Five Common Femoral Hernia Symptoms in Athletes

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A hernia is a serious medical condition that occurs when the small intestine protrudes out through a hole in the abdominal wall. One type of hernia that an athlete can suffer from is a femoral hernia. This particular hernia occurs in the upper region of the thigh, right below the groin, and near where the femoral vein and femoral artery meet. A femoral hernia is more likely to occur in women, due to women having wider pelvic areas, and it can happen to just about any athlete engaging in strenuous exercise. The most common cause of a femoral hernia for an athlete is excessive heavy lifting or improper lifting techniques, and this can occur if he or she uses weights regularly. It is important that an athlete be aware of the symptoms associated with a femoral hernia, so that he or she can seek medical attention immediately, and start treatment for the condition.

Here are five of the most common symptoms that an athlete is likely to experience, if he or she suffers from a femoral hernia.


An athlete that is suffering from a femoral hernia will likely experience constipation, which might cause him or her to feel bloated in the stomach. Constipation occurs as the result of an incarcerated femoral hernia, and there is often an obstruction blocking the proper digestion of food. An athlete requires a lot of nutrition in order to stay healthy during sports, so if he or she has a femoral hernia, this could block the proper absorption of food, and can cause him or her to become dehydrated. An athlete needs to be aware of his or her bowel movements, and know the normal frequency of the bowel movements, considering constipation could be the first warning sign of a femoral hernia.

Bulge or Lump

One of the most obvious symptoms of a femoral hernia in an athlete is a bulge or lump, which is caused by the protrusion of the intestines into the abdominal wall. It will be very easy for a lump or bulge to occur, due to the fact that the abdominal wall is weakened when any type of hernia occurs. An athlete will notice the lump or bulge around the groin area, and it will always be in the upper region of the thigh. The bulge or lump will appear to be the size of a grape or dime, and might only be noticeable if an athlete touches the area.


A classic symptom of a femoral hernia is pain, which can be moderate to severe in nature. There is usually pain involved with any type of hernia, and the pain will be specific to the area where the hernia has occurred. For an athlete suffering from a femoral hernia, the pain will be localized around the groin area, and will extend down to the upper region of the thigh. An athlete might notice the pain when he or she is running or walking on a treadmill, and the pain might increase in intensity with leg stretches or hamstring exercises. The pain also will vary in intensity depending upon the size, and progression of the femoral hernia. A female athlete might experience different levels of pain than a male athlete, which is due to the difference in reproductive organs, and wideness of the pelvic region. An athlete might also experience pain during non-athletic events, such as during intimacy, and he or she might consider the pain to be throbbing in nature.

Urinary Difficulties

An athlete that is suffering from a femoral hernia might also have problems urinating, which can cause significant pain to the abdomen or pelvis. An athlete might experience difficulty urinating, a slight burn when urinating, and an increase in frequency. An athlete could become more susceptible to bladder stones or urinary tract infections, which can occur to both men and women. An athlete might think that he or she is just drinking fluids too quickly, but in reality, it is due to the femoral hernia blocking the urinary tract. The difficulties urinating could cause cramps, bloating, and an overall feeling of lethargy in an athlete, which can make participating in sports difficult.

Vomiting or Constant Nausea

Vomiting or constantly being nauseous is also a common symptom of a femoral hernia in an athlete. An athlete might notice he or she cannot keep breakfast down, and might have a hard time exercising regularly, because he or she feels the need to vomit. An athlete might notice the nausea coming on strong during exercise or physical activity, and he or she might feel lightheaded at the same time. Nausea and vomiting are usually the warning signs that the femoral hernia has progressed to the point that it has entangled the intestines. Once the intestines become tangled around the femoral hernia, it is considered an incarcerated femoral hernia. An athlete will experience nausea once digestion becomes more difficult, and the regular flow of food becomes blocked off by the femoral hernia.

Jeanne Rose worked as a dietary clerk for three years in a hospital, went to vocational school for Allied Health, and obtained certification in nurse assisting.

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