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Hernia In Babies: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Knowing hernia symptoms can help you diagnose it early before it is too late. Do not let hernia affect your little one’s life. Fight the disease; be aware of different hernias in babies. Has your baby been diagnosed with a hernia? Are you worried about his treatment? If yes, then this blog is a must read for you to know what a hernia is, its symptoms, types, and treatment. 



Hernia in babies: What is hernia? 

A soft lump that’s seen under the baby’s skin is called hernia. It occurs when an organ inside the body protrudes through an incomplete closure or weakness in another part of the body. Hernias can happen in the groin, the abdomen, and the diaphragm. A hernia can be present at birth, or appear later in the first few months after a baby is born, later in childhood or adulthood. There are many types of hernias, but the two most common hernia in babies are umbilical hernia which is found around the naval region and inguinal hernia which occur in the genital region. Both types of hernia in babies require different type of care.

Types of hernia in babies

There are 2 types of hernia in babies, they are:

Inguinal hernia

A hernia that develops in the groin area which involves the intestine or bladder pushing through an opening, creates a visible lump is known as an inguinal hernia. During gestation, boys’ testicles develop inside the abdomen and then move down into the scrotum through an opening known as inguinal canal. Usually, the canal closes by birth, if it does not closes completely, a loop of the intestine may move through the inguinal canal leading to an inguinal hernia. Mostly it occurs in the right groin but can occur on both sides as well. In girls, the problem occurs in the large fold of the skin around the vagina. Premature babies are more prone to an inguinal hernia. 

Umbilical hernia

This type of hernia occurs around the belly button during the first few weeks or months of a baby’s life. When a part of the intestine protrudes through an opening of belly button, umbilical hernia occurs. These are more common than inguinal one and often closes before the child’s first birthday. If it does not close on its own, a surgery is required to remove it. This is harmless and becomes more visible when your baby cries or strains due to the air pressure from inside the abdomen. An umbilical hernia is more common among African – American children especially girls. 

Symptoms of hernia in babies

• If a bulge appears under your baby’s skin when he cries, coughs or strains, he is likely to have Hernia. Excess swelling may occur between the belly and inner thigh, testicles or labia (in case of girls).

• The swelling may occur only when your child cries or strains. It may reduce when he is resting.

• A bulge around the naval.

• In extreme cases, hernia may have accompanied with vomiting and pain. Your child may get constipated and irritated too. 

• The swelled area may appear red as well.

Treatment of hernias in babies

As their symptoms, both type of hernias has different treatment too. There is no way to prevent hernias in babies. Always consult your doctor if you see any symptom of hernia in your baby. You can take measures like treat your child's medical problems, prevent excessive weight gain, reduce constipation, and watch out for chronic coughs in your child to prevent hernia in the later ages of your baby.

Treatment of inguinal hernia

• Whether it is incarcerated or reducible hernia, inguinal hernia does not go away without medical intervention. Even if it seems like it has gone, the moment your baby cries, coughs or strains during bowel movements, the swelling appears again. 

• Even after pushing the hernia, your doctor may recommend a surgery within a few weeks so as to close the opening and prevent the hernia from returning.

• The doctor may ask for immediate surgical treatment if the lump formed due to hernia cannot be pushed back. This condition seems to come in emergency because tissues are trapped and do not get enough oxygen to survive.

Treatment of umbilical hernia

• Mostly umbilical hernias close on their own without surgical intervention before the baby turns 1 year of age.

• If the opening does not close by the age of 5 or if it is painful, your child may require a surgical treatment. 

• Your doctor may also suggest surgery if a hernia is bigger than 1.5 centimetres in diameter or if a swollen belly or other signs occur like blockage in the intestine.

Problems from both hernia repair to your baby are rare. Your baby’s doctor can tell you what to expect and what to watch for after the surgery. Be sure you go for all the follow-up examinations of your baby after surgery to track if it is healing properly or not.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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