The Impact of Physical Effort on Inguinal Hernia in Togo


Physical activity is a common means for both men and women, employed in both informal and formal sectors, to enhance their quality of life. However, excessive physical effort can lead to potential health risks, including the development of inguinal hernias, which can cause discomfort in daily life.


Understanding Inguinal Hernia Mechanism

An inguinal hernia occurs when a portion of the intestine protrudes from its normal location within the abdominal cavity and becomes trapped in the hernia neck. This abnormal descent results in an enlarged bulge, which may or may not be painful. Contributing factors to inguinal hernias include genetic or congenital factors, obesity, constant physical exertion, and an increased risk with age.


Inguinal Hernia Incidence in Togo

Inguinal hernias affect a significant number of individuals in Togo, including men, women, and even children. According to a study conducted in Kara over a period of 6 months in 2019, individuals most commonly diagnosed with inguinal hernias were men employed in the agricultural sector. Out of the 2,557 people aged 15 and above who underwent surgery for this condition at the University Teaching Hospital center, 371 were men, and 60 were women. The majority of the male patients worked as farmers, while the female patients were primarily housewives.


The Impact of Farming and Physical Labor

Farmers constitute approximately 90% of the Togolese population, residing in rural areas where modern medical practices have not fully penetrated daily habits. Additionally, the prevalence of physical labor-intensive jobs, such as dockers, bricklayers, and carpenters, also contributes to the incidence of inguinal hernias. While the development of Togo’s agricultural sector has begun, the legacy of relying on physical strength for work persists.


Promoting Health by Reducing Physical Effort

Although physical exertion is essential for the body’s oxygen supply, overexertion can be harmful. Striking the right balance is crucial, as no occupation should become a source of illness. The adoption of modern machinery and collaboration with skilled workers can help reduce the physical burden in various jobs.



Inguinal hernias affect approximately 4.6% of the population in French sub-Saharan Africa, according to the National Library of Medicine. Early diagnosis and regular screenings are essential for effective management of hernias, especially for those engaged in physically demanding occupations. Togo stands as one of the African countries providing surgical solutions to patients suffering from this condition. To promote better health outcomes, it is imperative to raise awareness of the risks associated with excessive physical effort and prioritize preventive measures.

Estelle Komlani


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