Umbilical Hernias

In Africa, many of the young children are running around with umbilical hernias (small defects in the abdominal wall at the belly button – AKA a big “outie”). Some protrude only a centimeter while others are considerably larger.

A pregnant woman’s umbillical hernia into which her uterus has slippedLast week in clinic, Dr. Fort called Jessica and me into his examination room to examine an umbilical hernia on a young woman. I had never seen a hernia so large. It appeared as though the patient had a small watermelon covered in skin attached to the abdomen at the umbilicus. I examined the abdomen. At the top, I felt the bowels moving (peristalsis), but towards the bottom, there was a hard mass. It was not one distinct mass…and it moved. But the movements were not peristalsis…they were fetal movements. She was pregnant and likely 20 weeks along.

The question now is this: how is that umbilical hernia sac going to support a full term pregnancy? Fortunately, this lady lives in town and we can keep a close watch on her pregnancy.

**UPDATE** October 20, 2007 – The woman came back to clinic this week for a check-up and an ultrasound revealed that she is actually 32 weeks pregnant. She has been admitted and will most likely undergo a caesarean section at the hospital.


2 Archived Comments on “Umbilical Hernias

  1. i got one of those and im always shy about it(i cant take my shirt off to play soccer, swim)it just makes me fell different…my mom dont want me to have it operated because she thinks it got to do with inheritance since my grandmomther, great grandmother and herself got one.

  2. That is stupid, your mom is being selfish. It is a very short operation, and it will change your life forever! 20 min outpatient surgery. It’s not a big deal. You should do it. If it gets worse, you could die from it. I would get it fixed asap. The reason they all have it is because it’s a “defect” but easily corrected.