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What Is An Umbilical Hernia?

An umbilical hernia is a condition in which a part of the intestine or other abdominal tissue protrudes through a weakened spot or opening in the abdominal muscles around the belly button (umbilicus). This results in a visible bulge or swelling near the belly button that can become more pronounced when standing or straining.

Umbilical hernias can occur in both children and adults but are most commonly seen in infants. In infants, the hernia usually appears as a soft bulge or swelling near the belly button that may become more noticeable when the baby cries, coughs, or strains during bowel movements. In most cases, umbilical hernias in infants are harmless and tend to resolve independently by 2-3 years.

What Are The Causes Of An Umbilical Hernia?

The causes of umbilical hernias differ in infants and adults.

In Infants:

The exact cause of umbilical hernias in infants is unknown, but it is believed to be due to the incomplete closure of the abdominal muscles around the umbilical cord after birth. Other factors that may contribute to the development of an umbilical hernia in infants include genetics, premature birth, and increased intra-abdominal pressure

In Adults:

The exact cause of umbilical hernias in adults is not always clear, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this condition:

  • Congenital: Some people are born with a weakened abdominal wall, making them more susceptible to developing an umbilical hernia.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on the abdominal muscles, causing them to weaken and increasing the risk of hernia.
  • Pregnancy: The stretching of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy can weaken the muscles and increase the risk of an umbilical hernia.
  • Chronic coughing: Persistent coughings, such as that caused by chronic bronchitis or smoking, can strain the abdominal muscles and lead to hernias.
  • Straining during bowel movements: Straining during bowel movements due to constipation or other digestive issues can also weaken the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of hernia.
  • Heavy lifting: Lifting heavy objects can strain the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of developing an umbilical hernia.
  • Previous abdominal surgery: Prior abdominal surgery can weaken the muscles, making it easier for a hernia to occur.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Hernia?

Different patients will present different umbilical hernia symptoms. Regardless of the hernia's size, if the abdominal wall tightens around it, blood flow to the protrusion may be cut off, which can lead to more discomfort. The pain can be minor or severe.

From infants to adults, the primary umbilical hernia symptom is pain at the site of the hernia. The following is a list of symptoms that can be shown. 

  • In the case of Infants: A lump near the navel area is the major symptom of an umbilical hernia.  The symptoms become more noticeable when the baby cries, coughs, or strains during bowel movements. They may also experience vomiting, constipation, irritability, and discoloration in the area. 
  • In the case of adults: The primary symptom of umbilical hernia in adults is swelling or protrusion close to the navel. You may also experience pain or discomfort in the abdomen or belly button area, especially when lifting heavy objects or performing physical activities. 

How Umbilical Hernia Is Diagnosed?

Umbilical hernias are normally identified via the following ways 

  • Physical examination: Usually, the umbilical hernia is asymptomatic, Physical examination is performed by a doctor, to check the size of the hernia. If the size of the hernia is big it will be easily diagnosed by physical examination 
  • Imaging Techniques: A doctor can diagnose the hernia by imaging techniques such as abdominal x-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans if the size of the hernia is small and it's difficult to diagnose. 
  • Ultrasound: In case of severe complications such as infection or ischemia imprisoned and strangulated hernia, the doctor can also ask for an abdominal ultrasound or blood test for infection.

What Are The Treatment Options For Umbilical Hernia?

Treatment options for adults and children are different. Your doctor is going to choose the method based on your age, the size of the hernia, and the severity of the hernia. The methods of the treatments are as follows:

Treatment For Children

Umbilical hernias in infants will resolve on their own by the age of 1-2 years as the abdominal muscles strengthen and the hole in the muscle wall closes.  

Surgery can be performed in some complicated cases such as 

  • If the size of the hernia is more than of diameter 1 to 2 cm.
  • If an umbilical hernia persists even after the age of 3. 
  • If the hernia has blocked the intestine.
  • If an umbilical hernia is creating problems in daily routine activities

Treatment in adults:

Surgery is the only available treatment for umbilical hernia in adults. Without treatment, an umbilical hernia may aggravate and enlarge, which is going to cause pain and discomfort along with other symptoms.  

Laparoscopic umbilical hernia repair and open umbilical hernia repair are two different surgical approaches used in the treatment. 

Open umbilical hernia Surgery 

  • In open hernia repair, a small incision is made by the doctor at the target area.  
  • The surgeon pushes back the hernia into place and closes the abdominal wall with stitches. 
  • To reinforce the closure and lower the probability of the hernia returning back, a mesh may be used.

Laparoscopic umbilical hernia surgery 

  • A laparoscopic hernia repair is a minimally invasive procedure.
  • Around the area of the hernia bulge, the surgeon makes a number of tiny incisions.
  • Then a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera attached to it into one of the cuts ) is inserted through one of the incisions. This will help the surgeon get a real-time view of the procedure.
  • Surgical instruments to perform the procedure will be inserted through the other incisions.
  • The abdominal lining and any protruding intra-abdominal tissue are gently reinserted into the abdominal cavity by the surgeon. The incision is then closed with stitches.
  • To reinforce the abdominal wall, the surgeon may also use a surgical mesh. This helps strengthen the abdominal wall and prevents recurrence.


How Do You Prevent Umbilical Hernia?

Certain measures may help reduce the risk of developing an umbilical hernia or prevent an existing hernia from worsening. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing an umbilical hernia, so it is important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  • Avoiding heavy lifting: Heavy lifting or straining can increase the pressure inside the abdomen, which can contribute to the development of an umbilical hernia. Avoid lifting heavy objects, and if you must lift something heavy, make sure to use proper lifting techniques.
  • Treating constipation: Constipation can put a strain on the abdominal muscles, increasing the risk of an umbilical hernia. Make sure to drink plenty of water, eat a fiber-rich diet, and seek medical treatment if you experience chronic constipation.
  • Seeking medical attention: If you have a weak abdominal wall or have had a previous umbilical hernia, it is important to seek medical attention to monitor the condition and receive appropriate treatment if necessary.

Remember, while there is no guaranteed way to prevent an umbilical hernia, taking these steps can help reduce your risk and promote overall health and well-being.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty task of finding the best hospital, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest cost. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health and recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin!


What is the Cost Of Umbilical Hernia Treatment in Ludhiana

The cost of umbilical hernia treatment in Ludhiana can range between ₹70000 to ₹125000. However, the cost of umbilical hernia treatment can vary depending on several factors such as the surgeon's experience and expertise, the complexity of the procedure, the type of anesthesia used, the facility fees, any additional tests or medications required, and insurance coverage. To know more, please contact a Medfin expert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Medfin offers the latest surgical procedures to ensure that you recover as fast as possible in the least painful way possible.

The umbilical cord is a connection between the mother and foetus in the womb that provides an exchange of nutrients and waste products between them, which is cut at birth. Ideally, after birth, the area should close, but if it does not, it may lead to protruding swelling near the belly button because of the bulging gastrointestinal tissues.

The causes in children may be premature birth or low birth weight.

The causes of umbilical hernias in adults can be due to:

  • Obesity and older age.

  • Chronic cough.

  • Multiple (e.g. having twins) and frequent pregnancies.

  • Excess fluid in the abdomen (ascites).

  • Previous abdominal surgeries.

Chronic pain and increase in the swelling at the site of the hernia accompanied by vomiting, nausea, poor bowel movements and fluid discharge are few of the alarming signs seen in the case of umbilical hernia that must be treated to avoid any further complications.

Although they are often seen in new-born children, it does occur in adults as well (more common in people above the age of 60).

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