An umbilical hernia is a bulge produced by a part of your abdomen lining, intestine, or fat from underneath the abdominal wall pushing through the connective tissue layers at the umbilicus (belly button). Umbilical hernias are a common medical condition affecting individuals of all ages. While they are typically not life-threatening, they can cause discomfort and, in severe cases, complications. If you suspect you have an umbilical hernia or are experiencing symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and to discuss the most appropriate treatment options based on your circumstances. Early intervention and medical guidance can help prevent potential complications and ensure a smoother recovery.
The main cause of an umbilical hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall, which can result from a variety of factors, including a congenital (born with) weak abdominal wall, pregnancy, or obesity, which both increase pressure inside the abdomen, heavy lifting, or a chronic cough.
An umbilical hernia will present as a bulge or swelling at the belly button. The hernia may only be visible when coughing or straining.
Complications can occur when the tissue protruding through the abdominal wall becomes trapped or strangulated. In this instance, symptoms may include pain, discomfort, swelling and redness of the skin or nausea and vomiting. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
Most of the time, an umbilical hernia is diagnosed with a physical examination. Scans, including CT or ultrasound, are used when further information is required.