Facts About Hernia
A hernia is a weak spot or tear in the muscles of the abdomen. This opening allows the internal organs, fatty tissue, and bowels to protrude through the opening. A child born with a hernia may have a bulging area in the groin or abdomen that worsens with crying.
Some infants are born with an umbilical hernia. This occurs when the abdominal wall does not form properly around the belly button. This area usually closes on its own by age five. This type of hernia does not cause discomfort and usually poses no health risk for the child.
Inguinal hernias occur in the lower portion of the abdomen and appear as bulges in the groin area. These hernias are potentially dangerous, as it is easy for internal organs to become trapped and lose their blood supply. Hernias in the groin require immediate treatment by a physician.
- If the bulging contents cannot be pushed back into the abdomen with gentle pressure, or if the child develops intense pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever, consult a physician immediately.
- Any herniated area that becomes dark or red in color or excessively swollen requires medical attention as soon as possible.
- Treatment usually requires gentle pressure on the bulging organs in order to force them back into the abdominal cavity. Surgery can then close the opening in the muscle wall. Hernias can recur, especially when straining for a bowel movement, crying, coughing, or lifting objects.
- These children can live normally after surgery. They may be prone to subsequent hernias as adults and should be aware of the signs of a hernia.