Pediatric Hernia

Overview of Pediatric Hernia

Pediatric Hernia Meaning in Urdu

ہرنیا کا مرض اس وقت متاثر کرتا ہے آنت کا ایک حصہ پیٹ کے پٹھوں کی کمزوری کی وجہ سے بڑھ جاتا ہے، اس کی وجہ سے جِلد کے نیچے ایک نرم گومڑ نمودار ہو جاتا ہے۔ بچوں میں ہرنیا عام طور پر ناف کے اردگرد یا پیٹ کے نچلے میں نمودار ہوتا ہے۔ جن بچوں میں پیٹ کے پٹھے کمزور ہوتے ہیں ان میں ہرنیا کے خطرات زیادہ ہوتے ہیں۔ ہرنیا کی وجہ سے بچوں کو پیٹ درد، قے، ہرنیا سے متاثرہ حصے کا سرخ ہو جانا، بخار، اور پیٹ کے بھرے رہنے کے احساس کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے۔


A pediatric hernia is a medical condition where an organ, usually a portion of the intestine, bulges through a weakness or opening in the abdominal muscles of a child. It is a common condition affecting infants, toddlers, and children, and it can occur in both genders.

Pediatric hernias are not dangerous in most cases, but they can cause discomfort, pain, and complications if left untreated. Surgery is often required to repair the hernia and prevent further complications.

Prevalence of Pediatric Hernia

The reported incidence of inguinal hernia in newborns and children ranges from 1-5%. Right-side hernias account for 60% of all cases. Inguinal hernias occur more frequently in premature infants, with incidence rates of 2% in females and 7-30% in males.



Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Hernia

The symptoms of a pediatric hernia can vary depending on the type and severity of the hernia. Some children may not have any symptoms at all. However, common symptoms of a pediatric hernia can include:

  • A visible bulge or lump: Inguinal hernias may cause a bulge in the groin area, while umbilical hernias may cause a bulge around the belly button.
  • Pain or discomfort: A hernia can cause pain or discomfort, especially when the child is bending over, coughing, or straining during a bowel movement.
  • Nausea and vomiting: A hernia can cause nausea and vomiting if it becomes trapped or obstructs the intestines.
  • Difficulty passing stool or gas: In some cases, a hernia can cause a blockage in the digestive tract, making it difficult for the child to pass stool or gas.
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin: If the hernia becomes trapped, the skin around the bulge may become red or discolored.

It's important to note that not all hernias cause symptoms, and some hernias may not be visible or palpable. If you suspect that your child may have a hernia, it's important to seek medical attention.


Types of Pediatric Hernia

The two most common pediatric hernias types are inguinal hernias and umbilical hernias.

  1. Inguinal hernias: These occur in the groin area, where the thigh meets the lower abdomen. They are more common in boys than girls and can be either direct or indirect.
  • Direct inguinal hernias: These hernias occur due to a weak spot in the abdominal wall, where the inguinal canal exits the abdominal cavity. This type of hernia usually occurs in older boys.
  • Indirect inguinal hernias: These hernias occur when a portion of the child's intestine protrudes through the inguinal canal,  a natural passage in the abdominal wall that allows the testicles to move from the abdomen to the scrotum during fetal development. This type of hernia is more common in infants and young children.
  1. Umbilical hernias: These occur around the belly button, where the muscles of the abdominal wall didn't fully close after birth. Umbilical hernias are more common in girls than boys and are usually harmless and self-resolve by the time the child is 3 to 4 years old.

There are also other types of pediatric hernias, such as femoral hernias and epigastric hernias, but they are less common.


Causes of Pediatric Hernia

Pediatric hernias are typically caused by a weakness or opening in the abdominal wall.  Other factors that may contribute to the development of pediatric hernias include:

  • Heredity: Some children may inherit a genetic predisposition to developing hernias.
  • Prematurity: Premature infants may have a higher risk of developing hernias because their abdominal walls are not fully developed.
  • Chronic coughing or constipation: These conditions can increase pressure within the abdomen, which can lead to the development of a hernia.
  • Obesity: Children who are overweight or obese may have a higher risk of developing a hernia due to increased pressure within the abdominal cavity.
  • Previous surgery: Children who have undergone abdominal surgery may be at a higher risk of developing a hernia.



Risk Factors of Pediatric Hernia

Several risk factors can increase a child's likelihood of developing a hernia. These include:

  • Age: Infants and young children are more likely to develop umbilical hernias, while older children may be more prone to developing inguinal hernias.
  • Gender: Inguinal hernias are more common in boys than girls.
  • Family history: A family history of hernias can increase a child's risk of developing a hernia.
  • Premature birth: Babies born prematurely are more likely to have weakened abdominal muscles, which can increase the risk of developing a hernia.
  • Chronic constipation or coughing: Conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as chronic constipation or coughing, can increase the risk of developing a hernia.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put additional strain on the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of developing a hernia.
  • Previous abdominal surgery: Children who have undergone abdominal surgery may be more likely to develop a hernia at the site of the surgical incision.

Not all children with these risk factors will develop a hernia, and some children without any of these risk factors may still develop a hernia. If you suspect that your child may be at risk of developing a hernia, it's important to speak with your pediatrician.


In most cases, pediatric hernias are not serious and can be treated successfully. However, if left untreated, hernias can cause complications. Some of the complications of pediatric hernias include:

  • Incarceration: It occurs when a portion of the intestine becomes trapped in the hernia and cannot be pushed back into the abdominal cavity. It can cause pain, nausea, vomiting, and bowel obstruction.
  • Strangulation: This is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the trapped intestine is cut off. Without blood flow, the trapped intestine can become damaged or die. Strangulated hernias require immediate surgery to prevent serious complications.
  • Delayed growth: In some cases, a large umbilical hernia can interfere with the normal growth and development of the abdominal muscles. It can result in delayed growth or a bulge in the abdomen that may be permanent.
  • Infection: A hernia can become infected if bacteria enter the site of the hernia. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness around the hernia site.
  • Chronic pain: In rare cases, children who have had hernia surgery may experience chronic pain in the area where the hernia occurred.

It's important to seek medical attention if your child has a hernia, as early treatment can help prevent complications.




Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent pediatric hernias from occurring. However, there are several things you can do to reduce your child's risk of developing a hernia:

  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle: A healthy diet and regular exercise can help your child maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of developing a hernia due to increased pressure on the abdominal muscles.
  • Treat constipation and coughing: Addressing chronic constipation or coughing can help reduce the risk of developing a hernia.
  • Lift your child properly: When lifting your child, use proper lifting techniques to avoid straining your back and putting pressure on your child's abdominal muscles.
  • Teach your child proper lifting techniques: As your child grows, teach them proper lifting techniques to reduce the risk of developing a hernia.
  • Be aware of family history: If you have a family history of hernias, let your pediatrician know so that your child can be monitored more closely.
  • Seek prompt medical attention: If your child develops a hernia, seek medical attention promptly to reduce the risk of complications.

While you cannot completely prevent pediatric hernias, taking these steps can help reduce your child's risk of developing a hernia and minimize the impact of any hernia that does occur.




Pediatric hernias are usually diagnosed by a physical examination performed by a pediatrician or a pediatric surgeon. During the examination, the pediatrician will typically look for a bulge in the abdomen or groin area and may ask your child to cough or strain to see if the bulge becomes more prominent.

If a hernia is suspected, the pediatrician may perform additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, including:

  • Ultrasound: This is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. An ultrasound can help determine the size and location of the hernia.
  • X-ray: An X-ray can help rule out other conditions that may be causing your child's symptoms, such as constipation or a blockage in the intestines.
  • CT scan or MRI: CT scan or MRI scan uses more advanced imaging techniques to create detailed images of the inside of the body. They are typically only used if the healthcare provider suspects a more complex hernia or other underlying condition.

In some cases, if a hernia is not easily visible or there are concerns about complications, the pediatrician may recommend surgery to both diagnose and treat the hernia. Overall, the diagnosis of pediatric hernia is typically straightforward and can be confirmed through a physical examination and imaging tests if necessary.


Treatment of Pediatric Hernia | When to Consult a Doctor

The treatment for pediatric hernias usually involves surgery to repair the hernia. Surgery is typically recommended to prevent the hernia from becoming incarcerated or strangulated, which can lead to serious complications.

The surgical repair of pediatric hernias is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that your child can go home on the same day as the surgery. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia, and the surgeon will make a small incision near the hernia site. The hernia is then pushed back into the abdominal cavity, and the muscle or tissue around the hernia is repaired with sutures.

The two main types of surgical repair for pediatric hernias are:

  • Open repair: In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision near the hernia site and repairs the hernia using sutures. The incision is then closed with sutures or surgical staples.
  • Laparoscopic repair: In this procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions and inserts a laparoscope, which is a small camera that allows the surgeon to see inside the body. The hernia is then repaired using sutures or a synthetic mesh.

After surgery, your child may need to rest for a few days and avoid strenuous activities for several weeks. The pediatrician may also recommend pain medication to manage discomfort or swelling.

Overall, the surgical repair of pediatric hernias is a safe and effective treatment option that can prevent severe complications and allow your child to return to normal activities with minimal downtime.