakness on both sides of your lower abdominal wall. Your organs or tissues bulge out through these weak spots of your abdominal wall and result in a lump on both sides of your groin.
A bilateral inguinal hernia may occur due to congenital reasons when an inguinal canal defect is present at birth and/or because of increased pressure within your abdomen. Factors that can increase the pressure on your abdomen include:
- Chronic sneezing
- Chronic coughing
- Heavy lifting
- Strenuous activity
- Straining due to constipation
As you get older, if you have family members with hernias or if you have had a hernia yourself before your chances of developing an inguinal hernia may be increased.
Treatment for a double hernia
Hernia treatment depends on the size, symptoms and complications of your hernia or hernias as well as your surgeon’s laparoscopic surgery experience. Hernias don't go away on their own. Only surgery can repair a hernia. Some hernias remain small with no symptoms and may never need surgery. Some people may choose to watch and see. If you have a hernia or a double hernia you should discuss your hernia treatment options with your doctor.
Hernia surgery repairs your hernia by pushing the bulge back into place and often strengthening the weak area of your abdominal wall using a mesh. If you have a double hernia your surgeon will push both hernias back into place and strengthen both sides of your lower abdominal wall.
Hernia surgery can be performed by open hernia repair and laparoscopic repair. Laparoscopic or keyhole surgery is the preferred option for a double hernia as it allows both hernias to be repaired in the same operation and it tends to have a quicker recovery time.
Laparoscopic double hernia repair surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Your surgeon makes several small incisions and inserts a laparoscope (a small tube that has a light source and a camera) and tiny instruments to repair your two hernias. They may insert mesh to strengthen your weakened abdominal wall on both sides of your body. You should be able to go home on the same day or the day after your laparoscopic double hernia repair procedure.