How to Tell If Your Child Has a Hernia
Hernias are often viewed as a health condition that is common among adults, but it can actually happen to children too. Hernias happen when an organ bulges through a tissue or muscle, and they can cause problems if left untreated. Though infants are often diagnosed with a congenital hernias during a routine ultrasound before birth, the signs in toddlers and children can be harder to spot. Here is how you can tell if your child is dealing with a hernia.
The Most Common Symptoms of a Hernia
Sometimes, there are almost no signs of a hernia among children. The primary symptom of a hernia is a bulge where tissue is trapped in a muscle or tissue opening. However, children tend to have reducible hernias, and these types of hernias only stick through the opening during physical strain. Therefore, many parents do not see the signs of a hernia unless their child is crying or coughing, and the signature hernia bulge often goes away whenever the child is sleeping or laying down. If the hernia is permanently trapped, the bulge will always be present. Though these symptoms are less common, parents may notice that their children are experiencing pain, fever, discomfort, vomiting, acid reflux, or irritability. Occasionally, hernia symptoms can also include trouble swallowing, gurgling in the abdomen, and pain only during movements.
Know Where to Look For Signs
Children are most likely to get umbilical hernias in the area near the belly button or inguinal hernias near the groin. If you suspect that your child has a hernia, these are the areas you should examine. An inguinal hernia can occur anywhere in the groin area, including the testicles or labia of children. Children also experience hernias when the bowels protrude right around the belly button area, and umbilical hernias are extremely common among children under the age of four. If your child is experiencing hernia symptoms somewhere else, it may still be possible for them to have a hernia, but it is somewhat less likely.
Seek Medical Attention
The best way to tell if your child has a hernia is to check with an experienced healthcare provider. The most effective diagnosis method is to take a visit to your child’s pediatrician if you notice any unusual bulging or any other possible hernia symptoms. This is particularly important if the area around the possible hernia is red, inflamed, and painful because this may be a sign of a strangulated hernia that needs immediate medical attention.