Risk factors for an inguinal hernia include:

  • Being male. You're far more likely to develop an inguinal hernia if you're male. Also, the vast majority of newborns and children who develop inguinal hernias are boys.
  • Family history. Your risk of inguinal hernia increases if you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has the condition.
  • Certain medical conditions. People who have cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening condition that causes severe lung damage and often a chronic cough, are more likely to develop an inguinal hernia.
  • Chronic cough. A chronic cough, such as from smoking, increases your risk of inguinal hernia.
  • Chronic constipation. Straining during bowel movements is a common cause of inguinal hernias.
  • Excess weight. Being moderately to severely overweight puts extra pressure on your abdomen.
  • Pregnancy. This can both weaken the abdominal muscles and cause increased pressure inside your abdomen.
  • Certain occupations. Having a job that requires standing for long periods or doing heavy physical labor increases your risk of developing an inguinal hernia.
  • Premature birth. Infants who are born early are more likely to have inguinal hernias.
  • History of hernias. If you've had one inguinal hernia, it's much more likely that you'll eventually develop another — usually on the opposite side.
March 20, 2013