What is an Umbilical Hernia: Diagnosis, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

If you have recently delivered a newborn bundle of joy, then you are probably ecstatic with your wee one. However, while examining every inch of the tiny body you notice a bulge after the umbilical cord falls off, and the site heals. You make an urgent appointment with your pediatrician only to learn that your baby has a belly button hernia. Take a few deep breaths and calm down because the condition is common in newborns. Especially infants who were pre-term births. If your babe weighed only 1.5 kilograms (kg) or less than he stands a fifty percent chance of developing the stomach bulge. The tummy muscles of the preemie might be ill-formed and unable to successfully squeeze together to form a solid abdominal wall so no protrusion occurs.

Wondering What is an Umbilical Hernia?

As mentioned above the condition frequently arises in babies, but it can also occur in adults. Especially if you are packing unwanted pounds. Obesity is a leading cause of an umbilical hernia in adults. If you are wondering what is an umbilical hernia, well it is a weakness in the naval area that allows the tissue and organs to pop out through the abdominal muscles.

There is usually pain or pressure at the site of the umbilicus protrusion. If you are wondering what pain feels like, then think of it as a constant strain or pressure pushing outward, especially when you bend or lift items. If you are wondering what it looks like, well it is just a soft, almost fat-like bump that is pushing out of your belly button. The sizes differ. If you press on it, then it feels fatty, but the fat can be fluid, fat, peritoneum, or organs pressing outward.

What are the Causes of an Umbilical Hernia

You have acquired a firm diagnosis; you are probably seeking answers. The first thing you want to know is what causes an umbilical hernia?

Infants: During development in the womb, the fetus forms abdominal muscles. Within the midst of those muscles remains an opening what allows the umbilical cord passage. The cord is the magical union between the pregnant mother and her unborn infant. Through the cord passes nutrients and blood. At the time of birth, the opening stars to close. However, if a part of the bowel or fat gets stuck in the hole, then it cannot successfully close. Once the umbilical cord dries and falls away, you might notice a bulge in the baby’s belly button. Sometimes, the muscles do not align properly during growth and hernia forms.

Adults: Pressure on the abdominal wall from fat or weakened muscle cause a hole to develop in the naval which forms the hernia. The gut protrudes outward.

Adult causes include:

  • Ascites
  • Coughing
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Prolonged constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Weight lifting
  • Birth
  • Straining

What are Umbilical Hernia Symptoms?

Your sweet little bambino might not even show any signs that anything is amiss. With infants, umbilical hernia symptoms are frequently silent. If your practitioner presses on the bulge the baby might scream, fuss, or cry in discomfort.

Umbilical hernia symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Discoloration

A strangulated hernia also referred to technically as an incarcerated umbilical hernia can become a life-threatening situation and requires immediate surgery. Let go, gangrene (necrosis) manifests and sepsis spreads.

Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Full, distended abdomen
  • Red, blue, lavender, or purple discoloration that turns black
  • Malaise
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty standing upright
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting

Types of Umbilical Hernia Treatment

Treatment without surgery is viable for children. Pediatric surgeons usually wait until a baby reaches one-year-old before performing surgery because the hernia often closes before the baby’s birthday. Virtually every early childhood hernia closes by the time the tot hits five. When exploring umbilical hernia treatment plans, if the hernia grows larger or becomes strangulated then surgery is of utmost importance.

They perform the surgery under general anesthesia. They make an incision in the umbilicus. The intestines are gently pushed back into the cavity and the incision is then closed. With adults, a mesh material made out of a biological substance or polymer is usually sewn to reinforce the area and add strength as the muscles heal. Following surgery, the physician will place a compression bandage on the site for four to five days. Prior to treatment you can use a truss to offer support and relieve discomfort. Keyhole surgery is also an option for smaller hernias. A laparoscopic procedure requires tiny incisions.

Unlike other hernias, once the umbilical hernia is closed it rarely returns. They consider the treatment a success. Laparoscopic surgery leaves very tiny scars that are barely noticeable which is preferable for children.

Risk Factors

Those at risk of an umbilical hernia include:

  • Infants (especially premature preemies)
  • Obesity
  • Coughing from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Heavy lifting
  • Weight training
  • Multiple pregnancies

Understanding the ICD 10 Code for Umbilical Hernia

All clinics and hospitals bill either you or the insurance. On the bill, they enter the ICD Code for an umbilical hernia. A hernia without gangrene is ICD-10-CM K42.9.

Wondering What Doctors Treat Hernia Problems?

Your primary care physician or pediatrician might diagnose the initial umbilical hernia, but a gastroenterologist is a specialist in gastrointestinal situations. You can also seek homeopathic treatment with a naturopathic healer.




Article References:

  1. https://global.ihi.com/Alarm+Service/Health+fact+sheets/Umbilical+hernia+repair+in+adults.aspx
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hernias/umbilical-hernia
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/189580.php
  4. https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/K00-K95/K40-K46/K42-/K42.9
  5. https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/u/umbilical-hernia