Is an umbilical hernia serious?

Umbilical hernias, by themselves, are not dangerous. However, there are chances that they will get entrapped or incarcerated. Your physician will examine if your hernia can be pushed back into your abdominal cavity, in the case of a reducible hernia or if it’s trapped, in the case of an incarcerated hernia. A hernia that is incarcerated is a serious complication as the trapped tissues of the hernia may become short of blood supply during which it is referred as a strangulated hernia.

Your physician will take an X-ray or an ultrasound on your abdominal region to make sure that there is no complication. Blood tests may also be needed to check for an infection or ischemia, more particularly if your intestine is incarcerated/strangulated.

In children, complications due to umbilical hernias are rare. But, there can be additional complications in both children and adults if their umbilical cord gets incarcerated. This is because intestines that cannot be pushed back through the patient’s abdominal wall may not receive a sufficient amount of blood flow, which can lead to pain and even death of the tissues. These, in turn, can cause dangerous infections and even death.

Therefore, umbilical hernias with a strangulated intestine need immediate surgery. Consult your doctor or reach the emergency department immediately if your intestine becomes strangulated.