Worried About Umbilical Hernias? The Key Risk Factors You Need to Know

Umbilical hernia risk factors

In this article, we’ll discuss risk factors that can lead to an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia, also known as a navel hernia, is a medical condition where the abdominal wall’s fascia and muscles weaken and create a bulge around the belly button area. This condition often affects both babies and adults, and while it’s usually not dangerous in babies, it may require surgical intervention in some cases. In adults, umbilical hernias can be a bit more complicated, and there are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. 


Umbilical hernias are more common in adults over the age of 50 but can develop at any age. As we age, our muscles in the abdominal wall weaken, making it easier for the hernia to occur. This is why people who are overweight or have experienced significant weight loss are also more prone to develop this type of hernia.


Obesity is a well-known risk factor for hernias of all types, including umbilical hernias. Extra weight can strain the abdominal muscles and put undue pressure on the navel area, causing a hernia to develop. It is essential to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of developing umbilical hernias. Obesity can also complicate hernia repair. First, obesity often means longer operation times and may mean a longer stay in the hospital. In addition, being overweight or obese can also increase your risk of hernia recurrence. Hernia recurrence is when your hernia returns after hernia surgery. One study found that recurrence rates were even as high as 11% in obese patients.


Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing an umbilical hernia too. The growing fetus can put pressure on the abdomen, causing the abdominal muscles to weaken or tear. Additionally, hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the strength of the abdominal muscles, which may increase the risk.


While smoking significantly increases the risk of several health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke, it has also been linked to the development of umbilical hernias. Smoking leads to a decline in collagen production, which can weaken the body’s tissues, including abdominal muscles and fascia.


Sometimes umbilical hernias run in families, making it more likely for a person with a family history of this condition to develop the same. While not much can be done about our genetics, it’s essential to be aware of the risk factor and monitor any signs or symptoms of an umbilical hernia.


Umbilical hernias can cause discomfort and pain and may require surgical intervention in some cases. Knowing the risk factors that contribute to the development of this condition can help you reduce your risk of getting an umbilical hernia. Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly may help prevent the weakening of the abdominal muscles and fascia, reducing the risk of developing an umbilical hernia. If you have any concerns about umbilical hernias or are experiencing any symptoms, contact Texas Hernia Specialists. We can assess and diagnose your condition and discuss appropriate treatment options.