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Groin hernias in women are often undiagnosed and untreated

Nov 5, 2015 | Failure to Diagnose

According to a new series of medical studies, women with inguinal hernias are often misdiagnosed. The findings, which were spearheaded by a surgeon specializing in hernia repairs, could lead to better treatments for female hernia patients in New York and nationwide.

The new information indicates that women with inguinal hernias present very differently than men. Typically, men report with a painless bulge in the groin, but women often experience severe pain with no visible bulge. Further, radiology testing frequently fails to find a hernia defect. As a result, many women are left undiagnosed and forced to live with the pain.

However, research has found that women have a smaller inguinal canal than men. This means that a bulge in the groin rarely breaks through but presses on nerves in the canal, causing intense pain. These hernias are difficult to spot through radiological images and exploratory surgery. In fact, an examination of the records of patients with chronic pelvic pain found that 82 percent of those with hidden hernias were women. Patients with hidden hernias wait an average of 95.8 weeks to be properly diagnosed, while the average diagnosis time for typical hernias is 19.7 weeks.

To remedy the situation, an MRI protocol has been developed to evaluate and diagnose women with abdominal pain. According to studies, 93 percent of patients diagnosed with an inguinal hernia through the MRI protocol reported being pain free after surgical repair.

A delayed diagnosis can lead to needless pain and a worsened condition. New York residents who have been the victim of a doctor’s negligence may want to speak with an attorney about the advisability of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the practitioner seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.