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Why do I have a painful swelling in my right abdominal area from the belly button to the back?

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Practicing since : 2002
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5'2", 125 pounds, The lower right area of my belly button suddenly became swollen in January. Now it feels as if the whole right side from belly button to back in the abdominal/pelvic area feels swollen and hurts randomly but mostly when I hold my child which also makes me feel sick.
Fri, 20 Apr 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thank you for your query.

From the history you have provided I am suspicious that the pain and swelling which you appreciate near your belly button (or umbilicus) is most likely related to a hernia. We commonly refer to this as an umbilical hernia or ventral hernia. A hernia occurs when a small area of weakness in the abdominal muscles allows for a portion of the intestines to protrude through the muscle. This gives a sensation of swelling or a "lump" as some people describe.

I see you have had previous abdominal surgeries - sometimes this can contribute to an increased likelihood of developing a hernia. Hernias can commonly cause intermittent symptoms of pain or even bloating. Generally this is not a life threatening condition. Sometimes, however, if the hernia is large enough it can cause significant problems with the function of the intestines.

How do we fix a hernia? If your physician evaluates you, he or she may recommend you have the hernia repaired. This is done via a minor surgical procedure where the surgeon reinforces the abdominal wall and corrects the small defect made by the weakened area of muscle.

I would suggest you consider seeing a physician for an evaluation to see if you might be a candidate for a surgical intervention.

I hope this information has been helpful and adequate for you. I am available for your followups if needed. Thank you again for your query.


Dr. Robert Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Why do I have a painful swelling in my right abdominal area from the belly button to the back? 39 days later
I apologize in advance for the extremely extended amount of time that has already passed, little teething monster can be quite distracting. Does it have to be surgery? I have read that increased number of surgeries in that area can lead to even more complications.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello again,

The answer to your query is no - surgery is not always indicated. Sometimes some gentle exercises to strengthen the abdominal wall may be helpful. I think a good physical exam by a doctor will also establish a baseline to compare to in the future if you develop additional symptoms. Surgery is always a last resort and while it can solve many problems there can be short and long term effects as well which is why it is saved as a last resort and consideration. A hernia surgery is usually quite routine should a surgein recommend this and usually there is no need for additional surgery after the hernia is corrected.

Thank you again for the query. I wish you continued optimal health and happiness in the future.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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