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Umbilical Hernia: Its Complications and Treatment

Umbilical hernia is a health problem in which the umbilical cord does not close automatically after birth and thus, through this weakened areas, the intestine bulges out and gives rise to hernia. It is the connection between mother and child during the gestation period and acts as a bridge to deliver nourishment to the baby. Ideally, this cord should close by its own soon after birth. And when it does not, umbilical hernia occurs.

The presence of an umbilical hernia can be diagnosed visually by the presence of a swelling or bulge near the belly button. It becomes much clearer to diagnose while crying or laughing. However, it becomes difficult to distinguish when the baby sleeps or lies on his back.

When surgery becomes inevitable?

For most of the infants, no medical assistance need to correct it. It automatically resolves by the time the child become 2-3 years. But if it still remains intact up to four years of age, or comes in notice with growth of the baby, then opting for laparoscopic hernia operation remains the only way to get rid of it. Consulting a doctor is recommended, without waiting for self-recovery, if the baby shows signs of discomfort such as,

  • Baby appears to be in pain

  • The protrusion becomes either discolored or reddened

  • The baby starts to vomit frequently

The same recommendation applies to adults as well. Moreover, unlike infants, the hernia does not self-recover in case of adults, which make laparoscopic hernia operation inevitable. Umbilical hernia should be fixed as soon as possible for adults. After all, with timely diagnosis and treatment, unwanted complications can be prevented.

What complication can arises in umbilical hernia

There are two major complications associated with umbilical hernia, which are:

1. Obstruction– It occurs when a portion of bowel stucks outside the abdomen, and it induces persistent pain along with nausea and vomiting.

2. Strangulation– It occurs when a portion of either bowel or intestine gets stuck out of abdomen and its blood supply gets cut off. It must be operated quickly, to release and restore it. Failing to do so can result in incarceration of the tissue, which can further result in infection.

The hernia can be restored with the help of surgery, but there remains a chance of its recurrence, so nowadays, a mesh is inserted beneath the weak spot to prevent it.

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