Newborn umbilical hernia, use plants to help treat it

Mortar for crushing herbs used to treat umbilical hernia

A conventional ailment that is often without any dire consequences, an umbilical hernia in a newborn child is like a small marble that appears around the belly button a few days after birth.

Usually, over the first eighteen months of the newborn’s life, this sometimes voluminous swelling tends to disappear.

Statistically, umbilical hernia primarily impacts black-skinned boys, newborns and especially prematurely born children.

Newborn umbilical hernia key facts to know

Definition of umbilical hernia

A hernia is defined as being a “partial or complete displacement of an organ outside of its natural cavity through a naturally-occurring opening”.

As for an umbilical hernia, it’s often discovered as a small pocket of variable size located at the point of passage of the peritoneum. Portions of the intestines or fatty tissues exit around the navel. These organs normally are contained inside the abdomen.

The navel itself is the scar that remains of the umbilical cord.

Symptoms of umbilical hernia

Seen with the naked eye, an umbilical hernia looks like a “little marble” that is set near the navel. The size increases after an effort, for example when the newborn cries.

During routine check-ups, your doctor will notice it for certain.

What causes umbilical hernia

A swelling that appears near the navel, an umbilical hernia is often caused by an inherited weakness of the linea alba on the abdomen.
A painless configuration, an umbilical hernia may grow to about an inch across, and generally dwindles over the first 18 to 36 months of the child’s life. At that age, abdominal muscles tend to grow stronger thanks to motor skill development.

An umbilical hernia may appear and worsen in case of breathing deficiency or cirrhosis, especially for adult patients who suffer from cancer or heart deficiency.

Also for adults, an umbilical hernia may appear following pregnancy, obesity, chronic cough or the fact of often handling heavy loads.
These factors all increase pressure inside the abdomen, and, consequently, tend to weaken abdominal tissues.

Are there any risks of complications?

Cases of complications for umbilical hernia in children are extremely rare.

When they do appear, they’re usually the result of a malformation or a metabolic anomaly.

However, what has been occasionally reported around the swelling is a “strangling” of blood vessels and tissues. This may lead to an intestinal occlusion. This type of trauma has the following symptoms: swelling of the entire abdomen and vomiting.

However, if the umbilical hernia hasn’t subsided naturally within the first 3 years of life, doctors recommend surgery for aesthetic purposes, but also because it may cause complications once the patient is an adult: constipation, nausea, jabbing pain, vomiting…

Natural treatment for umbilical hernia

Most often, only surgery is recommended to do away with umbilical hernia.

However, there seem to be some plants whose health benefits and therapeutic properties would help treat it naturally. Which are these? How should these plants be prepared? What dosages must be applied?

  • These herbs can usually be purchased in pharmacies. For each herb, the packaging provides detailed instructions for use.

Often recommended are:

Hawthornia – This isn’t a single plant, it’s a name for a blend or mix of citrus seeds, hawthorn, litchi and fennel.
Very common and often used in China, this mixture helps repair and reinforce the weakened abdominal wall. Hawthornia, when used as soon as the very first symptoms have been recognized, will slow and stop umbilical hernia growth.

Sheperd’s purse is a plant that has medicinal properties known to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Reduced to a paste, applying it directly to the hernia externally is recommended to alleviate the symptoms. This medicinal herb can also be used internally to strengthen the abdominal wall.

Chamomile (in the form of herbal tea) – this herb has benefits that soothe the mucus in the digestive tract, reducing production of gastric acid.

Since an umbilical hernia occurs exactly in this location, it sometimes triggers acid reflux. This can be very uncomfortable for the patient.

The following are also recommended in cases of pain:

– a decoction prepared from smartweed, lady’s mantle and walnut to soothe pain. Apply on the painful area, cover with a bandage: the patient won’t suffer anymore.

Internally, also recommended is 1 quart (1 liter) infusion steeped from 1 oz (30 g) oak leaves, common yarrow, cypress, lady’s mantle and walnut.

The dosage for this is to drink 1 cup, three times a day. You’ll be amazed by the result!

  •  Treatments should take effect within a week for newborns and twice as long for adults, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Good to know about umbilical hernias

There is a folkloric remedy called “contention technique“. It uses bands of cloth with a coin wedged in the folds to cover the umbilical hernia. This reduces the volume but doesn’t cause it to disappear entirely.
Although this is often prescribed for children, it won’t have any effect on adults, so no point trying.

However, in case of doubt, it is always recommended to follow through with a medical consultation on this topic.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Mortar with herbs by Katherine Hanlon under Unsplash license