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by Scholten A
(Hernia, Umbilical)

Definition

An umbilical hernia is soft tissue that has pushed through the belly button. It is common in newborns.

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Causes

A hernia is caused by a weakness in the belly wall. The muscles of the baby’s belly do not close tightly around the belly button. This causes soft tissue to poke out through the opening.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in Black babies. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Being born too early
  • Low birth weight

Symptoms

This problem does not cause symptoms often. A bulge may be seen around the belly button. This may happen when the baby cries, coughs, or passes stool.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about the baby's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will make the diagnosis based on the exam.

Treatment

Most hernias will close on their own within the first 5 years of life.

Sometimes a hernia does not close. Surgery will be done to put the tissue back into place. Surgery may also be needed for hernias that are causing problems, such as blocking the intestine or blood flow. These will need surgery right away.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent an umbilical hernia.

RESOURCES

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.familydoctor.org 

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics  http://www.healthychildren.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Association of General Surgeons  http://www.cags-accg.ca 

Health Canada  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca 

References

Pediatric umbilical hernia repair. American College of Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/pediatricumbilical.ashx. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Umbilical cord care. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthychildren.org website. Available at: https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Umbilical-Cord-Care.aspx. Accessed December 15, 2020.

Umbilical hernia in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115363/Umbilical-hernia-in-infants-and-children. Accessed December 15, 2020.

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