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Protruding belly button,not overweight,no health problems.

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1995
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I am a 33 year old male with no known health issues. I am in decent shape and not overweight. However over the last year my belly button has been protruding more and more. I once had an inny but now it is half outy. Any idea what could be the cause?
Posted Wed, 18 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 14 minutes later

Thanks for query.

From the history and complain it seems that is most likely umbilical hernia.

This happens when there is defect in the rectus sheath of the rectus abdomens muscle either due to weakness or due to previous surgeries in that area ( if any ).

Due to weakness in the muscles, they can not hold the intestine,and from the area of weakness (or one can say Gap) the intestine protrude into the layers of the anterior abdominal wall giving rise to a condition known as umbilical hernia.

This protrusion you must have noticed increase in size when you cough or lift weight,in such situation the pressure inside the abdomen increase and so the intestine protrudes more.

When you sleep the swelling either decrease in size or disappears at the intestine falls back in side the abdominal cavity.You can confirm the gap when you sleep with your fingers.

Please visit your doctor and he can easily surely confirm this with physical examination and refer you to a surgeon who can establish a better management after evaluating the condition.

As far as treatment is concerned if the gap is big,you may need surgery for repair of the defect.

I hope this answers your query.I will be available for follow up.


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Follow-up: Protruding belly button,not overweight,no health problems. 1 hour later
Thank you Dr.

I read a little bit on the internet about this and it sounds like it could be the case. I am a smoker so I do have a coughing issue that probably is a bit abnormal. I was curious if this hernia would cause me any pain though? In my case it is not painful just comestically annoying. - XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 7 hours later

Good to hear from you again.

As long as the intestine can come and go smoothly from the gap,there will be no pain.As time passes by, there will be friction between the Gap and wall of intestine which will start giving rise to pain.

This is not a cosmetic affair alone,though from your point of view it could be.In an unfortunate case ,when the defect becomes big and when the intestine gets tangled in the gap, it can create a surgical emergency.The trapped intestine needs immediate treatment.

It would be better if you get it examined and treated from a General Surgeon.It needs surgical correction.

I hope this answers your query.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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