Umbilical hernia is the condition characterized by the protrusion of the intestine through an opening in the muscles of the abdomen. This disorder is mostly seen in infants, although it can affect any person at any age. We all should know that this condition is not a serious one and it does not harm the general health of the baby or the adult who has it.
When the umbilical hernia occurs in the infants, it is particularly seen when the baby cries, which causes the infant’s bellybutton to stick out. This bellybutton’s protrusion is a typical warning sign of the umbilical hernia.
In the majority of cases, the umbilical hernia withdraws by the time the baby turns 12 months. However, some cases of umbilical hernia need more time to heal. In order to avoid certain complications that can arise from this condition, the umbilical hernias that do not withdraw alone until the age of 4 or those that occur in the adulthood should be surgically repaired.
Symptoms of umbilical hernia
The navel is medically called umbilicus and therefore, this hernia is called umbilical hernia. The first symptom of this type of hernia is swelling or bulge in the area near the person’s navel. This bulge may be about 1 to 5 cm in diameter. When the baby has umbilical hernia, the swelling can be only seen when the child is crying or coughing.
While the umbilical hernia in adults causes slight discomfort in the abdomen, in children this condition is painless. When the parents notice a bulge near the navel, they should take the baby to the pediatrician, especially if the baby vomits and shows the signs of pain, or if the bulge is tender and discolored. The adults should consult their doctor when they notice the bulge as well.
Causes of the umbilical hernia
In pregnancy, the umbilical cord goes through an opening in the abdominal muscles of the baby and this opening tends to get closed just before the birth. In case when this opening is not completely closed, it can lead to the occurrence of the umbilical hernia in infants but also in the adults later in life.
Furthermore, the umbilical hernia in adults may also be caused by too much pressure on the abdomen due to obesity, heavy lifting and multiple pregnancies. Other conditions that contribute to the incidence of the umbilical hernia in adults are ascites or fluid in the abdomen and a long history of coughing.