Umbilical hernia is a medical condition that tends to occur when fatty tissue or a part of the intestines tend to protrude out in the area around the navel via an opening that may have developed in the abdominal muscles. Although this condition is known to be more common in infants, there are also some cases of Umbilical hernia
reported in adults. Umbilical hernia is more common in case of premature babies. Typically Umbilical hernia is physically visible in infants when they cry because the crying action tends to make the belly button of the infant protrude. When the baby is growing in the uterus, within the mother's womb, the umbilical cord tends to pass via an opening in the wall of the abdomen.
In normal circumstances, this opening in the abdominal wall should shut on its own just before the baby is born or immediately after. But an Umbilical hernia occurs when the muscles of the abdominal wall do not seal off completely and thereby result in the development of a weak spot through which the Umbilical hernia may develop. Along with when the baby is crying, the umbilical hernia is also more visible when the baby is coughing, heaving or even laughing. Alternatively, the Umbilical hernia lump may shrink when the baby is relaxed or lying down.
Typically, most cases of umbilical hernia tend to heal on their own by the time the child is one year old, however if the Umbilical hernia has not disappeared by then and is still visible till the age of 4, surgery may be required to correct the same.
In the case of adults, an Umbilical hernia may develop if the individual is regularly lifting heavy objects, is overweight or has a persistent cough. Similarly women who have had multiple pregnancies are also at a higher risk of developing Umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernia is known to be more common in women as compared to men. However with regards to infants, the risk of umbilical hernia would be the same for both girls and boys.
An umbilical hernia is otherwise known to be fairly common, painless and harmless.
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