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Q.Why do I have to turn my head and cough during a hernia exam?

A. Notice that when you cough, the muscles in your abdomen tighten and flex. That increase in abdominal pressure can make a hernia pop out, making it easier for a doctor to detect. Though hernias usually present as a bulge, you could easily have a hernia and not know it.

Another reason is to diagnose varicoceles, which are varicose veins of the testicles. With a good cough, the veins will protrude much like the veins in your neck do. Varicoceles are the most common cause of infertility in men.

The doctor asks patients to turn their heads to avoid being coughed on all day.

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