When a part of your intestine protrudes through the gap in your abdominal muscles just below your belly button, it is known as an umbilical hernia (navel). Umbilical hernias are usually benign and common.
An umbilical hernia is commonly found in infants but is also found in adults. A classic sign of umbilical hernia can be seen when an infant cries, causing the baby’s belly button to protrude.
Although some remain open until the fifth year or longer, umbilical hernias in children frequently resolve on their own within the first two years of life. Adult-onset umbilical hernias are more likely to require surgical correction.
A soft swelling or protrusion appears close to the navel due to an umbilical hernia. Babies with an umbilical hernia may only be visible when they cry, cough, or exert themselves. When lying down, a noticeable lump or protrusion may also be observed and can be pushed back in, which will usually disappear.
Children’s umbilical hernias typically cause no pain. Adult-onset umbilical hernias can be uncomfortable for the stomach. Consult the baby’s pediatrician if your child has an umbilical hernia.
If your infant has an umbilical hernia, seek emergency attention if:
- Has soreness, puffiness, or discoloration at the hernia site
- Develops vomiting
- The infant is in pain
Adults should follow similar rules. If you have a protrusion at your navel, discuss it with your doctor. If the bulge starts to hurt or feel tender, get emergency care. Prompt diagnosis and care can reduce the risk of developing complications.
The umbilical cord protrudes through a tiny gap in the baby’s abdominal muscles during gestation. Usually, the opening closes shortly after birth. An umbilical hernia may develop at birth or later in life if the muscles in the abdominal do not fully fuse.
An increase in abdominal pressure in adults is a factor leading to umbilical hernias. Affected abdominal pressure can be brought on by:
- Peritoneal dialysis for a long time for the treatment of kidney failure
- History of having abdominal surgery
- Being pregnant multiple times
- Being obese
- Abdominal fluid
- Having a persistent, harsh cough
Neonates are more likely to develop umbilical hernias, particularly premature and underweight infants. African American infants in the US seem slightly more likely to develop umbilical hernias. Boys and girls are both affected by the illness equally.
Adults who are overweight or who have had several children run a higher chance of getting an umbilical hernia. Women are more likely to have this kind of hernia than males.