What is Umbilical Hernia?
While the developing fetus is in the womb, it is connected to its mother through umbilical cord. In babies, this umbilical cord moves through a small opening in their stomach muscles. Generally, this opening closes soon after birth. But in some infants the stomach muscles don’t close completely resulting in the intestine or other fatty tissues to protrude through this weakness around the belly button. This bulge is known as Umbilical Hernia.
Umbilical Hernia is most common in babies but it can even occur in adults.
What causes Umbilical Hernia in adults?
Umbilical Hernia occurs in adults when a lot of pressure is put on the abdomen due to:
- Multiple pregnancies
- Fluid in the abdominal cavity
- Chronic cough
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Chronic peritoneal dialysis
What are the symptoms of Umbilical Hernia?
Umbilical Hernia in babies is visible when they cry, laugh or strain to use the bathroom. The bulge can be easily seen near the umbilical area. No symptoms are visible when the baby is relaxed.Umbilical Hernia in babies need immediate treatment when:
- The baby appears to be in pain
- The baby vomits
- The bulge becomes tender, swollen or discoloured
In adults, usually a bulge is seen near the navel that is very painful.
How can Umbilical Hernia be treated?
Umbilical Hernia in babies usually closes itself by age 1 or 2 years. In extreme cases, it requires surgery when Umbilical Hernia is very painful and is bigger than 1.5 cm in diameter. It is very big in size and doesn’t disappear by the age of 4 years.
Adults will be recommended to go for surgery to repair Umbilical Hernia.