Umbilical hernia: what it is, causes, symptoms, treatment and more

 Umbilical hernia: what it is, causes, symptoms, treatment and more

Lena Fisher

Although it is more common in children, umbilical hernia can also affect adults. According to the Brazilian Society of Hernias and Abdominal Wall (SBH), approximately 8% of the population will have one during their lives. In addition, it has some risk factors that require attention. Learn all about the disorder and when it becomes a sign of concern.

See also: Stomach polyps: what they are, symptoms, causes, and treatment

What is an umbilical hernia?

The body can develop several types of hernia, depending on the cause and health history. In this case, an umbilical hernia is a lump of fat, fluid, or corresponding to a piece of the intestinal loop, which protrudes out of the abdominal wall. As a result, the person has a lump in the navel, which may be apparent or only perceptible to the touch.

Causes of umbilical hernia

There are several reasons that can lead to the appearance of a hernia of this type. It is a consequence of malformation or some lesion in the abdominal wall, which causes the formation of a nodule, either of fat or of part of the intestine, which gets stuck to a tissue in the abdomen:

Congenital alterations

Malformation of the abdominal lining while still in gestation is usually responsible for hernia in babies.


You probably know the disease as "water belly", which causes excessive accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the abdomen, so that the belly becomes very swollen, which can put pressure on the abdominal tissue and lead to hernia. This disease is usually an effect of cirrhosis of the liver.

Intense physical effort

Repetitive activities that involve high weight loads can favor the problem. Also, chronic coughing falls into this category, because it continuously forces the abdominal region.

Other reasons

Pregnancy (especially twin pregnancy), abdominal surgery with incision in the navel, aging, and liver and gastrointestinal diseases.

Symptoms of Umbilical Hernia

The lump in the navel can be asymptomatic, a situation that does not disturb the life of the person, nor does it present risks in most cases. However, the hernia can enter into a very serious inflammatory process if there is strangulation or incarceration. Let us explain: in some situations, an important piece of the intestine gets too tight in the hernia tissue. Therefore, this strangulated part becomesThe signs of this complication are acute: high fever, severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, while incarceration is similar but less severe, and traps a stretch of stool. In this condition, constipation and very dry stools are more common.


In principle, the identification of a herniated navel is clinical, both in children and adults. In both, the doctor may also look at the results of abdominal ultrasound or MRI. If the individual is experiencing symptoms typical of an inflamed hernia, laboratory tests are essential to discover bacterial infections and other changes.


surgery is the only alternative to the problem, even if the hernia shows no signs of inflammation. of the options, the most current is laparoscopy, a minimally invasive method that uses cameras that facilitate the detailed visualization of the patient's interior. in it, the medical team can eliminate the hernia and suture the abdominal tissue. the post-surgery is practically painless, but requires the use ofIn addition, rest should be for at least 15 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can have an umbilical hernia?

There are individuals who are born with the hernia, but most of them disappear spontaneously after the first year of life. Others acquire the protrusion if they face diseases that exert greater pressure on the abdomen. However, there are groups and factors that contribute to the problem: women, chronic constipation, people with Down's syndrome, premature birth andpredisposition to liver diseases.

Can umbilical hernia in children be dangerous?

Most infant hernias can disappear with time and without the need for surgery. However, some rare cases can cause the complications we mentioned above. Therefore, it is worth keeping up with your pediatrician.

After all, can it be prevented?

It is possible to minimize the chances of getting a hernia through healthy habits: a balanced diet, high in fiber and hydration, and the practice of physical exercises help a lot. Although they are not a guarantee of definitive protection, lifestyle favors prevention. Finally, periodic visits to the doctor reinforce health monitoring.

Which doctors should I look for?

For children, the pediatrician is able to diagnose the protrusion; for adults, a general practitioner, gastroenterologist, or a digestive surgeon can assist in the treatment journey.

Are hernia surgeries common?

According to the Brazilian Federation of Hospitals, it is estimated that 600 thousand people undergo umbilical hernia repair surgery in Brazil. It is a very common procedure in the routine of hospitals, but it prevents complications and saves lives.

References: MSD Manuals; Brazilian Society of Hernia and Abdominal Wall (SBH); Brazilian Federation of Hospitals; and BVMS.

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.