Umbilical hernias occur when tissue ruptures through your abdominal wall near your belly button. There are many causes and symptoms of an umbilical hernia, however, regardless, when pressure is put on the abdominal wall near the belly button, an umbilical hernia can occur. Keep reading to learn more about umbilical hernias and what to do should you or your baby experience one.
Who is More At Risk for an Umbilical Hernia?
Although you can develop an umbilical hernia at any age, they are more common in babies. When a woman is pregnant, there is an umbilical cord that connects her to the baby. The umbilical cord supplies the baby with oxygen as well as nutrients for development. Once the baby is born, they are able to eat and breathe outside of the womb, more independently. The umbilical cord is no longer useful and is cut at birth, which can result in an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias occur in approximately 20% of babies.
What Causes an Umbilical Hernia?
Once the umbilical cord is cut at birth, it heals and eventually falls off. At times, the umbilical area does not close completely and can result in an umbilical hernia. In adults, Mayo Clinic discusses common causes of an umbilical hernia including pregnancy, fluid in the abdominal cavity, and peritoneal dialysis to treat failure. Other causes can include being overweight or having past abdominal surgeries.
Umbilical Hernia Symptoms
Someone with an umbilical hernia may experience symptoms like pain or discomfort in the abdominal area. Other times, the hernia is visible but there are no physical symptoms. The most common symptoms of an umbilical hernia can include:
- Bulging or swelling near the belly button area that may be discolored.
- Pain or tenderness in the area.
- In babies, an umbilical hernia may be seen when they cry and a bulge appears.
As an Adult, What Can I Do to Take Care of My Umbilical Hernia?
As explained, an umbilical hernia is more common among babies, however, adults can develop umbilical hernias at any age. If you have symptoms of an umbilical hernia, you should seek medical advice from a specialist to decide the severity and action plan to care for or treat your umbilical hernia. Here are some tips for caring for your umbilical hernia:
- Discuss your symptoms with a doctor.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid abdominal exercises.
- Eat adequate amounts of fiber daily.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
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