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)
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
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.