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Peter asked...

I have developed an umbilical hernia.

Tags: exercise

I am a white 34 year old male. I was an ex- professional Rugby Union player, but have not played for 4 years and have 'let myself go' for want of a better phrase. August last year it appears that, best to my amateur eyes, I have developed an umbilical hernia. It is located at the top part of my belly button. I felt it push out and when it did I pushed it back in! Since then there has been 4 occasions where I have felt slight discomfort and had to push the area back in. I have felt no pain at all and even have been working out, sit ups etc, with no ill affects. What is the best course of action for myself? Having read the literature available, surgery seems the prudent action. I look forward to your advice and thank you in anticipation.

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The answer

It does sound like you have diagnosed the problem yourself correctly and have developed an umbilical hernia. They can develop in adults who are overweight or doing lots of heavy lifting such as weight training. Unfortunately they do not disappear without treatment and the only treatment option is surgery. An operation to repair the weakness in the tummy wall is considered quite routine and straightforward. It is usually done to prevent the problem getting worse and before any bowels can get trapped inside (strangulation). Your GP will be able to refer you to a general surgeon who can advise if an operation is needed in your case.

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