Umbilical hernia

What is it?

This is a protrusion or a bulge of the organs inside the abdomen through the umbilical ring, which is the tissue around the naval (belly-button). It can vary in size. An umbilical hernia happens when the abdominal wall does not completely close while the baby is growing in the uterus. This is a common problem affecting 20% of all children. Babies born with low birth weights are more likely to have an umbilical hernia.

What are the symptoms?

Most children with umbilical hernias have no symptoms. The bulge becomes more prominent when the child strains or cries but usually causes no pain or discomfort to the child. Abdominal contents getting stuck in the hernia are very rare.

Seek professional help?

If your child has pain that cannot be controlled. Your child has fever. Your child has bleeding from the wound. Your child has pus draining from the wound or a large red area around the wound. Your child has not urinated for a long time

What is the treatment?

Usually, no treatment is required unless the defect persists beyond the age of 2 years. In rare cases, intestines become strangulated ie. the blood supply becomes constricted and this results in a tense, shiny swelling at the naval that will not reduce in size. The child is irritable and starts vomiting. This is an emergency situation and surgery must be performed immediately.

What are the prevention?

Care of Incision. Your child will have a dressing covering the incision. This should remain in place until the follow-up visit in 5 to 7 days. Pain Control. Your child may need pain medicines for the first few days after the surgery. Activity. Children will limit their activity if they are uncomfortable. Your child should not ride on bicycles and avoid going to school for a few days. Bathing. Do not get the wound dressing wet. Give your child sponge baths until the dressing is removed in 5 to 7 days. Diet. Your child may eat what he desires. Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids.

DoctorNDTV Team

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