Causes and Ways to Fix a Herniated Belly Button or Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernia is manifested in the form of a herniation of internal abdominal content through the naval or the belly button. Though complications like obstruction and strangulation of the abdominal contents is rare. Umbilical hernia is larger in size compared to inguinal hernia which makes it less prone to strangulation or obstruction.

What Causes a Herniated Belly Button?

There are two basic types of umbilical hernia or herniated belly buttons. Congenital umbilical hernia is more common in African children and is relatively larger in size compared to inguinal hernia. This malformation is attributed to problems during fetal development. Under normal conditions, the abdominal organs develop outside the abdomen and return into the abdomen through the opening which later becomes the umbilicus. However malfunctions in this process may result in abdominal hernia in children.

Acquired umbilical hernia or herniated belly button is attributed to factors that may result increase in the intra-abdominal pressure. Some of the common causes associated with acquired umbilical hernia in adults include,

  • Obesity
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • A long history of coughing which in turn may increase abdominal pressure and cause herniated belly button
  • Multiple pregnancies also increase the risk of umbilical hernia in adults

How to Fix Herniated Belly Button

Surgical intervention is required to fix herniated belly button, however epidemiological studies have shown that depending upon the size of the hernia, it can resolve within three years on its own.

Estimates say that about 90% of smaller umbilical hernias tend to resolve within three years.

Surgical intervention is not required in umbilical hernias that are reducible and don’t increase in size. Though in some communities in Africa, women tends to use bandages or coins to push back the palpable bulge associated with the hernia, this is not evidence based and can at times increase the risk of trapping a segement of the bowel, which in turn may result in ischemia.

Two surgical options are available which include stitching the walls of the abdomen or by placing a mesh over the opening of the abdominal wall and stitching it across. The second option is stronger and has fewer incidence of recurrence.

Herniated Belly Button

Complications of a herniated belly button are limited, especially since this type of hernia is fairly larger in size compared to inguinal hernia. The size of the hernia is inversely proportional to the risk of obstruction and strangulation, as a narrow base is more likely to cause strangulation. In adults it needs to be differentiated from the paraumbilical hernia which is caused due to a defect in the midline and not associated with defect in the abdominal wall.

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