Umblical hernia

A mother and fetus are connected with umbilical cord. The babies’ umbilicus passes through a small opening in their muscles. As the time passes, the hole closes soon after the birth. An umbilical hernia occurs when the part of bowel or fatty tissue protrudes through an area near the belly button, pushing itself through a weak spot in the surrounding abdominal wall. It is an easily treatable condition, but at times may become a serious condition.

These are common in infants. And most commonly seen in premature babies, babies who are born underweight (1.5 kg) often develop an umbilical hernia.


You may find a soft bulge near the umbilical region, ranging from 1-5 centimeters. It may be more noticeable if the baby laughs, cries, or strains. It is not usually painful in children. But in adults, it may be painful and may cause discomfort if the hernia size is large.

You must call the doctor immediately when you have severe vomitings, if the bulge cause pain and if the bulge gets discolored and swells up.


Your doctor would perform a physical examination to determine the presence of an umbilical hernia. The doctor would try to see if a hernia can be pushed back into its place. It is also checked if the umbilical cord is trapped because the trapped part of the intestine may be disconnected from the blood supply.

An X-ray or ultrasound of the abdomen is performed to check if there are any complications.A blood test is performed to check if there is any evidence of infection.


Most umbilical hernias in infants close on their own by the age of 1 or 2 years. During the physical examination, your doctor may push back the hernia into its place. You should not push it back on your own.

For children, hernia surgery is typically needed if an umbilical hernia is painful, bigger than 1.5 centimeters, trap or block the intestines, large and do not reduce in its size. In adults, the surgery is recommended to avoid possible complications and if a hernia is larger and painful.

During the hernia repair surgery, a small incision is made at the base of the bellybutton and herniated tissue if returned to the abdominal wall. After that the wall is stitched closed.

Umbilical hernia in infants: in the womb, the fetus is connected to the mother with the help of umbilical cord. This opening should close eventually by its own after the birth. When the opening does not close, it may be accumulated in fatty tissue and forms up into an umbilical hernia
Umbilical hernia in adults : in adults, if there is much pressure on the abdominal area, the fatty tissue or a part of intestine may poke through a weak part and appears as a protrusion.

The major risk factors for developing umbilical hernia are:

Age: premature infants are at a higher risk for developing an umbilical hernia.
Obesity: Obese children and adults have increased pressure on the abdominal area and may develop an umbilical hernia.
Coughing: too much pressure applied on the abdominal area while coughing may lead to the occurrence of an umbilical hernia.
Multiple pregnancies: the risk of developing umbilical hernia is increased when the pregnant mother carries more than one baby inside the womb.