Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is formed when a part of the intestine pushes through the opening in the muscles of the abdomen near the navel (belly button). 

An umbilical hernia gets formed on account of excessive pressure on the abdominal muscles

Usually, an umbilical hernia is harmless But, if it does not heal till the age of 4 years or if symptoms appear or worsen, the doctor may advise surgery to treat it.

Do you want to know the treatment option? Please contact our doctor at Medfin.

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is formed when a part of the intestine pushes through the opening in the muscles of the abdomen near the navel (belly button). 

Usually, an umbilical hernia is harmless. They are commonly formed in infants, although they have been reported in adults as well.

Umbilical hernias in children often close on their own within the first two years of life. Some may remain open up to the fifth year or longer.

About 90 percent of umbilical hernias do not need treatment and gradually close on their own. Umbilical hernias formed in adults are more prone to need surgical repair.

Causes of Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical cord passes through a small opening in the baby's abdominal muscles, while the baby is in the womb of the mother. This opening closes after birth. 

However, if the abdominal muscles do not join at the midline of the abdominal wall, an umbilical hernia is formed at birth or even later.

In adults, an umbilical hernia gets formed on account of excessive pressure on the abdominal muscles. This type of hernia is common in women. Increased pressure on the abdominal wall could be because of the following factors:

  • ​Previous abdominal surgery
  • Continuous and heavy coughing
  • Obesity
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Bearing twins or triplets
  • Peritoneal dialysis to treat kidney failure over a prolonged period

Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia

A soft swelling or protrusion near the navel is a sign of an umbilical hernia. In infants, it may be seen, when the baby is coughing, crying, or straining (bowel movements). 

Umbilical hernias in children are generally painless. In adults, they may cause discomfort.

However, medical evaluation is advised, especially if there is -

  • ​Tenderness or pain.
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis for Umbilical Hernia

Usually, a physical examination is adequate for the diagnosis of umbilical hernias. However, an ultrasound, X-ray, or CT scan may be recommended by the consulting doctor to negate complications.

Treatment options for Umbilical Hernia

Usually, umbilical hernias close on their own in children by the age of up to 2 years. During the physical exam, the doctor may even push the lump to its original position, resolving the hernia (this should not be tried at home).

Surgery in the case of children may be considered only if the umbilical hernia is:

  • ​Slightly larger than a 1/4th to 3/4th of an inch in diameter.
  • Painful
  • Consistency in size by the age of 2 years.
  • Persistent even at 5 years of age.
  • Indicative of a blocked intestine.

Surgery is normally recommended for adults to avoid future complications. The hernia tissue is positioned back in the abdominal cavity and is sutured by the surgeon. 

A surgical mesh may be used to reinforce the repositioned tissue and strengthen the abdominal wall.

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