Children can have groin (inguinal) or umbilical hernias
Typically, inguinal hernias in children are caused when a small portion of the intestine bulges out through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. This may occur as the fetus develops and the growth of the abdominal wall and surrounding organs or testicles do not progress as they should, leaving a hole or severe weakness in the wall. Sometimes these are detected early while others may take years to become a problem.
An umbilical hernia is located near the navel (belly button) and is a result of a weakening around the umbilical cord. Common symptoms include a slight bulge in the abdomen above the belly button, which may increase with pressure or crying.
Many of these hernias close spontaneously during the first few years. However, an operation is required to close a hernia that doesn’t repair on its own. Importantly, all pediatric hernias should be monitored for potential complications and treatment. If a hernia becomes strangulated or incarcerated, the blood supply can be cut off and a serious emergency can occur. Therefore, it’s important for an expert physician to monitor a hernia in an infant or young child to consider management and potential treatment options.