Umbilical - Hernia Symptoms, Hernia Treatments

What Does An Umbilical Hernia Look Like?

We've all seen puppies with a protrusion at the site of the umbilical cord. This protrusion is called an umbilical hernia in the puppy and, with time, it usually disappears. Another thing most of us have seen are pictures of children, primarily in children in poorer African countries, who are older and have protruding belly buttons. These are umbilical hernia pictures of kids who have not been treated and whose abdominal wall did not close. An umbilical hernia is a condition where a part of the intestine protrudes through an opening in the abdominal wall, at the site of the umbilical cord. While they can be seen in adults, most umbilical hernias occur in newborns.

How Does it Happen?

During pregnancy, while the baby is in the uterus, the umbilical cord passes through a normal crack in the side wall of the abdomen. Blood vessels go from the placenta to the baby to nourish the fetus. Normally, the opening closes just before birth, but if the opening doesn't close properly and the muscles don't join together completely, than an umbilical hernia is caused which will appear at birth or later in life. When an infant has an umbilical hernia, it is most noticeable when the baby is crying. It isn't something to worry about. It isn't painful to the baby and it is safe to say that nothing serious will happen if the baby cries. Taping a coin to the navel won't change things, neither will a band-aid applied to the site. Usually by the time the baby is about a couple of years old, the hole closes. Usually the defect is so small it goes unnoticed.

Is It Dangerous to the Baby?

It is very unusual for there to be complications with an umbilical hernia in a baby and as long as the tissue can be pushed back through the opening, then there's no real danger. If the hernia can not be pushed back through the hole and into the abdominal cavity and tissue becomes trapped, then the blood supply to that section of the intestine is reduced and it can lead to umbilical pain and damage to the tissue. If the tissue is completely cut off from the blood supply, then the situation can become dangerous and life-threatening. This type of umbilical hernia condition occurs primarily in adults with the problem and requires emergency umbilical hernia surgery.

I'm Pregnant and Have An Umbilical Hernia...

If your navel pops out when you're pregnant, it may be that you have a congenital umbilical hernia (one you were born with) and you didn't have any umbilical hernia symptoms that were noticeable. Once you became pregnant or gained some weight, the weak area of the abdominal wall was stressed and stretched, causing the hernia to become noticeable. When the hole gets large enough for intestinal tissue to pass through it, then a hernia appears. As an adult, this can be painful and there may be bulging around the belly button.

An umbilical hernia that becomes evident during pregnancy should be treated after the pregnancy, unless it becomes incarcerated or trapped, as mentioned above. Then umbilical hernia surgery is the only way it can be treated. As long as the hernia is not trapped, then it is best to wait for treatment until after giving birth. If you are pregnant and dealing with situation, then umbilical hernia treatment during pregnancy would include rest and gently massaging the hernia until it goes back into the tear and recedes into the abdomen.

Umbilical Hernia Surgery

Unless the hernia becomes very large and painful, a child is not operated on to close the hole unless the intestine becomes trapped. Usually by the age of four the hole has closed up. If, after that point there is no change or the hernia has become larger, then the doctor will determine if surgery is necessary. For an adult with an umbilical hernia, surgery is normally recommended to avoid possible complications.

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