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Every mother starts loving her child even before he is born. She wants the best for him from the first day of pregnancy until the last day of her life. You can imagine how worried a mother would be when her newborn child has a weird bulge in his groin or the abdomen. A mother rushes as soon as she fears something might be wrong with her child. The doctor diagnoses it as a hernia. Do not fret. Pediatric hernias are quite common in children. My younger brother’s hernia (umbilical hernia) was also removed surgically.
It was quite a simple surgery. Umbilical hernias and inguinal hernias are two prevailing types in kids. Hernia repair surgery is an easy way to get rid of these hernias in children. You can learn about 10 signs of hernia in children through this article. This way, you can take care of the kids around you.
Causes of Hernia and how hernias happen:
Here is some information regarding how hernias happen. Hernias might develop soon after a baby is born. Sometimes, babies are born with small spaces in their bodies that are filled after birth. Often, neighbouring tissues can squeeze into these spaces forming hernias. At other times, tissues can squeeze through a weak part of the body causing other types of hernias in children. Hernias in children are mostly present in the belly-button area.
Umbilical hernias form when a loop of intestine squeezes through the abdomen inside the belly button. It shows up as a bulge in the belly button.
Inguinal hernias are formed when intestines squeeze through a part of the lower abdomen known as the inguinal canal. The canal is normally closed after testicles move down. However, in inguinal hernias, the testicles move back up again into the abdomen through the open canal.
Symptoms and Signs to Notice for Hernias in Children
- A prematurely born infant has a greater risk of developing hernias. If your child is a newborn and premature, then you need to pay extra attention to his nutrition and his body.
- If you have a history of hernia as a parent or a sibling, then there’s a greater chance of the newborn child developing a hernia.
- A newborn with problems in the urethra, reproductive system or urination is at a higher risk of hernias.
- Undescended testes.
- You should stay on a lookout for hernias if your newborn has cystic fibrosis.
- Look out for any bulging spots on the body especially in the abdomen and groin when your child is crying or having a bowel movement.
- Other than bulges, you should look for discolouration and redness near abdomen and groin. Redness and discolouration can indicate hernia at the site of their appearance.
- A rounded, swollen belly is also an indication that you should visit a pediatrician.
- If your child is vomiting a lot, there is a chance it is because of a hernia in the abdomen.
- Fever also occurs in the newborn if there is a hernia.
Why is it Important to Treat Hernia?
An untreated hernia can cause a lot of health complications later in life. The stuck loop of the intestine can damage the abdomen muscles and intestines. Usually, these are painless in babies. However, they can cause fever, physical discomfort, strain during bowel movement and infertility in cases of untreated inguinal hernias.
Diagnosis and Surgery
Hernias are easily detected through the pediatrician’s physical examination. He might also ask for an X-ray just to be on the safe side. For most of the umbilical hernias, doctors push back the hernia. This is a technique called reduction. In cases where hernia cannot be pushed, such as in inguinal hernias, surgery is performed.
Hernia surgery happens soon after the hernia is found. It is because the intestines can be stuck in the inguinal canal. This results in blockage of the blood supply to the intestine which can lead to further complications.
The surgeon gives medicine to the child to make him unconscious (anaesthesia). The loop of intestine that had squeezed through the tissue is untangled. It is stitched together and moved in its proper place.
Surgery is Done, What Happens Next?
Recovery takes time. Give your child time to recover. Ask the doctor for instructions and if the child needs any medication for the pain. Clean the site of the incision from the surgery. If it looks red, infected, consult our doctor about it. There might be slight bleeding or thick gooey liquid coming out of the incision. Do not worry about it. Stay calm, put a clean cloth over it. If the bleeding does not stop, then visit the doctor. The child may have a fever for the next couple of days. Check that it does not stay continuously for two days.
Image by Obsessive Potato.