Umbilical hernia occurs when the abdominal content protrudes beneath the skin through the umbilical hole.
The umbilical hole, or the umbilicus is the healed scar situated in the lower abdominal area. Through it the umbilical cord enters the body while the child is still inside his mother, and through the cord vital substances are passed to the fetus.
After birth the umbilical cord is cut off and the small opening that remains should quickly close in. But, in some cases it does not close as it should, so a small ‘crack’ remains open. In these cases a part of the abdominal content, the intestines usually, pokes through this opening. The bulge that is created is more visible when the child coughs, sneezes, or cries.
Umbilical hernia is not surgically repaired in the small children’s case because usually until the child reaches the age of 3 the hernia shrinks and heals by itself. Some mothers try to increase the speed of the healing by tapping a coin to the bulge and forcing it to stay there and push it back, but this method is not medically tested or recommended.
However, in some special cases umbilical hernia does require surgical intervention. This happens if it did not heal by itself after the child turned 3 or 4 years old, or if the hernia strangulates the tissue that pushes out, cutting its blood supply. If this happens surgical intervention should be done as quick as possible.
Umbilical hernia surgery succeeds in 99.99% cases, especially if the doctor’s indications about the short recovery period that comes after the surgery are carefully followed .
Overall this illness is not dangerous at all in most cases so there aren’t any reasons to worry because it will most likely push back on its own. But if you suspect any complications visit a doctor as soon as you can.