Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Umbilical hernia

1-minute read

An umbilical hernia is a soft lump under the skin at or around the belly button. They usually occur in babies and small children, and often disappear as the child gets older. In older children or adults, an operation may be required.

What is an umbilical hernia?

A hernia occurs when one part of the body protrudes through an abnormal opening in another part, and gets into a space where it doesn’t normally sit.

An umbilical hernia occurs when the muscles around the belly button are weak or have a gap in them, and a small part of the gut or other tissue pushes through. It then forms a soft lump under the skin.

Umbilical hernias are common in babies. Adults can get them, too.

Most people with an umbilical hernia have no pain or discomfort.

What to do about an umbilical hernia?

If you think you or your child might have an umbilical hernia, see your doctor.

Most umbilical hernias in children go away by themselves as the muscles around the belly button get stronger.

If it hasn’t gone away by the time the child is 3, they might need surgery. Adults usually need surgery.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Hernia - Umbilical | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

An Umbilical hernia is an abnormal bulge that can be seen or felt at the umbilicus (belly button)

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Umbilical care and umbilical hernia

After the cord is cut at birth, your baby will be left with a short stump of cord attached to the umbilicus.(Other words for umbilicus are navel, tummy button orbelly button.)

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Hernia information | myVMC

Hernias occur when an organ or structure passes through an abnormal opening and ends up in the wrong place. Abdominal hernias are the most common type.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Testes (testicles)

The testes (or balls)are formed in the abdomen (belly) while the baby is in the womb and they normally descend (move down) into the scrotum towards the end of pregnancy.Sometimes one or both testes do not descend at birth or over the next few months.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Umbilical and baby belly button care | Raising Children Network

The baby belly button is whats left of the umbilical cord after birth. Our essential guide explains how to care for your newborns umbilical stump.

Read more on Raising Children Network website

Williams Syndrome

Williams syndrome is a rare genetic disorder. Williams syndrome is characterised by distinctive physical features and behaviours, including a distinctive facial appearance, mild intellectual disability and an overly sociable personality.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - About babies

Having a baby changes your life. There is a new little person to get to know, love and care for. New mums and dads may not have had a lot to do with babies until their first comes along and can have strong feelings they were not expecting.

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo