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Umbilical hernia

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: April 2016

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