Inguinal hernias are hernias that occur at a weakened location within the groin muscle. Men who are overweight, routinely lift heavy things, have a chronic cough or experience frequent straining are at higher risk of developing an inguinal hernia, as are pregnant women. However, in most cases the weakness in the belly muscle that allowed the inguinal hernia to occur is due to an opening that did not close as it was supposed to prior to birth. The primary symptom of this condition is a swollen, possibly painful bulge in the groin area or in the scrotum that develops over a period of weeks. An inguinal hernia that is not bothersome to the patient may not require immediate surgery, but surgery is the only way to resolve it - and in babies, the possibility of a dangerous complication called strangulation is somewhat greater than in an adult. Some inguinal hernias will recur after repair surgery, so to avoid this, patients should practice good weight management, not smoke or lift heavy weights and try to avoid straining during bowel movements.