Ques­tions Anas­nwders


Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier [First 100 days] -


This “sticky out” belly but­ton is called an um­bil­i­cal her­nia. The um­bili­cus is the belly but­ton and a her­nia refers to the piece that sticks out. This ap­pears in the area through which the um­bil­i­cal cord runs (down the cen­tre of the ab­domen) and where the mus­cles of the tummy at­tach to this strong ten­don. Some­times this hole takes a long time to close and de­pend­ing on the size of the hole the her­nia can take as long as four years to close com­pletely. As a child’s tummy mus­cles de­velop and the linea alba (the line run­ning down the cen­tre of the ab­domen) gets more pro­nounced, the hole closes. The tummy mus­cles get stronger once a child learns to sit, roll, stand and walk and this causes the linea alba to tighten and the hole to close.

The bit that sticks out is usu­ally due to in­creased pres­sure that trans­mits through the hole from in­side the ab­domen. So when the child is calm and not cry­ing the her­nia will be flat but will be pushed out when the child is cry­ing. The her­nia hardly ever causes any prob­lems and def­i­nitely doesn’t cause colic, cramp­ing and trap­ping of air. One com­mon prac­tice is to place a coin over the her­nia and wrap a ban­dage around the tummy to pre­vent the her­nia from stick­ing out. This does not make any dif­fer­ence to the her­nia and is not some­thing I would sug­gest.

On rare oc­ca­sions the her­nia can cause a prob­lem. This hap­pens if a piece of bowel gets stuck through the hole. If this oc­curs you will no­tice that the child will be scream­ing in pain and vom­it­ing, the her­nia is very hard, red and does not dis­ap­pear when you push on it. Seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion ur­gently. Um­bil­i­cal her­nias nor­mally re­solve them­selves in the first two years. If this doesn’t hap­pen, a sim­ple sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure re­solves it.

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