I am a fit lady of 51, use chainsaws and telescopic hedgetrimmers, move branches/logs etc. I am quite tall 5.10 and muscular but not obviously. I do attend the gym but for much light hearted activities like body step, I do too much lifting to want to do any extra. I have always been naturally strong.
One night while suffering from a persistent cold I had a sudden pain on the lower quarter of my abdomen, with sharp shooting pains going down my thigh. I went to A&E but due to the large area of pain and my xray showing lots of feces they fobbed me off with constipation pains and gave me some pain killers (codine).
Eventually after two days I was diagnosed with a urine infection, but there wasnt any blood in my urine, they decided this as I had no urge to go to the toilet even though my bladder was quite full. The antibiotics worked, so there was something not right with my bladder, but I still had a large mass of pain in my right side as the doctor put it "your bits", was given antibiotics for pelvic inflammation and that cleared up. All I was left with now was a sharp pain in between my belly button and pelvic area, groin pain and shooting pains like sciatica down my thighs, it was if a nerve was trapped above in my abdomen. I went straight to my GP and she diagnosed a femoral hernia.
My other symptoms were nausea, bowel problems - I was forced to go on a strict fibre/mushy diet as I couldnt eat enough due to feeling full quite quickly, in other words something was stopping my normal bowel flow and only very well chewed food would pass through. I did try laxatives but they caused me so much pain, I could feel the feces pass this bulge/obstruction and it hurt. So no bread, steak, heavy food. I also felt very tired and would have to sit down if I started my normal routine. When I stood I could feel pain from my groin area and even sitting caused me to feel uncomfortable. But lying down on the sofa made the pain virtually disappear.
I could do certain exercises/actions which didnt cause pain or make my hernia worse ie. jumping up and down on a soft surface, twisting, dancing moves, but it would wear me out, I did notice a slight improvement after exercise but only say 4%.
As well as all hernia symptoms I also had strange periods, more often and would stop suddenly. For 37 years I have never had problems with my periods. Also due to the pelvic inflammation and bladder infection my Consultant has his doubts about a hernia. Nowadays surgeons are far more careful, they dont want to be sued or have their career ruined with an operation that may cause the patient to sue them if they are not 100% sure.
This problem flared up with chronic pain on the 23rd January 2012, since then due to my insistence that I have a hernia I have had a CT scan but that was while I was in A&E and it was thought I had kidney stones so my Inguinal canal/possible hernia area wasnt covered, otherwise all ok. I then had a private ultrasound due to the delay with NHS that showed all my female parts were ok but when I said I thought I had a femoral hernia we worked on trying to get it to show - a slight bulge (from his report) did show but the radiographer said he couldnt define it as a hernia.
I then went to a private consultant with my radiologists report, my symptoms and some notes on my A&E admission. He suggested an MRI scan, so reluctantly I went. This showed no hernia but he has found a cyst. I believe the cyst has only appeared after my private ultrasound and is connected with the inflammation from the hernia. My first private ultrasound showed no cyst and I am confident he was doing a thorough job.
I did realise after researching femoral hernias in "Sports/athletes" with women that are not menopausal that altered periods, bladder problems, bowel problems, shooting pains are all linked to a femoral hernia - and also a femoral hernia can be much harder to detect as quite often there isnt a lump (intestines coming through). Quite a lot of female hernias are in obese or older women so the young fit ones are normally sent to a gyne. or for groin strain problems.
All I want is for it to be diagnosed, whether I have an operation is another matter. I met a lady at the ultrasound queue who had two symetrical femoral hernias, it had taken 2 years to be diagnosed. Her GP had told her that you couldnt get two and that her bowels shouldnt be affected, finally she demanded an ultrasound and replicated her work duties while having the ultrasound. She was a gymnast but was now teaching smaller children 4/5 years old and was not only assembling the apparatus which was heavy but lifting the children onto the bars which was heavy work. She was quite slight but looked in good shape. She was sitting next to me waiting for the US because she was getting her hernia pains back since having both hernias operated on 6 months later - so I am a bit worried about having an operation now - if it ever gets diagnosed.
I shall have to think out of the box now and decide whether I could replicate my heavy lifting pain on an Ultrasound bed or stand up holding something heavy. This will be the only way I can tell if this "bulge" gets bigger and if there is a hole or just a weakness in the abdomen.
If anyone can help with diagnosing a Femoral Hernia then this would be useful. I have tried to stick my fingers down into the area to locate the possible pain but I cant get a big enough pain to point it out. Sometimes the area throbs. And when I eat my shooting pain in the leg gets worse. In men they get shooting pain in their testicles (I think) but as I dont have male parts and it is a rare condition I am having difficulty getting a definite answer.
I have an Indian friend whose mother has warned her of problems if she lifts heavy items, and a spanish friend whose female cousins in the north of Spain have all had hernias due to picking and lifting fruit in baskets, theirs mind you must have ruptured completely or within that fruit picking area or their doctor is very experienced with the problem.
Femoral Hernias havent just arrived they must have been around since "Eve" why do the doctors not pool their information?
If anyone has had a femoral hernia operation I would be very interested to find out how successful it was and if they have resumed a very active career as I want to do. Its better the devil you know sometimes I dont want ongoing problems if I have an operation with mesh and a laparoscopy.