An umbilical hernia occurs when a portion or loop of intestine
enters the muscles around the navel (belly button) and causes the
navel to protrude or stick out. This happens most often because the
muscle is weak or not fully developed. Risk factors include
prematurity in infants and, in adults, obesity, lifting heavy
objects and pregnancy. Family history also increases the risk.
Symptoms may include:
• A soft tissue protrusion from the naval, ranging in size from ½
inch to 2 inches
• Bulging of hernia when crying, coughing, during bowel movements,
or other straining
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Diagnose the condition by asking about your symptoms and
performing a physical exam.
• In an adult, using an abdominal binder (a supportive garment).
This cannot prevent hernias but can help strengthen the umbilical
• In an infant, no treatment is usually necessary. If the hernia
does not repair itself by 5 years of age or any complications
develop due to the hernia, surgery may be necessary.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:
• Most umbilical hernias repair themselves by age 2 or 3 without
treatment. Almost all repair themselves by age 5 without treatment.
• Complications are rare but can include intestinal obstruction or
strangulation. This must be treated with surgery immediately.
Infection can occur and, in late stages, fever and vomiting may be
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
If nausea and vomiting occur, you suspect an infection has
developed, or if severe pain is present.