Umbilical Hernia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

By: Juliet Cohen

An umbilical hernia is a protrusion of the abdominal lining, or a portion of abdominal organ, through the area around the navel. The bulge in the umbilicus may be present all the time or may only be noticed when the child is crying, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement. It carries a mother's lifeblood to her child, and anything that might harm the child is removed by her mother. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but they can affect adults as well. It is often most visible when the child cries or strains, as the pressure pushes the abdominal contents or fluid through the hole causing it to bulge. The contents of the hernia are contained within a lining called the hernia sac. A hernia is present at the site of the umbilicus (commonly called a navel, or belly button) in the newborn; although sometimes quite large, these hernias tend to resolve without any treatment by around the age of 5 years. The umbilicus, or belly button, is a natural weakness in the abdominal wall where hernias commonly occur.

Most umbilical hernias have no symptoms. Umbilical hernias usually happen because of a hole or a weak area in the muscles of the abdominal wall. The exact incidence is unknown, but may be as high as 1 in 6 infants. Most umbilical hernias close on their own by age 2. The size of the umbilical hernia is determined by feeling the opening in the abdominal muscle, not by the amount of skin protruding (or sticking) out. Umbilical hernias are found in about 20% of newborns, especially in premature infants. Umbilical hernias can happen to people of any age. Umbilical hernias in adults happen more often in women than in men. You may be more likely to have a hernia if other family members have them. This type of hernia is almost never painful - pain in that area is usually from some other cause. Umbilical hernias are common in infants. In addition, low birth weight and premature infants are more likely to have umbilical hernias. They are more common in African-American children. If the hernia is excessively large, it may be surgically repaired.

Causes of Umbilical hernia

The common causes and risk factor's of Umbilical hernia include the following:

It is caused by the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring (muscle), through which the umbilical blood vessels passed to provide nourishment to the developing fetus.

Fluid in the abdominal cavity.

For adults, being overweight or having multiple pregnancies may increase the risk of developing an umbilical hernia.

Having a very long labor when delivering your baby.

A family history of Umbilical hernias can make you more likely to develop a Umbilical hernia.

Abnormalities of the urethra.

Symptoms of Umbilical hernia

Some symptoms related to Umbilical hernia are as follows:

A soft protrusion over the umbilicus.

Nausea and vomiting.

New lump in the groin or other abdominal wall area.

Weakness or dizziness.

Redness or discoloration.

Fever.

Sometimes pain precedes the discovery of the lump.

Abdominal swelling or distension.

Treatment of Umbilical hernia

Here is list of the methods for treating Umbilical hernia:

Usually, no treatment is required unless the defect persists past the age of 3 to 4 years.

The ideal treatment forumbilical hernias is surgical repair.

In extremely rare cases, bowel or other tissue can protrude and become strangulated (lack of blood flow to a section of bowel).

The doctor may do a genital or pelvic exam or other tests.

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