What Is A Hernia?
A hernia is part of an internal organ that pushes through an opening in the organ’s wall. An umbilical hernia is one that results from a part of the intestines pushing through some type of opening in the abdominal muscles. Some types of hernias, like a femoral hernia, occur only in adults. Umbilical hernia occurs predominantly in babies, although they are occasionally seen in children and adults.
Umbilical Hernias In Children
Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, and somewhat more common in male than in female babies. They occur when part of the intestine protrudes through an opening in the abdominal muscles. A common symptom of an umbilical hernia is a protruding belly button when the baby cries.
These types of hernias are common and typically harmless. and usually close on their own by the time the infant is one year old. Some umbilical hernias do take a bit longer to heal. If the hernia does not disappear by the time the child reaches age four, then surgical repair may be necessary in order to avoid complications. The medical term for this type of surgery on an infant is called a herniorraphy. The surgery involves a cut or incision in the umbilical area, and usually takes about two hours to complete.
Umbilical Hernias in Adults
Umbilical hernias in adults usually develop gradually without producing much discomfort, if any at all. The only indication may be the presence of a bulge in the abdomen. This is usually observed while the person is bathing or getting dressed. Some people may experience tissues in their abdomen acting strangely when they have a bowel movement and on consulting their doctor, they may be diagnosed with a hernia.
Hernias of this type which appear in adults may also need surgical repair, usually an elective procedure for an adult. While hernias in infants can be self-corrective, hernias in adults do not close by themselves but tend to grow larger over time. For this reason, the patient’s surgeon would usually recommend the procedure.
Severe Umbilical Hernias
There are some umbilical hernias which require medical emergency. These are hernias which have become incarcerated or strangulated. Symptoms in this case are much more pronounced than during early development. The patient may have symptoms which include nausea and vomiting, abdominal swelling or distension. They may be in extreme pain, experience weakness or dizziness and the complexion may appear to be quite pale. In these cases, surgery is no longer optional but necessary.
Umbilical hernias are also more common in African Americans than in Caucasians and Hispanics, and they tend to run in families. Umbilical hernias in adults usually occur in women who are pregnant, and also in obese women with weak abdominal muscles.
2. Umbilical hernia Repair