The inguinal ligament is one of the body’s roughly 900 ligaments. What’s it all about? You might have referred to it as Poupart’s ligament but he just pointed out the ligament is important for the abdomen and hernia patients. This ligament makes a band that goes along the side of the pelvis to the lowest area of the pelvis. This ligament has an important job. That’s to protect the trunks’ and legs’ tissues. Fun Fact: two-thirds of the body’s ligaments are in the arms and legs.
This ligament is also important in terms of an “inguinal hernia.” This happens when tissues/organs stick out of a weak spot or hole in the abdomen’s muscles. This causes a bulge that can cause pain in certain situations. That includes when you cough/sneeze hard, stand up, bend over, or lift heavy boxes. This isn’t one of the most serious types of hernias. That said, as always it’s important to get it checked out if you think you have this condition. If you’ve suffered a hernia your doctor can then suggest treatments like over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds.
What Is the Inguinal Ligament?
This is one of the body’s 900 ligaments but is certainly worth noting. One of the most interesting things about this body part is it’s often wrongly referred to as “Poupart’s” or “Fallopian” ligament.
Who in the world was François Poupart? He was a 17th-century French physician who didn’t discover the ligament but described it. The Frenchman is famous for discovering this ligament is important for the abdomen and mainly for hernia patients. This explains why the ligament is sometimes linked to the French doctor.
The ligament goes from a part of the spine that starts in the middle of each of the pelvis’ sides. It extends to the area of the spine that’s the lowest area of the pelvis.
The inguinal ligament helps protect the tissues of the legs and trunk that are constantly moving. The inguinal teams up with other muscles to make a triangle in the thigh.
The ligament is located at the bottom of a “canal” in the stomach’s wall. In men there’s a cord that passes through and in women there’s a ligament that goes through the canal. It’s this area where ligaments happen.
This is the area where “inguinal hernias” happen. They’re the most frequent kind of hernia and they happen among men at much higher rates than women.
One of the most common injuries in this area is a “groin pull.” It often happens when playing sports that require lots of running/jumping. For example, if you have to change directions or jump suddenly, you’re more likely to have a groin pull.
Groin pulls are quite common among athletes. That includes football and soccer players, and they make up about 10% of all injuries among pro hockey players.
Here are some of the main symptoms of groin pulls:
- Pain when raising a knee
- Pain when you put legs together
- Popping/snapping feeling
- Pain/soreness in the groin area
What Is an Inguinal Hernia?
This is another possible health condition you could experience in the region of the inguinal ligament. This is actually the most common type of ligament.
What happens? This type of hernia takes place when tissue or an organ starts pushing through an area of the ab muscles. This is either a weak spot or a hole in the muscle.
It results in a visible bulge that can cause pain. These symptoms get worse during certain situations. They include hard coughing/sneezing, lifting heavy weights/boxes, and even standing up and moving around. The symptoms usually decrease when lying down.
While this type of hernia isn’t always dangerous it’s important to get it treated as soon as possible. They include over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds.
In some cases, the doctor might suggest surgery to fix the hernia. This is especially true if the hernia’s pain or size has become a problem. As always, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the treatment options you have.
This type of hernia has several possible symptoms including:
- Pressure/weakness in the groin
- Burning/aching feeling at bulge
- Dragging/heavy feeling in the groin
- Pain/swelling around testicles
- Pain/discomfort in the groin
- Bulge on one side of the pubic bone
When children experience this type of hernia it results from a weak abdominal wall that exists at birth. Sometimes the hernia only shows up when the infant does certain activities. They include coughing or crying. The child might be moody and eat less than usual.
Meanwhile, when older children have this type of hernia it’s more likely when the child coughs or strains. Another common cause is when standing for a long time.
A warning sign is when you can’t push in the hernia. In this situation, the hernia could be “incarcerated” (trapped) inside the abdominal wall. This type of hernia can become a more serious “strangulated” hernia. This happens when the tissues don’t get any blood.
How to Prevent Inguinal Hernias
Here are some helpful tips:
This can be through foods or supplements although food is always the best source of nutrients. You can even take basic steps like eating carrot/potato peels instead of ditching them before cooking.
You can also add certain foods to your diet. They include fruits and veggies including the green leafy kind, beans/lentils, nuts/seeds, and whole grains. All of these foods will help to make your bowel movements more regular.
2. Hit the gym (or just move more)
OK, you don’t technically have to buy a gym membership. What’s more important is to stay physically active. That can include manual labor at work. It can also be a workout at a commercial or home gym. Even sports like football, basketball, or soccer can help you stay in shape.
Make sure to avoid certain kinds of exercises since they put pressure on the stomach’s wall. They include squats and jumping exercises. This can increase your risk of getting a hernia instead of preventing one.
3. Avoid constipation
Eating more fiber is one of the best options to achieve this goal. You can also take other steps. Make sure you’re drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day. Use a mild laxative like milk of magnesia or mineral oil.
It’s especially important to take these steps after surgeries that require antibiotics. Sometimes they can cause constipation.
4. Lose weight
Make sure your weight and body mass index (BMI) are within the normal range for factors like your age, gender, height, etc. What’s the problem? If you’re overweight/obese then the extra fat pushes into the abdominal wall every time you move around or even stand up.
Fad diets aren’t a good long-term solution. It’s better to make some lifestyle changes. That includes eating right, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels. Make sure you’re eating a healthy/balanced diet to maintain a healthy inguinal ligament.