Umbilical Hernia Symptoms & Treatment
An umbilical hernia is a bulging of the abdominal lining or part of the abdominal organs in the area around the belly button. They are common in infants. An umbilical hernia in an infant occurs when the muscle through which blood vessels feed the fetus does not close completely after birth. They vary in size from less than a centimeter to more than 5 centimeters. There is a soft swelling over the belly button. The swelling will increase when the baby is straining, crying, or sitting up. It may reduce when the infant lies flat.
Diagnosis Of An Umbilical Hernia
A physician can diagnose an umbilical hernia by performing a physical exam. No other tests are usually necessary, unless there is concern about other problems.
Prognosis and Treatment Of An Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias are not generally cause for great concern and require no correction unless the condition persists beyond the age of three or four. Most get better with time, as the muscle closes during early child development. If the hernia does not close over time, it may require surgery.
Symptoms Of An Umbilical Hernia
Umbilical hernias are not usually symptomatic. As a general rule they are painless. A physician should be consulted, however, and the child’s progress monitored as the physician directs.
Bowel tissue strangulation is rare in umbilical hernias. If it does occur, however, it is serious and constitutes a medical emergency. Call a physician or visit the emergency room if the child develops abdominal pain, or if the hernia becomes discolored, swollen, or tender. Peritonitis can result from bowel tissue strangulation. This is a serious condition, and can be life-threatening. If there are any signs of shock or severe abdominal pain, seek medical attention immediately.
Adults And Umbilical Hernias
It is less common, but umbilical hernias do occur in adults. They are more likely to cause abdominal pain in an adult, and therefore, more likely to require surgical repair.
Most common causes of umbilical hernias in adults include:
- Heavy lifting
If an umbilical hernia appears evident, even if it is not painful, seek the advice of a physician.