There are many reasons as to why an individual can develop a hernia. Typically, hernia patients are of an older age, but certain types of hernias are actually more common in infants, such as an umbilical hernia.
What is an Umbilical Hernia?
An umbilical hernia is a bulge that protrudes from the belly button, giving it an “outie” appearance.
Contrary to popular belief, the formation of an umbilical hernia has nothing to do with how the delivery doctor cut or clamped the umbilical cord. These kinds of hernias simply develop when the baby’s abdominal wall muscles do not close properly around their belly button.
How to Spot an Umbilical Hernia
Your baby may have an umbilical hernia if their belly button sticks out, particularly when they are straining during a bowel movement or are crying. The protrusion caused by the hernia will often decrease in size or disappear entirely while the infant is at rest.
How Serious is an Umbilical Hernia?
An umbilical hernia does not usually cause any pain, though it can pose serious health risks to your baby if:
The intestine is sticking outside of the belly button
Substantial fluids are leaking from the affected area
The area of the belly button becomes painful, swollen, or discolored
Most of the time, an umbilical hernia will correct itself as the child grows older and their abdominal muscles draw close together. You can expect to see these results by the time your child has reached the age of 4.
If your child’s umbilical hernia does not heal on its own, or if it exhibits emergent symptoms such as those mentioned above, then the hernia may require surgery. Surgical procedures to repair umbilical hernias in young children are very minimal and typically allow the patient to return home that same day, barring any unforeseen complications.