YOUR BURNING ISSUES – SORTED
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.