A physical exam is usually all that's needed to diagnose an inguinal hernia. Your doctor will check for a bulge in the groin area. Because standing and coughing can make a hernia more prominent, you'll likely be asked to stand and cough or strain.

If the diagnosis isn't readily apparent, your doctor might order an imaging test, such as an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.

June 15, 2016
  1. Brooks DC, et al. Classification, clinical features and diagnosis of inguinal and femoral hernias in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 27, 2015.
  2. Ramsook C, et al. Overview of inguinal hernia in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 27, 2015.
  3. Groin hernia: Inguinal and femoral repair. American College of Surgeons. https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/hernrep.ashx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2015.
  4. Inguinal hernia. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/inguinal-hernia/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed Dec. 27, 2015.
  5. Treadwell J, et al. Surgical options for inguinal hernia: Comparative effectiveness review, No. 70. Rockville, Md.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK100633/.