Common Hernia in kids

Hernia in kids in quite common. Here's my story and what you can do if your child is diagnosed with hernia.

Have you ever heard about hernia in kids? Here's my story. My son was hardly a year old then. One day, just as we came home, he started to cry profusely. I checked to see if he was hurt. I tried to calm him but to no avail. When I removed his diaper, I was alarmed to see a swelling just at the left side of his groin. We instantly rushed him to his physician.

After examining him, the doctor told us it was, ‘Inguinal Hernia’. The doctor gently pushed the swelling in till it was gone. My son relaxed as his pain eased. When asked for more information about the condition, the physician said, "It might occur again. We may have to operate him sooner or later".

hernia in kids

My husband and I were both upset. Surgery for an 8 month old baby! The physician then sent us to the paediatric surgeon who reassured us by providing an in-depth explanation about this condition.

We were not aware that there are two common hernias that only affect kids aged 5 years and below which develop in the first few months after the baby is born.

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Armed with all this information, we decided to go ahead with our son's surgery. After successful surgery on the left side we were informed about chances of an inguinal hernia on the right side too. It did occur 6 months later for which he was operated again. He is completely fine now.

I later realized that couple of my friends' kids had suffered through this problem too. One friend's baby had a similar operation as young as 4 months. Recently one of my pals was blessed with twin sons. I noticed one of them had a blown up belly button just like a small balloon. This is the other type of hernia known as umbilical hernia. To cut to the point, hernias are very common in kids.

Below is the information I gathered during my son’s ordeal, for those parents who have no clue about kids hernias. It could save you a lot of worry by clearing doubts.

Go to the next page for more information on hernias .

What is a hernia?

A hernia is a soft bulge when a section of intestine protrudes internally through the abdominal muscles. There are two places where it can occur.

In the groin area (Inguinal Hernia)

During pregnancy, the male fetus develops a passage (inguinal canal) for the testicles in the abdomen to move down into the scrotum.

Shortly after baby is born, the inguinal canal closes. If it doesn’t, a loop of intestine can move into the canal causing a swelling. This is known as inguinal hernia.

Girls too have an inguinal canal, so they too have chances to develop this hernia. It occurs in about 1 to 3 percent of all children and is more frequent in boys than in girls. It can sometimes affect both left and right sides of the groin.

Around the belly button (Umbilical Hernia)

During pregnancy, there is a small opening in the abdominal muscles of the fetus for the umbilical cord. After birth, this closes. If not, a loop of intestine can get stuck in this opening and cause an umbilical hernia.

Umbilical hernia occurs in about 10 percent of all children and is more common in girls than in boys. Both hernias are usually seen in premature infants.

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Symptoms

Hernias appear as a bulge in newborns, but may not be noticeable for several weeks or months after birth. The swelling is more noticeable when baby cries, and goes away when baby relaxes. Symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems.

Diagnosis

Hernias can be diagnosed after physical examination by your child's physician. Also x-rays or ultrasounds to examine the intestine more closely, can help with diagnosis.

Treatment

• Inguinal hernia should be surgically repaired fairly soon after it is discovered to avoid the intestine getting stuck in the inguinal canal.

• Nearly all umbilical hernias will have closed without surgery by age 3. If not, your physician may suggest that the hernia be repaired surgically.

• A hernia operation is a fairly simple procedure. Once the hernia is closed, either spontaneously or by surgery, it is unlikely that it will reoccur.

• Do not place a coin or strap over the hernia. Always consult your child's physician to determine what is best for your child.

Sources:

Hernia (umbilical or inguinal)