Umbilical Hernia

What is umbilical hernia?

When the intestines, fat, or body fluids are squeezed out from the weak spot or defect of the abdominal wall muscles of infant, a lump protrudes near the navel, causing the na-vel to bulge, and umbilical hernia will occur.

Many children have umbilical hernia at birth. This is because the area around the umbil-ical cord (umbilical ring) is not completely closed and the muscle structure around the umbilical cord is not fully developed. In general, umbilical hernia is not painful or dan-gerous. If the gap is not large, the chance of self-healing is very high. Generally, before six years of age, the umbilical gap of hernia is within 1 cm and usually closes by itself. It is not necessary to have surgery.

What causes umbilical hernia?

Blood vessels pass through the umbilical ring and the blood flows from the umbilical cord to the embryo. The umbilical ring usually closes before the baby is born, otherwise the tissue will bulge from this gap and form hernia.

Experts cannot find out why someone’s umbilical ring will not close completely.

What are the symptoms of umbilical hernia?

Normally, the umbilical cord will fall off within a few weeks after birth, and you can check if there is umbilical hernia, but some children will only get it when they grow up.

Children with umbilical hernia:

  • There will be a soft protrusion on the navel.
  • The doctor can push the hernia back a little.
  • When standing or sitting, the protrusion will be more obvious.When the child cries, coughs or defecates, the abdominal muscles will exert force and the lump will be seen more clearly.
  • Umbilical hernia varies in size but the diameter is rarely more than 2.5 cm. Most chil-dren do not feel pain in the hernia area.

If your baby starts to vomit, and if there are symptoms of inflammation such as redness and swelling or even blackness in the hernial bulge area, it may be “incarcerated umbil-ical hernia”. It is advisable to seek medical advice immediately.

How to diagnose umbilical hernia?

The doctor can determine whether the child has umbilical hernia from the appearance of the stomach. If there is a hernia, the doctor will check the size and shape of the hernia and check if it can be pushed back. Generally, before six years of age, the umbilical gap of hernia is within 1 cm and usually closes by itself. It is not necessary to have surgery.

Don’t forget to take your child to the doctor regularly to check if your child’s hernia be-gins to close.

How to treat umbilical hernia?

Umbilical hernia usually heals by itself when the baby is one year old. If the umbilical hernia hasn’t improved by six years of age, it may have to be treated with surgery. Gen-erally, before six years of age, the umbilical gap of hernia is within 1 cm and usually closes by itself. It is not necessary to have surgery.

If your child has the following conditions, surgery may need to conducted before he or she is six years old:

  • The hernia is very large, and hasn’t started to shrink at two years old.
  • There are other problems such as inflammation.
  • The appearance of the hernia affects you or your child.
  • Sometimes if the hernia is very large, or the skin covering it is too loose, additional sur-gery may be needed to repair the appearance of navel.

Umbilical hernia surgery rarely causes problems. The doctor will tell you what to pay attention to, and after the surgery, you must take your child to the doctor for follow-up on your child’s healing status.

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