Bearing Down on Hernia Exams
When you palpate for inguinal hernias, ask the patient to take a deep breath and then bear down in a moderately strenuous Valsalva maneuver—rather than cough—after you have placed your finger in the inguinal ring. While coughing typically produces positive intra-abdominal pressure for less than a second, this maneuver creates pressure that lasts for several seconds. The probability of successfully palpating an inguinal hernia is thus increased.
---- David E. Bright, MD