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.
The major risk factors for developing umbilical hernia are:Age: premature infants are at a higher risk for developing an umbilical hernia.