An umbilical hernia is protrusion of a portion of intestine through the umbilical ring (an opening in the muscular area of the abdomen where the umbilical vessels pass through). This type of hernia appears as a soft swelling covered by skin which protrudes when infant cries or strains. Most of the small umbilical hernia disapear spontaneously during first year of life. Hernias that fail to close by the age of four years need surgical repair.
An inguinal hernia is a protrusion of a part of the abdominal contents through the inguinal canal in the groin. It is more common in boys than the girls. It is seen frequently in premature infants. A strangulated hernia occurs when the intestines are held in the passage thus obstructing the blood supply.
There is a mass or bulge seen in the groin when the child cries or strains which reappears from time to time. In strangulated herina there may be vomiting and abdominal pain. Management An inguinal hernia is usually reducible (it can be put back at place by gentle pressure). The reduction is facilitated by providing lateral pressure on the bowel with the fingers at the base of the mass in order to elongate the bowel at this point and funnel through the opening. If the hernia is not reducible then surgical operation called herniorrhaphy is performed.