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What is an umbilical hernia?

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Quick Answer

An umbilical hernia is a condition in which part of the intestines pushes through a hole in the abdominal muscles to form a bulge at the belly button or just above it, explains the Mayo Clinic. Umbilical hernias are more common in babies than in adults.

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What is an umbilical hernia?
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Full Answer

Most umbilical hernias that appear in babies go away by the time the child reaches 18 months of age, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most infant cases, umbilical hernias are painless for the baby. A hernia may only be noticeable when the child cries or coughs, or it may be visible all the time. Pressing or taping down a hernia does not make it go away and can cause other complications, so these types of home remedies should be avoided.

Umbilical hernias that appear in adults or that don't disappear by age 3 or 4 may require surgery, states MedlinePlus. Painful hernias and excessively large hernias might indicate a need for surgery. The big danger with hernias in the abdominal region is the possibility that a section of intestines might get stuck between the abdominal muscles, and the blood supply may become obstructed. If this occurs, emergency surgery may be warranted. During surgery for an umbilical hernia, the doctor pushes the intestines back into the abdomen and seals the hole so the condition cannot recur.

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