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Hernia in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A hernia develops when tissue bulges through a weak spot in the wall of the belly. The groin area and the navel are common areas for a hernia. A hernia can also develop near the area of an earlier surgery.

Pressure from lifting, straining, or coughing can tear the weak area, causing the hernia to bulge and be painful.

If you cannot push a hernia back into place, the tissue may become trapped outside the belly wall. If the hernia gets twisted and loses its blood supply, it will swell and die. This is called a strangulated hernia. It usually causes a lot of pain. It needs treatment right away.

Babies and young children are more likely to have tissue get trapped in a hernia. If your child has a hernia, he or she may need surgery to repair it.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child avoid lifting heavy objects.
  • Help your child stay at a healthy weight.
  • Keep your child away from smoke. Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke around your child or in your house. Smoke can cause coughing, which can cause your child's hernia to bulge.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse belly pain.
  • Your child is vomiting.
  • Your child cannot pass stools or gas.
  • You cannot push the hernia back into place with gentle pressure when your child is lying down.
  • The area over the hernia turns red or becomes tender.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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