Umbilical hernia is an uncommon occurrence where the umbilical opening in the stomach through which the person received food from his or her mother does not close and the intestines and other tissues in the stomach push their way out through this opening. The hole usually closes soon after birth but if it does not close on its own then it requires treatment. This ailment is more common among children than among adults.
Causes for the ailment
The person afflicted by this condition does not feel any discomfort or pain of any kind. The occurrence is explained as the excessive pressure put on one weak spot, the umbilicus. The reason for such a happening is most likely to be due to one of the following.
- Had twins and triplets
- Being overweight
- Underwent some surgery of the stomach
- Frequent pregnancies
- Suffering from persistent cough
- Fluid retention in abdominal cavity
Symptoms of abdominal hernia
You can notice the condition in your baby when he or she is doing some physical activity like laughing or crying. Another instance you can see the noticeable bulge in its navel area is when it is trying to pass motion. This swelling near the belly button is not present when it is relaxed. Adults too may develop this ailment. The bulge may manifest with or without pain. They need treatment to become relieved. Serious conditions would include these.
- Baby is vomiting
- Baby is in pain
- The swelling in the stomach of the baby or adult is discoloured
Complications from this ailment
The physician examining this ailment will investigate the possibility of reducing it by pushing the hernia back into the abdominal cavity. However, there may be an instance where the umbilical cord is incarcerated or blocked. Blood flow may be hampered and the possibility of infection too increases.
The trapped tissue may die resulting in an infection known as gangrene. This infection is dangerous and must be treated immediately. Sometimes, the tissue projecting out through the hole may strangulate the intestine. The symptoms of blocked or strangulated umbilical hernia in adults are as given below.
- Tenderness in the abdomen
- Bulging shape of abdomen
- Severe pain in the abdomen
- Discoloration or redness
Corrections to alleviate symptoms
Testing is done through X-ray photography to determine the exact nature of the hernia. The physician will adopt surgery as a last recourse. Before that he or she will study methods of controlling it through medication, diet and exercise therapy. However, once one of the following symptoms is shown, and then surgery will be decided upon.
- Pain becomes unbearable
- Does not disappear when the child is 3 or 4 year old
- The swelling becomes bigger than one-and-a-half inches in size
- Blocks the intestines
- Does not shrink in size
The procedure is simple. The surgeon will cut the stomach portion near the belly button. Then the intestine is pushed back inside. For adults, a mesh may be used to help give strength to the stomach muscles. The entire surgery will last for an hour. The incision will be stitched up and surgical tape is applied. This tape will normally peel off on its own.
Beware of side-effects
While side effects from the surgery are relatively rare, there may be instances when complications are present. Check for the following signs and contact your doctor if you notice any of them. The usual things to watch out for are:
- Numbness of the legs
- Hernia recurs
- Infection at the site of operation
The usual prognosis for normal hernias is quite good. The child can return home within hours of undergoing surgery. He or she must not indulge in heavy physical activity for three weeks. The hernia will close completely and the chances of it recurring are negligible.