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How serious is an umbilical hernia?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5759 Questions
Question
I have an umbilical hernia that will stay firm and red when standing or sitting with mild to moderate pain. When I lie down on my back it relieves the pressure and becomes soft again but still red and no pain. How serious does it sound and am I at risk for strangulation?
Posted Thu, 7 Aug 2014 in Abdominal Pain
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 24 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Detailed below.

Detailed Answer:
Hello!

Thank you for the query.

Every hernia increases the risk of intestine strangulation and obstruction. You never know when and if it will happen. That is why hernia is a kind of risk when left alone.
Small hernia gives higher risk of strangulation and when the hernia hole is large, bowels obstruction is hardly possible.
Please note that under umbilicus there is a great amount of fatty tissue (great omentum). This makes umbilical hernia less dangerous and if anything stuck there, usually its just a fat.

The best you can do with it, is to have it repaired. Waiting is not a good idea.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: How serious is an umbilical hernia? 7 minutes later
Thank you. My insurance will not cover a hernia operation for 6 months, otherwise I would have it done as soon as possible. I do worry about it and although the pain isn't intense, it is constant when standing or sitting. Will I know by discoloration (it's already a light red) or more intense pain if it becomes strangulated?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
.

Detailed Answer:
You can wait with it 6 months. There should not be any complications (usually it does not cause any problems for years). Just try to not lift heavy objects, do not push hard on stool, try to put a hand in the hernia area when coughing.

Color itself is not a good marker of strangulation. As long as the lump is soft and you can push it back without much pain (or you are unable to push it back, but there is not much pain), it is not strangulated.

Strangulated hernia gives hard, very painful lump along with abdominal pain. For sure you will notice it as there will be hard to stand such pain and it will force you to visit ER.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: How serious is an umbilical hernia? 7 minutes later
Ok, just one more question. Is there anyway to reduce the pain other than pain meds? And thank you again for answering my questions. You've calmed my anxiety on this.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 8 minutes later
Brief Answer:
.

Detailed Answer:
You may try abdominal hernia belt. This may help a little. But the best way to help with the pain is surgery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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