What is a dilated ring?

Each side of the lower (groin) end of the abdomen has a potential opening. Each opening can be likened to a double set of doors. The inner door is the internal ring and the outer door is the external ring. Normally the external ring is the size of the examiner's fingertip. When its walls are stretched or lax, it is referred to as a dilated or wide ring. This is of no importance unless abdominal contents go through it in which case there is a true hernia. Presumably a wide ring means that one day it may permit a hernia to occur. There are a lot of "ifs," "maybes" and "we don't know whens" about it. A wide ring requires no treatment and no concern. If you have no symptoms, forget it and have the area examined again if it becomes painful or swollen.


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