A groin or inguinal hernia can occur on one or both sides of the groin or scrotum. An inguinal hernia may be unilateral, occurring on one side of the groin, or bilateral, occurring on both sides of the groin. The majority of hernias are in this area and are most common in men.
In the case of an indirect hernia, the area inside the groin around the spermatic cord does not close completely during development and leaves some space open next to the cord. Later in life, the hernia follows this path and descends along the cord into the testicle. About 70% of inguinal hernias are indirect.
A direct hernia can be referred to as a "wear and tear" hernia, as weak tissue here can be aggravated by straining or lifting over time. About 30% of inguinal hernias are direct.
Your doctor won't be able to identify which type of hernia you have until you are in surgery.
Any one of these hernias may be recurrent. This means, simply, that a previously repaired hernia has returned. People with especially weak abdominal walls or multiple surgical sites may simultaneously suffer from a combination of types of hernias.