Umbilical hernias are commonly found in infants and children. An umbilical hernia is a bulge of intraabdominal organs through an opening in at the base of the umbilicus (belly button). This occurs when abdominal muscles fail to come together forming an opening called an umbilical ring. The size of umbilical hernias varies from child to child. Many umbilical hernias close on their own by 3 to 4 years of age.
Umbilical Hernia Treatment
It is generally recommended to wait for an umbilical hernia to close on its own. This occurs as the child grows and the abdominal muscles strengthen, closing the hernia off naturally. This usually happens by the age of 3 or 4 years, if not sooner.
Techniques such as taping or strapping a coin on the umbilicus to close the hernia are not effective and are not recommended. Surgery is not advised unless the hernia does not go away by the age of 4, becomes strangulated, or the hernia is very large and is therefore unlikely to close on it’s own. If your child requires abdominal surgery for a different reason, then the surgeon may repair the umbilical hernia during that operation.