There is a natural weakness in the abdominal (stomach) wall behind the navel (tummy button) caused by the way babies develop in the womb. If the contents of the abdomen push through, this produces a lump called a hernia.
An umbilical hernia appears directly at the navel. A paraumbilical hernia in the area around the navel. Your surgeon will be able to tell you what type of hernia you have.
A hernia can be dangerous because the intestines, (bowel) or other structures within the abdomen can get trapped and have their blood supply cut off (strangulated hernia).
Umbilical hernias in children
Umbilical hernias are often seen in newborn babies or younger children. In many cases these hernias close on their own as the child grows. Your GP will be able to advise you regarding treatment for your child’s umbilical hernia.
Umbilical hernias in adults
Adults usually present with paraumbilical hernias. These are common in women following childbirth or in overweight patients. Sometimes paraumbilical hernias appear as a lump with no pain or discomfort associated. However hernias can be very painful. Adult hernias do not close on their own and will require surgery.
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Many hernias won’t cause immediate pain or problems, but they can present a real risk if left untreated. Here’s how to spot a hernia and what to do next.