Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Inguinal canal

The inguinal canal is a natural passage or opening through the muscles of the abdominal (belly) wall. Before males are born, the testicles descend from the abdomen into the scrotum through the inguinal canal; in females, a ligament passes through the canal to the large folds of skin (labia) surrounding the vagina.

The inguinal canal varies in length, depending on a person's age. It can be up to 3 in. (7.6 cm) in adults.

The inguinal canal usually closes before a baby is born or by age 2. But the canal may stay open into adulthood. If the canal is open, tissue from inside the abdomen may bulge through the canal, causing an indirect inguinal hernia.

News & Events

View All

5 Tips To Prepare Your Home For A Newborn

You have spent several months preparing the nursery for your bundle of joy including new furniture, curtains, paint, and a spanking new rocking chair just for you.

Request an Appointment