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Dr Mufique Gajdhar, MS, M.CH, FACS


A hernia occurs when a section of the intestine pushes through a weak area in the abdominal muscles. A soft lump or bulging under the skin is caused by a hernia.

A hernia in a child commonly occurs in one of these two locations: the groin area. An inguinal hernia is the medical term for this condition. Around the navel area. An umbilical hernia is the medical term for this condition.

What causes hernia in a child?

In the first few months of life, a baby can acquire a hernia. This occurs due to a weakening in the abdominal muscles. The causes of inguinal and umbilical hernias are slightly different.

All newborns have a region called the inguinal canal throughout pregnancy. From the abdomen to the genitals, this runs. This canal allows the testicles to travel from the abdomen to the scrotum, or testicular sac, in boys. The inguinal canal of a baby normally shuts shortly before or after birth. However, the canal does not always close completely. Then, through the weak place in the abdominal wall, a loop of intestine might travel into the inguinal canal. An inguinal hernia is the result of this. Most inguinal hernias occur in boys. As an unborn baby develops during pregnancy, there is a small opening in the abdominal muscles. After birth, this opening closes. But sometimes, these muscles don’t fully close. A small opening is left. A loop of intestine can then move into the opening between the belly muscles. This causes an umbilical hernia.

Which children are at risk for a hernia?

Hernias happen more often in children who have 1 or more of the following risk factors:

Being born early or premature

Having a parent or sibling who had a hernia as an infant

Having cystic fibrosis

Having developmental dysplasia of the hip, a condition that is present at birth

Being a boy with undescended testes. This means the testicles didn’t move into the scrotum before birth.

Having problems with urinary or reproductive organs

Inguinal hernias

This type of hernia happens more often in children:

Who have a family history of inguinal hernias

Who have other urinary or reproductive problems

This type of hernia happens more often in the right groin area than in the left. But it can occur on either side.

Umbilical hernias

This type of hernia happens more often in:

African American children

Babies who were born premature

What are the symptoms of a hernia in a child?

Hernias are very common in newborns. However, a hernia may not be seen for several weeks or months after birth.

A bulge or swelling in the groin or scrotum indicates an inguinal hernia.

A protrusion or swelling in the bellybutton area indicates an umbilical hernia.

When your infant screams, coughs, or strains to have a bowel movement, the swelling may be more visible in both circumstances. When your baby relaxes, it may get smaller or disappear. When your child’s healthcare practitioner gently presses on the lump when the child is quiet and lying down, it usually shrinks. It could even return to the stomach.

The hernia can’t always be pulled back into the belly. The intestinal loop may then become caught in a weak region in the abdominal muscle. Symptoms that may occur as a result of this include:

A full, round belly, Belly pain and soreness, Vomiting, Fussiness

Redness or discoloration near the hernia, Fever.

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Dr. Mufique Gajdhar is a Pediatric and Neonatal Surgeon with 21 years of experience in healthcare. He is double board-certified in General and Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Mufique is the Head of the Division and Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery.

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