A hernia is the protrusion of a portion of the intestine through the wall of the abdomen. An inguinal hernia is the most common and occurs most frequently in boys. If you notice a lump in the groin or scrotum that comes and goes when the child strains or cries, call the office.
The hernia will need to be surgically corrected. It is not a medical emergency unless the hernia becomes strangulated (if it becomes caught outside the abdominal cavity). If this happens, your child will be in pain and may vomit. In this case, call the office immediately for an appointment.
In very small infants, an umbilical (“belly button”) hernia is not uncommon and usually disappears as the infant gets older. It is not painful, and usually the only symptom is a small lump at the naval that becomes larger when the child cries.