Umbilical hernias

What is an umbilical hernia?

An umbilical hernia appears as a painless lump in or near the belly button that may get bigger when you laugh, cough or strain to pass a stool. It may shrink when you are relaxed or lying down. Umbilical hernias are very common in infants and young children. In many of these cases, the umbilical hernia goes back in, and the muscles reseal before the child's first birthday.

Umbilical hernias can develop in adults, in which case the hernia will probably get worse over time if not treated. Common factors contributing to the development of an umbilical hernia include:

What are the symptoms of an umbilical hernia?

In infants, umbilical hernias may only be visible when an infant is laughing or straining to use the bathroom. Symptoms may not be present when the infant is relaxed and most umbilical hernias are painless in infants and does not need treatment as discussed earlier.

In adults, umbilical hernias may cause discomfort and be very painful if the hernia is large. It is essential that you seek medical attention if:

How are umbilical hernias treated?

Umbilical hernias in children often resolve without treatment. In adults, most umbilical hernias will need to be repaired.

During the surgical procedure, Dr Cooper will make a small incision above the belly button to repair the hernia. A small piece of mesh is sutured in place to lessen the chances a hernia recurring. The muscle layers are then closed over the mesh to further fortify your abdominal wall. The surgeon will then stitch close the skin wound and dress it. You may remove the dressing after 5-7 days.