Recovering from inguinal hernia repair 

You should be able to go home on the day of, or the day after, your operation. Get an adult to take you home in a car or taxi and follow any instructions you're given by the hospital.

After the operation, your groin will feel sore and uncomfortable. You'll be given painkillers to help relieve this discomfort.

Looking after yourself

An adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after your operation in case you experience any problems.

If you're still in pain after going home, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. Applying gentle pressure to your wound using your hand, or a small pillow can make coughing, sneezing and moving between sitting and standing more comfortable.

Make sure you follow the instructions your nurse gave you about caring for your wound, hygiene and bathing.

Straining on the toilet because of constipation can cause pain around your wound. You can reduce your risk of constipation by drinking lots of fluids and eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and high-fibre foods, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta. A mild, over-the-counter laxative may also help.

Activities

If the operation was carried out under a general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep during your operation), your co-ordination and reasoning may be affected for a short time. Avoid drinking alcohol, operating machinery or signing legal documents for at least 48 hours after any operation involving general anaesthetic.

Over time, you can gradually return to your normal activities as soon as you're able to do them without feeling any pain.

Most people are able to do light activities, such as shopping, after one or two weeks. You should also be able to return to work after one or two weeks, although you may need more time off if your job involves manual labour.

Gentle exercise, such as walking, can help the healing process, but you should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for about four to six weeks.

You may find sex painful or uncomfortable at first, but it's usually fine to have sex when you feel like it.

Driving

Speak to the medical professional in charge of your care for advice about when you can drive. It's usually advisable to avoid driving until you're able to perform an emergency stop without feeling any pain or discomfort (you can practice this without starting your car).

It will usually be one or two weeks before you reach this point after having laparoscopy (keyhole surgery), although it may take longer after open surgery.

It's usually recommended that you contact your car insurance company before starting driving again.

When to call a doctor

Call your surgeon if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • persistent fever over 38C (100.4F)
  • bleeding
  • increased swelling or pain in your abdomen
  • pain that is not relieved by painkillers
  • persistent nausea or vomiting
  • chills
  • persistent coughing or shortness of breath
  • increasing redness surrounding your incisions
  • difficulty passing urine

Page last reviewed: 17/07/2015

Next review due: 01/07/2018