An umbilical hernia happens when part of the patient's intestine protrudes through the umbilical opening in the abdominal wall, says Mayo Clinic. This condition is common, especially in babies. It is painless and benign in most cases.
If a baby has an umbilical hernia, the parent can tell because the belly button bulges out when the child cries, according to Mayo Clinic. The condition needs to be seen to if the baby appears to be in distress, or if the area shows signs of infection.
An umbilical hernia in an adult often causes discomfort, says Mayo Clinic. It is caused by obesity; ascites, or the retention of fluid in the abdomen; abdominal surgery; too many pregnancies or dialysis that has been administered through the person's abdominal cavity for a long time.
An umbilical hernia usually closes up by the time the child is 2 years old, says Mayo Clinic. Sometimes the physician can actually push the hernia back into the abdomen. If this doesn't work, or if the hernia appears in an adult, it may need to be surgically repaired. To do this, the doctor makes an incision at the bottom of the patient's belly button, replaces the hernia, then closes the incision with stitches. Mesh is used in some adults to support the wall of the abdomen.