Umbilical hernia is a protrusion of the organs in the abdomen or the protrusion of the lining of the abdomen. It is mostly the intestine that protrudes out. This protrusion is generally seen in the belly button area. This is commonly seen in infants and in African Americans. This condition is seen to occur commonly in infants as the muscular area through which the blood vessels pass, do not close after birth.
This is also common as during fetal development, most of the organs in the abdomen form outside the abdominal cavity. These organs then enter the abdominal cavity through the umbilicus. Umbilical hernias in most cases are not disease related.
This condition affects women more than men. The classic sign seen of umbilical hernia in infants is a protrusion through the baby’s bellybutton area (umbilicus). This bulge becomes prominent especially when the baby cries and sits upright.
Umbilical hernia can occur as a part of any rare congenital conditions like:
Umbilical hernia can also be acquired in nature. The following things can cause it like:
-increased pressure in the abdominal area
-ascitis (a condition in which fluid accumulation takes place in the abdominal cavity)
Umbilical hernia is seen in the belly button area. This protrusion may vary in size. Sometimes it is quite large but it can resolve on its own without any treatment in 2-3 years in infants. Strangulation and obstruction both are uncommon in this type of hernia.
The size of the umbilical hernia can vary in most cases from 1-5 centimeter. It can be larger in size also.
Umbilical hernia is seen clearly when the infant sits or is in an upright position or when he strains in general. The protrusion is flat when the infant is asleep while lying on its back. This condition is easily diagnosed by a doctor by a simple physical examination. Umbilical hernias are generally painless.
Umbilical hernia in most cases does not need any kind of treatment as the condition will improve gradually on its own by the time the child reaches 2-3 years of age. Sometimes in very rare conditions one of the tissues (mostly the bowel) loses its blood supply, this could lead to strangulation. If this occurs immediate medical help should be called for and surgery is indicated in such cases.
Surgery is generally not indicated in all cases. If the hernia especially which occurs in infants does heal on its own even at 2-3 years of age, needs surgery treatment. Umbilical hernia occurring in adults needs surgery.
Another kind of medical emergency is when the affected area appears to be swollen or tender or with any kind of discoloration accompanied with intense pain.
The rare complication which occurs with umbilical hernia is strangulation of the bowel. This kind of complication needs immediate medical help. Gangrene may occur if strangulation is persistent. If these conditions becomes infectious, it may lead to severe complications sometimes resulting in death.
Umbilical hernia is seen most commonly in premature babies and low birth weight babies.
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