Should I get this umbilical hernia repaired? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 12-17-2007, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had NO idea where I should put this question, so if anyone thinks there is a better place, please let me know and I'll ask a mod to move it.

I got an umbilical hernia with my 2nd pregnancy (couldn't figure out why my belly button was taking so long to get closer to normal and why it was all squishy). My doc said not to bother getting it fixed right now in case I have another child. He said it might just bust open again then, so wait and get it fixed after we have another.

So, another child is a possibility but not a for sure. And if we do have one, it won't be for almost 2 years (I guess I'd be pregnant again in another 15-18 months if we decide to have another).

I can't stand how my belly button looks and feels right now. I'd like to fix it, but not if it's just going to bust again if we have another. As then I'll have to get it fixed a 2nd time and since I've never had surgery in my life, I'd rather not have to go in twice!

Is there any way I can heal this thing naturally?

Tofie ~ mama to DD1, DD2 and Pookie v3 debuting December 2011
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#2 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 08:54 AM
 
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I would crosspost this to Birth Professionals.

My own opinion is that perhaps you will see improvement, if not total fixing, through exercise to re-tone your abs, lower back, pelvic floor. More than just kegels.... I'd love to hear what the other mws have to say on this one, tho.
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#3 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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I got an u/h with my last pregnancy. It was giving me problems (about 12 hours or so of pain every 4-6 weeks - no more often than that), so I decided to have it repaired laparoscopically (sp?). Oh.my.god. I was in horrific, excruciating pain for WEEKS. When I went in for my 2-week post-op visit, I asked if it was normal to still be in that much pain still. He said, "Oh, yeah. You'll feel like that for a month after the surgery." I wanted to kill him at that point. At 5 weeks post-op, it was significantly better, and now (2-1/2 months later) I'm fine.

If I ever develop another one, it will stay herniated. I will never consent to another surgery like that unless it is an emergency (i.e. strangulated intestine -- I think that's what it's called).

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#4 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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yea, I've got to ditto the PP.

I had a VERY SMALL umbilical hernia fixed when the doctor was in for my ectopic (lap) in July. It was probably only 1/2 inch in size he said. It hurt me up until maybe last month? For the first month I could barely stand up on my own.

My other hernia (probably 2 inches, above the navel) is just going to stay where it is. Nevermore.
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#5 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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I had a hernia repaired when my baby was 8 months old. My bowel was at risk of strangulation, but it went really well for me. I didn't even need to take any pain medication after except for regular strength tylenol the night of.

My surgeon thinks that it is very unlikely that it will come out again if I have another baby.

Is your doc a surgeon?

I would get an opinion from an surgeon who will be able to give you a better idea if it will come open again, if they should use the mesh net, etc.

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#6 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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interesting....

I, too, developed a herniated belly button at 37 weeks into my 2nd pregnancy.

At 4 months pp, I chose to have surgery to correct it--however, my surgery was e-Z, because it was not laproscopic or anything!

The 15-minute surgery took place in the OR. I just had a shot of lidocaine in my belly, and the surgeon and his student went to town. I was awake w/ no other meds. And, I must say, it was painful during the surgery (do you like people poking their finger in your belly button? coz that's what this sophisticated surgery entails, plus suturing) and very painful afterwards. I wonder if my own tension and lack of valium sedation caused the surgery to be more painful.

Also, the student sewed up the incision, and it is messed. He pulled the suture material too tight; it's puckered. It looks like some crappy seam I sewed, coz I'm no seamstress.

I do think that it is important to bring the abs together, and to promote core strength & pelvic floor strength. I don't know if that's enough to fix a herniation, or what the risks of not getting the surgery are.

I choose the surgery because I wanted to start healing during my postpartum...I felt like I was falling apart, saggy pelvic floor, herniated bellybutton, couldn't hold my 2 year old (according to my mws) etc. The umbilical hernia surgery seemed like a quick easy way to solve that problem, to allow me to move on to the other issues.
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#7 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBlack View Post
I would crosspost this to Birth Professionals.
I posted a link to this thread in Birth Professionals. Thanks!

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Originally Posted by MsBlack View Post
My own opinion is that perhaps you will see improvement, if not total fixing, through exercise to re-tone your abs, lower back, pelvic floor. More than just kegels.... I'd love to hear what the other mws have to say on this one, tho.
I would sooooo love if this was the case. I asked my doc what I could do and of course he says "well nothing unless you get it surgically repaired". If anyone knows of any specific beneficial exercises, bring 'em on! or if you know of something I specifically should NOT be doing, please let me know that too.

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Oh.my.god. I was in horrific, excruciating pain for WEEKS. When I went in for my 2-week post-op visit, I asked if it was normal to still be in that much pain still. He said, "Oh, yeah. You'll feel like that for a month after the surgery." I wanted to kill him at that point. At 5 weeks post-op, it was significantly better, and now (2-1/2 months later) I'm fine.
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yea, I've got to ditto the PP.

I had a VERY SMALL umbilical hernia fixed when the doctor was in for my ectopic (lap) in July. It was probably only 1/2 inch in size he said. It hurt me up until maybe last month? For the first month I could barely stand up on my own.
Of course the doc just told me, "you go in, they stitch it and you're fine!". HA!

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I had a hernia repaired when my baby was 8 months old. My bowel was at risk of strangulation, but it went really well for me. I didn't even need to take any pain medication after except for regular strength tylenol the night of.

My surgeon thinks that it is very unlikely that it will come out again if I have another baby.

Is your doc a surgeon?

I would get an opinion from an surgeon who will be able to give you a better idea if it will come open again, if they should use the mesh net, etc.
Well that's good to hear! My doc isn't a surgeon. He told me that "they put you out and stitch it up", and then I said "THEY PUT YOU OUT? Forget it, I am NOT getting it fixed then.", and then he told me to talk with the surgeon as they can likely do it with local anesthetic. But, unless I tell him I wanted it fixed, I won't get to talk with the surgeon. I am supposed to let my doc know if I want it fixed and then they'll put me on the surgery list to get contacted by the surgeon.

My other concern was that I am breastfeeding so don't want to have any drugs (during surgery or after), so I guess perhaps I've answered my own question and I won't be able to get it fixed until I am done breastfeeding. And that could overlap with a 2nd pregnancy...

The doc did tell me, "oh, by the time they book you in, you'll be done breastfeeding, so don't worry". I though he knew me better than that...

Tofie ~ mama to DD1, DD2 and Pookie v3 debuting December 2011
Oh my God....women are the COWS of PEOPLE!! --Reese, Malcolm in the Middle
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#8 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by tinyshoes View Post
interesting....

I, too, developed a herniated belly button at 37 weeks into my 2nd pregnancy.
Thank you for sharing your experience! 15 minutes sounds like something I could deal with but I have ALWAYS hated people rubbing my stomach and now that I have this hernia, I cannot stand for people to touch my belly button, because it's spongy and feels weird. I think their finger is going to poke right through! Funny thing is, DD seems to LOVE poking her finger into my belly button...

Tofie ~ mama to DD1, DD2 and Pookie v3 debuting December 2011
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#9 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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if I were to do the surgery again, or, in other words, the advice I would offer is:

-take the creepy valium meds they offer you in pre-op.

I did not take them b/c if you DO take any meds, you have to stay in post-op for a few hours or some nonsense, vs. if you take NO meds, then you can run away more quickly. I was very interested in spending as LITTLE time in the hospital as possible. However, I recommend taking the junk, because it would make a person feel a lot less anxious and more relaxed. I think there is wisdom in being medicated while in a hospital setting ()

-bring a friend for by your head

All I had was the comfort of the scrub nurse by my head, as I tried to endure the 15 minutes. I wish my dh or some doula-type pal could have been there w/ me.

I did do several cool things when I had the surgery that I'd do again: I had headphones w/ music, a disposable camera for taking photos (the whole OR crew was really into it! they took good pix, the surgeon thought it was funny) and I brought my nursing baby (dh took care of baby in the waiting areas)......oh, it was soooooo nice to not worry about my baby, and to see & nurse my baby right away post-op.

I must admit, I was stunned at how much pain I was in post-op....it gave me a whole new appriciation for c-sectioned mamas (which I have not experienced.) I also had sooo much swelling. It hurt to use my abs at all, to get in and out of cars, etc. I had a prescription for vicodin, which I did not fill...but maybe I should have; it might have helped.
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#10 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, now you have totally scared me off of this surgery!! Valium and Vicodin? Oh my! The most drugs I have ever taken at a time is ONE regular strength Tylenol or Advil. I'd venture a guess to say that I have not even taken enough to total ONE bottle in my entire life! I did have antibiotics for strep throat once, but that wasn't pain killers.

Ugh, I'd be so worried about my nursling! And those drugs would so be overkill for me, I am VERY easily affected by things and I'd fear they'd give me the "average" amount when it is likely not necessary for me.

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#11 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 06:15 PM
 
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I was never offered vicodin or valium.

You can call your doctor and find out what kinds of meds they normally give you in your area for a hernia repair surgery.

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#12 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was never offered vicodin or valium.

You can call your doctor and find out what kinds of meds they normally give you in your area for a hernia repair surgery.
Ya, I'm thinking I need some more info specific to my sugery before I get all paranoid. But, that means I have to book an appointment and tell the doc I want the surgery, just so I can get the consult with the surgeon...

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#13 of 19 Old 12-18-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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I didn't need any anxiety things, and can't take narcotics. I did use toradol (stronger than advil) for pain afterward for a couple days.
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#14 of 19 Old 12-19-2007, 09:44 AM
 
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I needed serious painkillers for weeks. And I DON'T do pain meds as a general rule. They didn't affect my nursling as far as making her sleepy, but they did constipate her, so I could only take them once every day or 2. And I wholeheartedly agree with the pp who said it gave her a new appreciation for c/s moms. When I was in so much pain for weeks, I did some online searches looking for info on recovery from u/h surgery (duh ... should have done that BEFORE the surgery!). I actually found a couple of stories from women who said their u/h recovery was WORSE than their c/s recovery.

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#15 of 19 Old 12-19-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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A friend of mine discovered that she had "shredded" abs, diastasis, and an umbilical hernia when her youngest child was 2 years old - she had apparently had the problems since her 2nd pregnancy, if not before then, and she was in wicked good physical shape. She found a personal trainer who specializes in rehabbing women with problems like this and started doing some exercises designed to target her abs/UH - in three months her ab problems and hernia were completely taken care of. I'm sure not all of us have access to personal trainers, but my point is that surgery is not necessarily the only solution. I'd try finding exercises first.

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#16 of 19 Old 12-20-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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I know that even if you have a c/sec they will not fix an UH at the same time, since sometimes a patch is used and they don't want the other wound infected since a c/sec is considered "germier" than usual surgery due to the uterus being open to the outside world.
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#17 of 19 Old 12-20-2007, 05:17 AM
 
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This may sound weird, but my mother breeds dogs and sometimes a puppy will be born with an umbilical hernia. What she does is wait until the cord has dried up and fallen off, then she gently pushes the hernia back in and wraps the pup's abdomen with a bandage. It normally has to be wrapped several times a day cause the pup or mom will take it off. After a few days to a week or so, the hernia usually repairs it's self. Of course people aren't puppies, but it works. The muscles grow back together on their own and she's never had to have one surgically fixed.

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#18 of 19 Old 12-27-2007, 08:18 PM
 
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Hi- I'm the friend Hubris is quoting below. She sent me over to post a follow-up

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A friend of mine discovered that she had "shredded" abs, diastasis, and an umbilical hernia when her youngest child was 2 years old - she had apparently had the problems since her 2nd pregnancy, if not before then, and she was in wicked good physical shape. She found a personal trainer who specializes in rehabbing women with problems like this and started doing some exercises designed to target her abs/UH - in three months her ab problems and hernia were completely taken care of. I'm sure not all of us have access to personal trainers, but my point is that surgery is not necessarily the only solution. I'd try finding exercises first.
I bike 50 miles on Sat. every week, and work out another 4-5 days a week for an hour or so. I weigh what I weighed pre-kids 108-110lbs. I am, however, 4'11", and have an arched back. Being short, and with the arched back, I carried straight out, and it resulted in that I had a fingertip diastasis after my 2nd kiddo, despite doing Julie Tupler's pregnancy ab stuff with both pregnancies. It was wider around my belly button, and my innie-belly-button, is now half-out on the top from it. It's a slight umbilical hernia. Not dire, not necessary to fix, but it's there.

After enduring being asked when I was expecting my third nearly EVERY trip to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, I flipped out, and started researching what I could do. I'd tried before, but didn't feel confident with what I'd found that I wouldn't worsen my problem. I stumbled onto www.befitmom.com. I discovered that Helene lived relatively near me in the San Francisco Bay Area. She mostly isn't training anymore, she's busy with the website and the DVD, which can reach more people. But, I got lucky, and she agreed to train me. I met with her at the beginning of Aug, Sep, and Oct, (3 1 hr. sessions) and she left me to my own devices after that. By following her rehab plan, laid out in detail in her book and I'm assuming on her DVD, the tummy is GONE.

Mind you, it's not FLAT. I've never had a flat tummy, thanks to the arched back etc. And I suspect my transverse abs were never good pre-kid, but post, they'd literally stopped firing at all, and left everything hanging, my organs dumped forward etc. No transverse ab muscle tone. And this for ME, who is knowledgeable about fitness. I know what the TVA is. But I was afraid to go crazy on it, and risk separating my abs WORSE without a clear set of instructions.

My tummy is so gone, that a dress I had made for me (bridesmaid) in July, fell OFF MY BODY for my husband's formal holiday party. Our sitter had to help pin me into it! Same weight. It was all my stomach!

I do 15 or 20 min. of the ab work Helene told me to do every night (still) while watching TV before bed.

BTW, I was told I would need surgery too, "if I ever really wanted to fix it".

No, I don't get paid anything by befitmom.com! I spent 2 years getting more frustrated and more depressed that I couldn't fix my 3 mo. preggo looking belly. And I spent 3 months fixing it! I feel like everyone who needs it should have access to this information before doing something as major and interventionist as surgery. It makes me really REALLY mad that every healthy pregnant woman isn't handed this information. I nearly cried tears of joy (my eyes welled up), when I first met Helene, and she told me it was all fixable. Actually, posting this reminds me I should pass this information to my midwives.

Best of luck!
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#19 of 19 Old 12-27-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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This interests me b/c my dd has a small umbilival hernua, anf I've alwayd wondered what it woulf nean if she wants to get it fixed--doesn;t hurt, just a big outie that she's a little shy about...I onder hat a surgeon would say...
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