- An inguinal hernia: Happens shortly after delivery when the inguinal canal in the body, that is responsible for the movement of testicles from the abdomen to the scrotum, closes off. A loop of the intestine can then move into the inguinal canal through the weakened area of the lower abdominal wall, causing a hernia.
- A umbilical hernia: Happens after birth when the abdominal muscles do not meet and grow together, so as to close the small opening that is present during the pregnancy stage, through which the umbilical cord passes. A loop of intestine can move into this opening between abdominal muscles and cause a hernia.
- A strangulated hernia : a severe case of a hernia where the normal blood supply gets cut off from the trapped tissue, which finally causes death of the tissue. Immediate surgery is required to get rid of this disorder.
Common causes of developing hernia are:
- A parent or sibling who has had a hernia as an infant
- Cystic fibrosis – chronic hereditary disease that affects lungs and the digestive system mostly
- Developmental dysplasia of the hip – a condition where the hip joints do not develop normally in a baby. It may range from a minor looseness of the ligament to a complete dislocation of the ball and socket joints.
- Undescended testes
- Abnormalities of the urethra
Some common symptoms of a hernia are as follows:
- A hernia may bulge out from underneath the skin in the form of a lump, especially when the baby tenses his abdominal muscles to cry, cough, or empty bowels
- An umbilical hernia is easy to spot near the baby’s belly button during the first few weeks or months after delivery
- In the case of a strangulated hernia, extreme pain, hard and swollen lumps, and redness or blueness of the skin near a hernia is observed.
- The lump becomes hard and does not go down or go soft when the baby stops crying
- The baby starts vomiting and is generally unwell
- It is painful for your baby if the lump is touched
The risk for developing hernia can be mitigated by regularly treating the baby’s medical problems, preventing excessive weight gain, reducing constipation, and watching out for chronic coughs.
Treatment for a hernia varies case to case. Sometime the baby outgrows the disorder. Sometime an operation is needed under general anaesthesia to repair the hernia. The surgeon pushes the bowel back into place and stitches the muscles shut. It becomes essential and an urgent need of the hour especially in the case of strangulated or incarcerated hernia to repair the abdominal weakness and prevent the hernia from recurring.