Is an umbilical hernia dangerous? How does it form and how can it be treated?

23 October 2023
A woman suffering from an umbilical hernia. En Source: VistaCreate

A small bulge in the umbilical region accompanied by discomfort or pain – these can be symptoms of an umbilical hernia. How does an umbilical hernia develop? Is it dangerous and how can it be cured?

What is and what does an umbilical hernia look like?

The name of this condition is not coincidental. An umbilical hernia arises in the umbilical region and is a type of ventral hernia. The condition is said to occur when abdominal organs are displaced beyond their normal position. The displacement most often involves the intestines or fragments of the peritoneum.

The most characteristic symptom of an umbilical hernia is the appearance of a bulge in the umbilical region. The condition can occur in people of any age range, but most commonly affects newborns and pregnant women.

Umbilical hernia – additional symptoms:

  • A feeling of discomfort in the navel area.
  • Pain in and around the navel.

Do you notice any of these symptoms in yourself? Make an appointment for a medical consultation. In the first instance, you can visit your general practitioner or internist. You can also make an appointment to see a specialist – a surgeon – straight away.

Keep in mind that an umbilical hernia can become incarcerated – a health and even life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical intervention.

What could be the symptoms of an incarcerated hernia?

  • The bulge in the umbilical region becomes reddened and is very painful.
  • Vomiting and fever may occur.
  • There may also be a problem with passing gas and having a bowel movement.

How and why does an umbilical hernia develop?

An umbilical hernia is nothing more than abdominal organs or fragments of organs that have moved through the abdominal shell and can be felt under the skin. The reasons for an umbilical hernia can vary depending on whether we are talking about a hernia in children or in adults.

An umbilical hernia in a child, especially a newborn, can be caused by developmental defects. Most often, the condition resolves spontaneously after several months when the abdominal compression muscles have strengthened. An umbilical hernia in adults, on the other hand, most often occurs as a result of a weakening of the abdominal walls, but also due to an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity. It is a common ailment of pregnant women – in this case, the cause of the condition is the pressure of the developing foetus on the abdominal shell.

What factors favour the appearance of an umbilical hernia?

  • Pregnancy and the associated fetal pressure on the abdominal shell.
  • Overweight and obesity, which are often associated with poorer physical condition and with an increase in abdominal pressure during daily activities.
  • High physical exertion, especially lifting heavy objects.
  • Frequent constipation and chronic cough.

Is an umbilical hernia dangerous?

Any type of hernia can be mild or difficult – it all depends on the severity of the symptoms, as well as whether the hernia becomes incarcerated, which is a life and health-threatening condition! Therefore, this condition should not be underestimated – in many cases it requires surgical treatment. Only in small children can an umbilical hernia heal spontaneously.

Umbilical hernia – treatment

The decision to treat an umbilical hernia usually depends on the age of the patient or patient. In young children, it is rare to perform surgery for this reason – as the hernia often regresses when the abdominal muscles are strengthened.

In adult patients whose umbilical hernia does not give strong symptoms, it is possible to leave it under observation or implement surgical treatment. If the hernia grows, gives strong symptoms or there is a high risk of incarceration, surgery is recommended and this applies to both adult patients and children.

What treatment for an umbilical hernia?

  • Tension-free surgery – this is usually performed using a specialised mesh that is attached to the abdominal wall. This technique minimises the risk of umbilical hernia recurrence.
  • Robotic surgery – a modern and precise surgical method that is less invasive than traditional surgical techniques. Only small incisions are made in the abdominal skin during the procedure, which promotes faster recovery.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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