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Umbilical Hernia-Overview

A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity bulge outof the area where they are normally contained.

Umbilical hernia is a condition characterized by an outwardprotrusion of the abdominal lining or part of the abdominal organs through thearea around the navel. Although this type of hernias is more common inchildren, it can affect adults as well. This is not characterized as a seriouscondition, and it is usually not related to other health problems.


During pregnancy, in order for the fetus to get the nourishment it needs, the umbilicalcord passes through one small opening in the abdominal muscles. This openingusually closes before birth. However, if the muscles do not join togethercompletely in the midline of the stomach, this can cause hernias to appear atbirth or later in life.

When it comes to adults, too much pressure put on theabdomen can cause this type of hernia. Causes of umbilical hernia can be: multiplepregnancies, heavy lifting, obesity, long-lasting cough, tumors, fluid in theabdominal cavity, excessive straining during a bowel movement, etc.The chances of a person having a hernia increase, if someonein the family has this condition.

These can also be the factors that may worsen the conditionwhen a person already has umbilical hernia. It is, therefore, recommended thatone try and firstly remove the cause of the hernia.


The most common symptom of this condition is bulging aroundthe navel (the bulge can range from 1 to 5 centimeters in diameter). Also, thesigns and symptoms of a hernia can range from noticing a painless lump to thepainful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue that one is unable to push backinto the abdomen.This might mean that the lump contains part of an organ.

Around the bulge there might be signs of an inflammation, or a blush tinge nearit.

It is important that a person consult a doctor as soon as theyhave noticed the hernia, because adults are more likely to experience somecomplication if the hernia is left untreated. These complications are usuallyincarceration and obstruction of the intestines, and these may be quite severe.In fact, emergency surgery is needed to treat these complications.


When it comes to children these types of hernia tend todisappear before the age of three. Those that don’t close need surgery.

However, because adults are more prone to complications,surgery is the typically recommended treatment, especially if the hernia seemsto be getting bigger or more painful. During the surgery, a small incision ismade below the navel. The bulge is either pushed back in, or cut off (dependingon the size and whether an organ has been a part of the hernia). Then it is stitchedback and a mesh is sometimes added to strengthen the muscles and decrease thechances of the hernia returning.

Also, one should talk to the doctor about the post treatmentcare, which is important also to avoid recurring umbilical hernias.

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