Babies can be born with hernias. And trust me, they’re not lifting heavy furniture in the womb. A hernia occurs when a part of an organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot in the muscle wall and protrudes outward. The most serious kind is a strangulated hernia. This is when the blood supply is cut off from the protruding tissue, which becomes discolored or black and extremely painful. This is an emergency situation! Surgery is required immediately to free the tissue so that oxygen-containing blood can get to it again.
Intermittent hernias, those that come and go, are much more common. If you see a little bulge of any kind in the groin area (called an inguinal hernia) or the belly-button area (called an umbilical hernia) that wasn’t there the last time you looked, take a photo of it and bring the picture to the doctor’s office since these intermittent hernias may not be visible during an exam. (You may also be able to e‑mail a digital photo to your doctor’s office.)
Umbilical hernias often don’t require treatment. Most close by age one without any intervention, and nearly all close by age five. Still, doctors will often suggest surgery if the hernia gets bigger as your child grows or is present after age three. And inguinal hernias can be easily pushed back in with minor surgery—the procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis, though infants may be kept overnight. Most kids who have surgery feel good within a week.
From The Smart Parent's Guide: Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents by Jennifer Trachtenberg.
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