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What is an Umbilical Hernia?

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Umbilical Hernia

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An umbilical or a belly button hernia develops when a section of your intestine protrudes through the tear in your abdominal muscles close to your belly button (navel). The majority of the time, umbilical hernias are not harmful.

Infants are more likely than adults to develop umbilical hernias, but adults can still get them. When a baby screams and the belly button protrudes as a result, an umbilical hernia may become particularly noticeable. So, make sure you look out for a protruding belly button when your infant is crying. Infants with low birth weight and early birth have a higher risk of developing an umbilical hernia. It affects both boys and girls equally.

Umbilical hernias in children frequently heal on their own within the first two years of their life, although some can last up to five years or longer. The likelihood of surgical correction increases if an umbilical hernia develops during adulthood.

Keep scrolling to uncover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of umbilical hernia.

How Does an Umbilical Hernia Develop?

There is a tiny gap in the abdominal muscles that allows the umbilical cord to pass through and connect the mother to the fetus throughout pregnancy.

After delivery, this gap in the abdominal muscles closes as the infant develops. Sometimes, a little opening remains where these muscles should have fully met and grown together. The term “umbilical hernia” refers to this hole.

Umbilical hernias are caused by excessive abdominal pressure in adults. The following factors can contribute to increased abdominal pressure:

  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Obesity
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Abdominal cavity liquid
  • Chronic peritoneal dialysis for renal failure

Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia

A soft swelling or protrusion develops close to the navel as a result of an umbilical hernia. Babies with umbilical hernias may only be diagnosed when they cry, cough, or exert themselves. When a child is calmly lying down, a doctor can gently press on the bulge, and it will typically shrink smaller or move back into the abdomen. Children’s umbilical hernias typically cause no discomfort. Adult-onset umbilical hernias may cause abdominal pain.

The intestines can at times become entrapped with the umbilical hernia. The term used to describe this is called “incarcerated hernia”. When this happens, the child normally experiences excruciating pain, and the protrusion may be firm and red.

To prevent any harm to the intestines, immediate medical evaluation is necessary to rule out an incarcerated hernia even though this doesn’t happen very often.

Diagnosis of Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia can be identified physically, and a doctor can also tell if there are any abdominal contents trapped in the hernia sac. Seek medical care if your baby

  • Appears to have excruciating pain
  • Starts to vomit
  • Any soreness, edema, or discoloration in the hernia

Adults should follow similar rules of medical diagnosis too. If you have a protrusion at your navel, discuss it with your doctor. If the bulge starts to hurt or feel tender, get emergency care. Prompt diagnosis and care can reduce the risk of problems.

Treatment of Umbilical Hernia

By the ages of 3 to 4, many umbilical hernias heal on their own. Your baby will be advised to have surgical removal. Surgery is also recommended when the hernia turns into an incarceration or is larger than 4 cm.

The hernia repair procedure is carried out under general anesthesia. The bell button base is cut in a tiny incision. If there is any intestine in the hernia, it is reinserted into the abdominal cavity.

Then, to avoid a second hernia, the muscle opening is stitched shut. To maintain the belly button flat, a dressing and/or incision glue are applied.

Most kids can go home following surgery in a few hours, but premature infants and kids with certain medical issues might need to stay overnight in the hospital.

The Bottom Line on Umbilical Hernia

It is unlikely that the hernia will recur after it has healed. However, in patients who have wound infections after surgery, the chance of recurrence is higher.

Keep an eye out on your baby’s belly button when they cry because it starts protruding if the baby has an umbilical hernia. In adults, it can be noticed when they have

  • Excruciating abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dark, red, or purple discolored bulge
  • Full, round abdomen
  • Fever
  • Constipation

The only possible solution is surgery for adults. In the case of kids, you can try to wait till they are a few years old. The surgery is a fairly simple and quick operation that takes about half an hour.

FAQs: What is an Umbilical Hernia?

1. What causes an umbilical hernia?

Fatty tissue or a portion of the colon that pushes through into the area close to the navel might cause an umbilical hernia. Being overweight or obese in adulthood is one of the variables that can lead to the development of an umbilical hernia. Lifting or carrying big goods while exerting unnecessary effort can also lead to this condition.

2. Does the umbilical hernia need to be removed?

Surgery avoids strangling due to an umbilical hernia, an uncommon but deadly condition, which is why many doctors advise surgery. The belly button hernia happens when a section of the intestine or a bit of fatty tissue becomes caught inside the hernia and is deprived of its blood supply.

3. How do you treat an umbilical hernia?

A tiny incision is created near the belly button during the surgical removal of an umbilical hernia. The abdominal wall opening is sewn shut after the herniated tissue is brought back into the abdominal cavity. Mesh is frequently used by surgeons to assist the abdominal wall in adults.

4. Is it OK to live with an umbilical hernia?

Because umbilical hernias are not often evident, you may have had one for some time. However, if complications arise from umbilical hernias, your general health could be in danger. So, when you face diverse health issues, get yourself thoroughly checked.

5. What size of umbilical hernia needs surgery?

If the belly button hernia is large (more than 4 cm), laparoscopic surgery may be recommended. This can reduce the chance of ● Wound infections ● Hospital stay length ● Postoperative pain and other consequences, primarily among patients at risk (obesity, smoking).

6. Is umbilical hernia surgery high risk?

Unless the patient also has other major medical issues, there are often extremely low risks associated with surgery for an umbilical hernia. Surgery and general anesthesia risk factors include: ● Respiratory issues ● Drug reactions ● Blood clots ● Infections ● Bleeding

7. When is an umbilical hernia serious?

The healthcare professional will search for and complete a medical history to see if the belly button hernia has become incarcerated (stuck within the abdominal opening). If found with such a serious medical condition where the projecting intestine is confined and deprived of blood flow, surgery may be suggested.

8. How can I fix my umbilical hernia at home?

Here are some suggestions for at-home treatment of umbilical hernia: ● Eat a high-fiber diet ● Use an ice pack in the area ● Eat small and light meals ● Do yoga ● Try swimming and walking ● Practice cycling ● Avoid strenuous exercises

9. Can an umbilical hernia be cancerous?

Ovarian cancer, malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, primitive neuroectodermal tumor, and metastases of several intraabdominal tumors, sometimes known as Sister Mary Joseph's nodule, are among the cancers that have been recorded to spread through umbilical hernias.

10. What is the success rate of umbilical hernia surgery?

There have been reports of 90% to 99% success rates in umbilical hernia surgeries. In many cases, surgeons use the mesh procedure so that the recurrence of the belly button hernia is reduced. Unfortunately, some surgeries do increase the likelihood of chronic pain by as much as 5%–15%.

Sources :

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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