Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Belly Button Bulge Overview

Another name for Belly Button Bulge is Umbilical Hernia.

What is an umbilical hernia?
A person with an umbilical hernia has a piece of intestine that protrudes through an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall, near the umbilicus. In order for an umbilical hernia to form, there must be a hole, tear or weakened area in the abdominal wall. This abnormal weakness allows the intestine to protrude through the hole or tear, and the intestine forms a bulge underneath the skin. Causes of umbilical hernia include brith defects, abdominal injuries, and abdominal surgery. About 10 percent of infants have umbilical hernias, which usually resolve within 2 years without treatment.

What are the symptoms of an umbilical hernia?
Symptoms of an umbilical hernia include a knot or bulge near the umbilicus. The size of the bulge may increase during lifting, laughing, straining, or coughing. Usually, the bulge can be pushed back into the abdomen. Symptoms of a serious umbilical hernia may include hernia pain or swelling, abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, vomiting, constipation, or fever.

How does the doctor treat an umbilical hernia?
An umbilical hernia in an infant usually resolves without treatment. In adults, an umbilical hernia is treated with surgery, which may be performed with a laparoscope, or through an incision in the abdomen.

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Last Updated: Feb 12, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Belly Button Bulge References
  1. Gill FT. Umbilical hernia, inguinal hernias, and hydroceles in children: diagnostic clues for optimal patient management. J Pediatr Health Care. 1998 Sep-Oct;12(5):231-5. [9987252]
  2. Gonzalez R, Mason E, Duncan T, Wilson R, Ramshaw BJ. Laparoscopic versus open umbilical hernia repair. JSLS. 2003 Oct-Dec;7(4):323-8. [14626398]
  3. Lau H, Patil NG. Umbilical hernia in adults. Surg Endosc. 2003 Dec;17(12):2016-20. [14574545]
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