An abdominal hernia is soft tissue that has pushed through the abdominal wall. An umbilical hernia is an abdominal hernia through the belly button. They are common in newborns.
Most umbilical hernias will not need treatment. Some will require surgery. Immediate medical attention is rarely required.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes from the mother to the baby through a small opening in the baby’s abdomen. A weakness in the abdomen occurs when the muscles of the baby’s abdomen do not completely close after birth. The weakness can cause abdominal tissue to push through the belly button.
Umbilical hernias in infants are more common in African American infants. Risk factors for any infant include:
- Premature birth
- Birth weight under 3.5 pounds (1,500 grams)
There are usually no symptoms associated with an umbilical hernia.
You will be asked about your baby's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
An umbilical hernia can be diagnosed by a physical exam.
In most infants, an umbilical hernia will go away on its own as the baby develops. This is usually within the first few years of life.
Persistent small hernias that do not cause symptoms may not need treatment. You and your doctor will watch the hernia to make sure new problems do not develop.
Large hernias or those causing symptoms will require additional care. For example:
- Rarely, a loop of intestine becomes trapped in the abdominal wall. This may lead to a blockage of the intestine.
- Strangulation can also occur if the hernia is slowing or blocking blood flow. A strangulated hernia is a medical emergency.
These conditions may require surgery to place dislocated tissue back in place and close damaged wall.
There are no current guidelines to prevent an umbilical hernia.
- Kari Kassir, MD
- Reviewed: 06/2016
- Updated: 06/24/2013
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.