Femoral Hernia

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).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

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
Last Revised November 15, 2012

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