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Daniel asked...

My 8 week old boy has an umbilical hernia...

My 8 week old boy has an umbilical hernia, I understand the procedure will need a scan and possible surgery after 12 month, in the mean time what can i do to prevent anything damaging his belly button i.e can I cover it with anything to stop it popping out obviously I've seen a doctor who's started the right moves for his scan but I've heard different opinions on it so would like a medical view too. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

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The answer

Thank you for your question.

An Umbilical hernia is a small lump which appears in the belly button/abdominal area of the tummy. It may vary in size, and develop due to the muscle wall not being fully developed. This small gap in the muscles is formed when a weakness is present, therefore is visible as a protruding bulge. It is very common in babies and small children.

Most hernias sort themselves out, as a child’s muscles in this area can strengthen as they grow older, hence why your child will be reassessed at a later date, as surgery is not always necessary.

The main concerns with hernias of this nature, is that they can become strangulated. This means that a small part of their bowel could become trapped and squeezed. Signs of this happening may include;

  • The lump becoming hard and does not go down or become soft when your baby stops crying.
  • The area becomes painful when the lump is touched.
  • Your baby starts vomiting and is generally unwell.

If any of the above symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

It would not be recommended to push the hernia back yourself as you may injure your baby. It would be a good idea to monitor their bowel actions and ensure plenty of fluids to try and prevent constipation which may cause further issues with your child’s hernia.

We hope this has been of assistance to you. We have attached a link for some further reading if you wish to read further on the subject.


Answered by the Health at Hand nurses