Berkeley Parents Network >
Advice about Health >
Hernias in Babies & Children
I am seeking a experienced pediatric surgeon for my 5yo. He has inguinal
hernia. We took him to see Dr. James Betts in Oakland Children's Hospital
and also Dr. Doug Miniati from UCSF. Both of them are good, it is hard to
select who is better. Dr. Betts are older than Dr. Miniati, so I assumed
more experienced? But Dr. Betts took more than 1 job (something related
with firefighter), so his appointment is hard to make (is it a con? I want
to have a doctor fully concentrate on ''doctor''). Has anyone had
experience with the two doctors? Any advice on doctors and hernia surgery
We also heard about Dr. Laurence Baskin, any one has comments on her?
Thank you very much!
Anxious & cautious mom
Betts and Hui and the other doctor, who is Nigerian (his name escapes
me), are all excellent, all at Children's--that is the opinion of
friends who are pediatricians and ped. anesthesiologists and friends
who have done their residency at Children's. My child had an
appendectomy by Hui, and he is top-notch, through, does beautiful
surgery, and very kind. You cannot go wrong with the aforementioned
three, and I might opt for the younger guy, nothing against Betts, who
is a very fine surgeon.
All the pediatric surgeons at Children's Hospital are excellent practioners, and your
child will be in good hands, whomever you choose. As you may know, this type of surgery
is quite routine ( although stressful for you, of course!) and your child will probably
recover very quickly.
Children's Hospital RN
hi everyone, the other evening we had a scare when my
daughter (19 months old) was apparently in a lot of pain and
crying inconsolably and saying ''poopoo.'' when i checked her
diaper area, i saw a big bump near her groin. we took her in
to urgent care and four hours later (after an ultrasound and
a lot of waiting) the doctors said it's a hernia. i am
wondering if anyone has experience with this at this young
of an age. the doctors all said to get surgery within the
next week or so. they were able to reduce it by pushing it
down so it is okay right now. i have also read and heard
that it does not heal on its own but i am wondering if there
are more natural ways to manage it, or if surgery is the
only answer. if folks have been through this or have advice,
i would greatly appreciate any. thank you in advance.
My 5-year-old daughter had an inguinal hernia repair last
month. First, yes, surgery is the only way to manage it
and it's important to get it done soon, especially if she
has already experienced pain. A hernia can quickly get
worse and can even be life-threatening, so please don't
put off the surgery.
That said, I totally sympathize with your fears about
going through this with a young child. The anethesia part
is scary (for you, not them), but the recovery is likely
to be minimal. Our daughter had her surgery in the late
morning and was sleepy/naseous in the afternoon (from the
drugs), but was up and literally running around by the
evening. She took ibuprofen for the next couple of days
but that was it. Now she has a tiny scar about a half-inch
long that you wouldn't notice if you didn't know it was
Once your surgery date is scheduled, the nurses will walk
you through each step so you will know what to expect,
which is really helpful. Hernia repair is the most common
surgery that pediatric surgeons do, so you can be assured
that your doctor will likely have a lot of experience with
As for this surgery being necessary at ''such a young age,''
these types of hernias are actually much more common (as I
recently learned) in babies than in older kids. (Age 5 is
fairly uncommon.) Also, my son had surgery (a different
type) when he was 2, so I have experience going through
this with both a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old, and I will
tell you that the experience with the 2-year-old was MUCH
easier. At that age, they don't really know what is going
on, aren't aware that they are ''going under,'' etc., so
it's really not that scary for them. Just annoying like
any routine doctor's appointment. I remember that my son
was irritated at not being allowed to eat breakfast before
his surgery, but other than that, he really wasn't
bothered by the whole experience and has no memory of it
Hang in there - I know it's scary but it will be OK!
Inguinal hernia repair is one of the most common pediatric surgeries.
Usually the procedure itself takes approximately an hour, and your child
will probably be ready to go home after another hour in the recovery
room. Most kids of your daughter's age are back to feeling fine in 24-48
hours. The incision is small, and children heal quickly and often need only
Tylenol and/ or Advil for pain for a day or two.
I believe surgical repair is the only treatment option. To delay treatment
would put your child at some risk for intestinal obstruction, so I would
suggest you follow the doctor's recommendation and schedule your
I would recommend any of the pediatric surgeons at Children's Hospital
(Pediatric Surgical Associates 510-428-3233). All will have performed
hundreds, if not thousands of inguinal hernia repairs on young children.
Wherever you have the surgery done, I would suggest that it is of primary
importance that your child be cared for by a board-certified pediatric
anesthesiologist, not an adult anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist will be
as vital to your child's well- being as the surgeon.
I hope everything goes smoothly for you and your daughter. I think it will
all be easier than you anticipate.
As a emergency doctor and a mother of a toddler, I would definitely go forward
with the surgery if it were my daughter. You do not want the intestines to get
stuck in the hernia and cause the bowel to die. This is very dangerous and
potentially life threatening. An elective surgery is much safer than an emergent
one for dead bowel. In a way you are lucky to have had this event. Now you
can fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.
My two-month old has an inguinal hernia, and will need surgery
at some point. Do you have any thoughts for us about this
surgery, esp. in a newborn? We are nervous about anesthesia for
such a little guy. We are at Kaiser Oakland, and would
appreicate also knowing about any ''good'' pediatric
anesthesiologists there that you are aware of, or where we
might go for a second opinion. Thanks.
My son just had hernia repair surgery at Children's hospital last month.
He was born 2
months premature and had hernias on both sides, one side was really
large. He was 5
months old, 3 months corrected age when he had the surgery. The surgery
2 hours and he only had to stay at the hospital for about 3 hours
afterwards. He was
uncomfortable the first day and came down with a fever but was fine the
He seems much more comfortable now.
Some good friends who are living in Israel for the year just
discovered that their little girl to be has a diaphragmatic
hernia. They are obviously consulting doctors in Israel, but I
would love any advice, words of wisdom, stories, etc. that you
have to share. Thank you so much.
My sister's son was diagnosed with CDH at her first ultrasound
with him. This was back in 2000. He was born on time and at 6
days old had his first surgery. I'm guessing the daughter is
already born and they are not pregnant with her. With Jacob (my
nephew), he had poor lung development on one side and
hypertension due to his lower organs having floated to his chest
region while in utero.
Best wishes to your friend and his/her family!
It's pretty much impossible for anyone on this list to say.
Diaphragmatic hernias vary
so much. If it's a little pin hole, it can be fixed surgically. If it's
massive, it can mean
that the babies lungs don't develop as the organs of the belly drift up
into the chest.
You'll have to wait for more information.
Could anbody give me more information about inguinal hernia. I
have a 5month old son and his one testicle is pretty bigger than
the other. It stays big all the time. I ask my pediatritian Dr.
Chiang in oakland and she said it will go away or drop in one
year. I am little concerned about this and I ask another Dr Usem
two days before and he said that it would not drop. He told me
that it may be inguinal hernia may need surgery. I made an
appointment at the children's hospital on this comming tuesday.
Now me and my husband are very much worried about our son.
Kindly give any information you have and if you experienced like
this with your child, could you kindly share to us. It would
help us alot. Thanks for taking your consideration
Our son was also found to have a hydrocele (similar to an inguinal
hernia) around 5 months of age. I had noticed, while changing his
diaper, that one of his testicles was larger than the other and seemed
very much like a water balloon. I went to our pediatrician who checked
it out and sent us directly (that day ) to Children's Hospital where a
VERY skilled and knowledeable doctor, Dr. Karen Cartwright checked him
out and confirmed that he had a hydrocele (a smaller version of the
hernia). What she explained to us, and books later confirmed, was that
the opening between the abdominal cavity and the testicular sac was not
sealed all the way in utero and therefore, some fluid escaped into the
testicular sac. The hernia version of this is when the opening is
larger, large enough to allow a piece of the actual intestine to come
through. The way she ruled the hernia out for us was that our son was
in NO pain or discomfort during the visit, nor was he in any pain before
or after. Apparently, a full blown hernia is VERY painful in children.
She gave us several options: We could wait for it to potentially seal on
its own (she did not think this would happen), we could wait until he
was in actual pain, and then act, OR we could elect to do the corrective
surgery right away (within a few months). She said it was not urgent,
but recommended to do it sooner rather than later, if for no other
reason than that he would remember it less. We chose the last option.
The idea of surgery was dreadful, but the more docs I talked with, the
more it became obvious that this was VERY routine as a surgery, very
successful, and very easy to recover from. True to all of the above, our
son had the surgery (it was 1.5 hours at Children's Hospital), and while
he was screaming as he came out from under general anasthesia, he was
fine within an hour and off of tylenol within 24. I would trust the
opinions of the docs at Children's Hospital. Every one we have come into
contact with has been fabulous, smart, and efficient. Nine months
post-surgery, we can barely even see the scar from the procedure. I have
more to say but out of room so please email me for further questions
about this! Good Luck!!
My 7 yr old son has an inguinal hernia and we are scheduling surgery with Dr. Roman
Sydorak at Children's Hospital. Does anyone out there have any experience with him?
Dr Sydorak performed emergency surgery on my daughter when she
was just 4 days old--and she's healed beautifully. My
pediatrician says he's the best, and i believe her. From a
parent's perpective, he was fantastic. He took plenty of time to
explain to us exactly what was going on and what he was going to
do, and in follow up visits he was patient with our questions.
Interacting with parents seems to be a high priority for him. The
nurses like him, too...All in all, i think you're in excellent hands.
very happy parent
I am asking for a friend whose four-year-old needs a hernia
operation. Has anyone had any experience with a pediatric
surgeon in the Bay Area?
My daughter had an inguinal hernia and had surgery at 13 months
at Oakland Children's Hospital with Dr. Karen Cartwright.
I highly recommend her. We had a very good impression of her,
she was always available and nice and the surgery went very well.
The procedure took about an hour; we were allowed to stay with
her when they put her to sleep, then she was in the recovery room
for about an hour (with us) and then we went home. She was well
and running the same night. Now (after 6 months) we can hardly
see the scar.
I am 22 weeks pregnant and the baby has been diagnosed through
ultrasound to have a diaphragmatic hernia. We have done
research and understand the diagnosis as well as the
difficulties and uncertainties that lie ahead. I am wondering
if there are others out there who are in the same situation or
have had similar experiences, particularly dealing with the
diagnosis during pregnancy. Perhaps there is a bay area support
group for this that we are unaware of? Any information or
feedback would be helpful.
Did anyone answer your post? I didn't, even though we've
been through that diagnosis ourselves, because in our
case we had multiple complications and a sad ending. My
advice is to contact a genetic counselor. She (they are
almost always women) will be able to put you in touch with
all the resources specific to your circumstances. We would
have been lost without our genetic counselor. Our
counselor was Dolores Madden at Alta Bates. She's
wonderful. Kaiser also has several good ones.
Email me privately if you like.
My 3-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with a hernia, and we
have a referral to a pediatric surgeon. What are some questions
that will be important to ask him or her? Any advice on how to
prepare a 3-year-old for this surgery? (I am currently living
outside the bay area, so I am not looking for recommendations
for a particular physician). Thanks so much!
Our son had hernia surgery this past summer when he was 2.5.
He had an inguinal hernia (scrotal) so obviously your
daughter's is different. I don't know how drastically
different the two situations and surgeries are but I spent way
too much time stressing over something that turned out to be no
big deal (especially for my son). He knew that he had a ''bump''
that the doctor was going to fix at a special hospital. That
was about as detailed as we got so as not to create anxiety. I
had my bag packed with a few new presents to make any difficult
times easier and to try and divert him from asking for food or
drink. We had a long wait time between checking in and his
actual surgery so that is when I gave him all the new things to
play with. Luckily we were at a nice children's hospital so
the surgery waiting room had toys and a tv to keep him
entertained. Make sure you get as early a time as possible so
that she doesn't have to go though the day without eating or
drinking. The most difficult part was after his surgery when
he came out of the anesthia. He was disoriented and really
pissed about the iv board he had strapped to his arm (to keep
his iv in). He screamed and struggled with it for about a half
hour but was much better after we took off the board. Kids are
truly amazing- I believe we stayed a few hours after to make
sure he was okay and he played quietly the whole time. When it
was time to go he actually ran out of the hospital and it was
as if nothing had ever happened.
Hopefully your experience will be as smooth as ours was. It
wasn't fun but it wasn't horrible either.
Our 9 year old daughter has just developed a hernia and will
probably need surgery. We weren't able to get an appointment
with Dr. Patte Bishop (who has been recommended to us) until
July. Has anyone had any experience with Dr. Karen Cartwright?
Our daughter is very active and we haven't been told to restrict
activity. Has anyone experienced problems with their kids and
hernias before getting them repaired?
Thanks in advance.
My son's hernia was repaired by my favorite pediatric surgeon in
Patte Bishop's group, Dr. Marilyn Butler, very personable and
competant, shouldn't be intimidating to your daughter. Karen
Cartwright is also excellent, but a little more ''gruff''.
The ''Surgi-center'' where they operate at Children's Hospital
worked out great- they put my son in my arms as soon as he
arrived back from surgery and he could start drinking 2 hours
later. Good luck...
anon (mom and MD)
I have a friend whose daughter requires a right inguinal hernia operation.
She is currently scheduled to have Dr. Laurence Baskin, a pediatric
urologist from UCSF, perform the surgery on her 3 year old daughter. Has
any experience with Dr. Baskin that they could share with me and my friend?
Has anyone had any experience with another pediatric urologist that could be
Our son was seen by the Berkeley Urological Associates at 2999 Regent Street.
Dr. Joel Piser did his circumcision (at 2 yrs) and Dr. Chi Lee did his hernia
operation (at 3 years). We were very impressed by both, not only with their
bedside manner but also their skill. The surgery was performed at Children's
Hospital on an outpatient basis.
My 8 month old baby girl has an inguinal hernia that requires surgery. Has
anyone gone through this procedure? It is outpatient so she will be home that
evening; since she is so active I wonder how much abdominal surgery will
affect her. Any information will be valued and appreciated.
To the person who asked about the Inguinal hernia procedure, our daughter
had one on both sides. She had the surgery when she was 3 1/2 and it was so
much easier than I expected. She had it at Childrens Hospital, Dr. Bishop,
they were all great and they had a superb social worker who explained things
to her and helped calm our fears greatly. She was a little sore that
afternoon, it was out patient, and vomited a little, from the anasthesia but
that is normal. She had the surgery on a Wed. and was back at preschool on
Mon. She actually was pretty much her normal self in about 48 hrs. Kids
are just so amazing. She had 1/2 teasoon of Tylenol for pain once, that was
it. Its a very common procedure and I'm sure your baby will be fine. Our
daughter is also very active and they told us there was nothing she could do
to hurt herself just by moving around, jumping, running etc. Their movements
are naturally slowed down by the soreness. Best of Luck
Re: anesthetic for infant's hernia surgery
My son, now a teen, had this surgery when he was 3 month old to repair
an iguinal hernia. This is hole in the lining of the intestine where
the testes descend - it's supposed to close back up before the baby is born
but sometimes it doesn't. The danger is that the intestines can get pushed
out through the hole and then get squeezed off - I was told this is
quite serious. This kind of hernia is very common in boys and the
surgery for it is fairly routine.
My son had the surgery at Kaiser Oakland by a pediatric surgeon
recommended by our pediatrician - can't remember his name now but he
specialized in just this sort of thing. It took 20-30 minutes
and I nursed him while he was still in the recovery room. He did
have a general anesthetic - they use a special one just for babies.
He had "bandaid stitches" - no thread, just something like tape
over the very small incision. they healed in just a few days. It was
quite amazing. He suffered no traumatic effects at all.
An interesting side story - I've heard that iguinal hernias are
inherited. My son's dad had the surgery at the age of one - in
the early 1950's the only surgeon available in his small town in
S. Carolina was the county coroner who left a huge Frankenstein
scar across his abdomen! His mother told me the hernia was discovered
at birth but the doctor wanted to wait till he was one for some
reason, and so he had to wear some sort of truss or bandage his
first year of life, his mother worrying the whole time that he
would push out his intetines every time he cried! His father
also had an iguinal hernia but didn't have the surgery till it
was discovered when he enlisted for WWII!
We haven't had to deal with surgery in our
family but I received an issue of Mothering Magazine that had 2 articles on:
When your child undergoes anesthesia, How children heal from medical
experiences. They are in the Spring 1997 issue. If you have trouble
finding the magazine, I can photocopy the articles for you. Good luck!
Hernias in Adults
I'm a dad with small children and am preparing for a
hernia operation. I am not sure how long I'll be out of
commission and would appreciate anyone sharing their
I had a hernia repaired about 5 years ago. I think the bulk of the recovery took
about 2-3 weeks. For the first week, there was quite a bit of pain if the area was
strained in any way (including going to the bathroom). I couldn't lift much. I
had it done laproscopically which I believe is the far better option because I was
never really bent over.
I would make sure there is someone to help you at home and do the driving for
the first week at least.
The other thing is that any kind of surgery is exhausting. You may find you're
tired often and need to lie down.
Wishing you the best
I had a hiatal (stomach) hernia a couple years ago. I had
laparoscopic surgery which is a much quicker recovery
time. Mine was long to recover from due to the fact it was
in the stomach. I was on liquids for 5 weeks, then baby
food for 4 weeks so that kept me pretty weak. So depending
where i the hernia that makes a difference. Depending if
you get traditional or laparoscopic it makes a difference.
But if you have never been put under completely you will
be surprised at how wiped out you are after work. If you
are responsible for 2 small kids i would assume 2 weeks.
Where to begin.
Three months ago we lost our baby at 16.5 weeks due to heart
defects caused by Downs. I'm 39, and we are very much
wanting to start trying again ASAP, but now it looks like I
have developed a hernia, probably a femoral hernia. The
pain is constant but not severe. I have a consultation with
a surgeon in a week, but am receiving varying info from
different OB's as to whether it would be better to wait
until after a pregnancy or to go ahead with a hernia repair.
(On an online hernia forum there are horror stories of
hernia repairs ripping during pregnancy.)
We are beside ourselves that after the loss of our baby, we
find ourselves with yet another medical obstacle to overcome.
Has anyone dealt with a femoral hernia either during
pregnancy or just before conceiving? I had a natural
childbirth with our first child and it's hard to imagine
labor with this kind of problem added to the mix. Are there
any nonsurgical approaches that might help? Has anyone gone
through a pregnancy with a hernia and been able to deliver
vaginally/naturally? Has anyone had a hernia repair and
then gotten through a subsequent pregnancy OK?
I have had a very similar experience to yours...normal
first pregnancy/birth, lost a second pregnancy far down
the line, and then dealt with hernias (inguinal and
umbilical) during my third. The inguinal hernia was
pretty painful, but I decided to wait after having a
consultation with a surgeon. In my case I decided to wait
because the hernias were only going to be around when I
was pregnant. I was told that once I delivered it would
go away. Instead, I went to Johnson's Medical Supply on
Shattuck and got fitted for a truss (a medieval looking
support that pushes in the hernia while kind of supporting
your belly). A ridiculous contraption, but inexpensive
and worth a try. I tried to stay off of my feet for long
periods (hard to do with a toddler) and not gain too much
weight. The good news is that while it was initially
painful, it eventually went away during the latter part of
my pregnancy. I went on to have a really great birth and
the inguinal hernia was a non-issue during labor. I'm
pretty sure it's really just about your comfort level and
not a threat to your pregnancy. Having lost a baby too, I
know that it can add anxiety to future pregnancies. I
hope that you are/or will get support for that. Good luck
I developed a femoral hernia during my 2nd pregnancy. The
area became very painful when I stood too long. As the
pregnancy progressed, I wasn't able to stand for more than
maybe a few minutes. This made shopping and other chores
almost impossible. I had to start using the electric carts
in stores like Target, etc. I delivered my baby at home
(water birth) and there were no complications. After I
delivered the baby, I was no longer bothered by the
I declined to have the hernia repaired, because I had also
heard horror stories about these repairs not healing
properly. I knew that I wanted to have another baby, so I
wasn't willing to risk it.
A few years later we decided to go for baby #3. I started
feeling the hernia about 5 months into the pregnancy and
fairly quickly it became too painful to stand for too
long. I went on disability when I was 6 months pregnant. I
had a normal vaginal delivery and had no complications due
to the hernia. The pregnancy was very hard, though. As the
baby grew and weighed down on my lower body, the hernia
became more painful. During my last month of the pregnancy
I just pretty much sat around. Doing anything was just too
It sounds like your hernia is already bothering you
without being pregnant, though. I realize that my
situation may be different, but I hope that I was able to
help a little.
I am so sorry about the loss of your baby. I can't imagine
the pain that you must be going through. I wish you all
the best in your next pregnancy.
Most of the ''horror'' stories that you hear about concern
umbilical or ventral hernias during pregnancy, not femoral
hernias. And these tend to be most problematic postpartum.
Doctors don't like to repair umbilical hernias until women
are finished with child bearing because the extreme
stretching of the abdomen in the latter stages of pregnancy
can cause the mesh to separate from the tissues to which it
Because the femoral hernia is down near your groin/thigh
area, and this area of the abdomen does not undergo nearly
the same strain during pregnancy, so the likelihood of the
mesh repair holding up is much greater.
Speak to your OBGYN about the stats for pregnancy after
I would imagine that if left untreated, the weight of
pregnancy might press upon a femoral hernia can cause
significant pain. Certainly, if you are in pain now, that
would speak to getting the repair done before your next
I'd love to hear from anyone who has had a hernia near or
above the belly button. It has been recommended that I
have mine repaired laproscopically with mesh. I'd love to
hear from anyone who has had this procedure! What was the
surgery like? How long did it take? What was the recovery
time like? Thanks!
About two years ago I developed a squishy bulge above my
belly button, and self-diagnosed (via Google and Wikipedia)
as having an epigastric hernia. Didn't hurt, but was odd,
and seemed to grow a bit over time. GP was convinced it was
a lipoma (benign fatty tumor), but eventually opted to refer
me to Dr. Robert Fowler... he took one look and concurred on
the hernia diagnosis. Scheduled surgery with him at Alta
Bates and it went like a dream: in at 6am, woke from the
general anasthesia c. noon, and headed home around 1pm
(driven by someone else, per requirements). Came home with
a subscription for Vicodin, but there was never any pain
beyond a small, dull ache for just a day or so. Took it
easy for a few days, was not supposed to drive for a week
(but as I work at home, that was fine). I'd certainly
reoommend Fowler and Alta Bates; our insurance covered
everything, though the bill looked like they'd inserted the
cost of a year at an Ivy League college into my abdomen.
It's a 2'' or so scar, and no complaints since.
All Sewed Up
I had an umbilical hernia repair done in out-patient
surgery by Catherine Forest at Alta Bates in 2002. I got
my ''inny'' belly button back. I asked Dr. Forest at the
time about mesh and she did not have a good opinion of it.
I don't know how large your repair is, but if you are
concerned about the mesh, get a second opinion. Good luck!
I had my (small, non-painful) hernia repaired at the end of
February by Deborah Kerlin (Walnut Creek). I did an
outpatient procedure at Aspen Surgical Center and it took a
little over an hour. The doc also did a little
abdominoplasty in the area since I had diastasis recti and
this made it go a bit longer. Dr. Kerlin used a surgical
mesh. My hernia was about the size of a nickel right above
my belly button.
I took Tylenol with codeine for the pain for 3 days after
the surgery and then was sore but not in pain. I was
nursing so didn't want to use anything stronger and it was
fine. I was fully up to speed by 10 days after, just
unable to lift my older child for another 4 weeks total.
Dr. Kerlin did a great job.
I have surgery scheduled to fix my umbilical hernia in a
few weeks. I hate to have surgeries I don't need (esp.
with general anesthesia), but I don't think this will
resolve itself and I may be changing insurance soon. I
would like to hear how others have dealt with this
(decision and recovery). The hernia is not painful. I am
breastfeeding a 6 month old and have a 2.5 year old as
well. I was told I can't lift the older one for 4 weeks
(anything over 30 lbs). I've read older posts on the BPN
and do have the Helene Byrne DVD. Any feedback is
helpful! Thank you.
go for having the surgery. I was able to have my hernia fixed at the same time
as having my second c-section, but I imagine my recovery was similar. I had my
mom come to help the first week, but after that I was able to manage not lifting
my two-year-old for six weeks. I planned 15 minutes extra time to have him
climb into his own car seat. Did all diaper changes on the floor. And I found that
if I knelt down (one knee on the floor, the other one bent at a right angle) that
he could use my knee as a little step stool and climb into his crib, or reach
drinking fountains etc...
It's not easy, but I feel it was well worth it. I was constantly aware of the aching
feeling of the hernia, and that it could get worse if I strained it.
I have an umbilical hernia I have had repaired twice.
Neither surgery fully resolved the issue. I have spoken to
a few surgeons, and the consensus is that the repair is
probably not necessary. I am very active, am conscious of
what is likely to cause it to pop out, and then I just push
it back in and take a deep breath. There does not seem to
be any long term problems involved in leaving the hernia.
The last surgery I was under general, and it took quite a
long time for me to fully recover (4-6 months.) If you
feel the surgery is necessary, there are a few surgeons in
Oakland who can do the repair laproscopically.
I think I have an umbilical hernia. I have slightly tender bulge
right above my belly button. It makes sense as I have had three
kids, etc....Any advice about getting it repaired, etc...?
bulging belly button babe
I have lived with an umbilical hernia for over twenty years.
It's manageable so long as I don't get constipated, lift
(continuously) heavy items or do a ton of sit-ups.
My doctor wanted to repair it when I was pregnant (simple
procedure) but I chose not to.
If it does not bother you, then live with it, otherwise, see
your physician and get this simple repair done.
You describe ''a slightly tender bulge right above my belly
button''... I had the exact same thing, without the three
pregnancies as an excuse (as a middle-aged man). I was thinking
it was an epigastric hernia, but the doctor suspected (and an
ultrasound confirmed) a lipoma, which is a benign, fatty tumor.
Advice was to either ignore it, or have it surgically removed as
an outpatient sort of thing... I'm likely to go the latter route,
as it seems to be slowly growing and makes my belly look odd.
But I'd certainly recommend you have your bulge looked at.
Should I get surgery? Who is a good hernia surgeon? I developed
a bellybutton hernia many months after the birth of my son. I
went to see a doctor who sent me to a surgeon. He was able to
push it back into my belly. He said that I still had a hole
there and that the fat (luckily the intestine didn't come out)
could pop out again. I have been wearing a girdle and I think
that that is helping it to stay in for the last couple of months.
I probably would have had it fixed, but I was right in the
middle of moving up here to Berkeley when this happened. I don't
want to drive 5 hours to get it done by the surgeon that saw me,
but I don't know of anyone up here. I also wonder whether it
will even pop out again. I am not big on interventions.
Not sure what advice I could give other than yeah, it happens
and I think it's pretty common. It happened after my first baby
and got worse after my second child. I saw three plastic
surgeons to see what they could do about it and the loose skin
around my belly button - that's all the scaring I ended up with.
Two of the plastic surgeons said it was no big deal and they
could repair it with a tummy tuck. The third told me to seek the
advice of a general surgeon before he would do anything. I did
and the general said that plastic surgeons are trained just as
general surgeons are so they should be able to perform the
surgery the same as he would. Just make sure I check the
surgeons medical qualifications and make sure they are board
certified. And of course make sure I feel good about the doctor
I choose. Haven't had the surgery yet (still recovering from a
tonsillectomy!) but plan to in the winter. Good luck to you!
I delivered my second child on March 2nd via repeat cesarean
section. Over the last few weeks I have noticed a tennis ball
sized lump in my abdomen that my OB thinks may be a hernia. It
is not by my incision nor is it by my belly button. She
referred me out for an ultrasound which I will have later this
month. Assuming it is a hernia, does any one have any
suggestions or recommendations about when I should get it
repaired and who I should get to do the repair? I have a three
year old daughter and a newborn son. The idea of not picking
up the baby is out of the question. Also the notion that I
have to prolong not picking up my older child is hard. How
long can I go before I have to get it repaired? Does anyone
have any experience with this? Thanks.
I was diagnosed with an abdominal hernia about 4 months after my
son was born (#2) - I didn't have a C-section, and my ''bulge'' is
close to my belly button so I think it was a pretty easy
diagnosis. I could also push the bulge back in myself and it
popped out mainly when I was lifting something (e.g., my son).
The Doc I was referred to was great : Frederick Wright on Regent
St. in Berk. 883-9292 - very kind, professional and has kids of
his own - he said as long as I wasn't too bothered there was no
rush to get the surgery - especiually given the no-lifting post-
op situation - he said wait until my son was more independent -
this was a year and a half ago - I'm thinking I'll have surgery
next fall/winter when my son starts daycare and I can get some
help with the post-op time from relatives. I think it's no big
deal to walk around with the hernia so long as you are careful
abotu lifting etc.. I've been every cautious about abdominal
exercize - no crunches, sit-ups etc.. but that's me - not the
Docs advice - also my understanding is that the only danger with
a hernia is if it gets ''pinched'' - that is it pops through the
muscle lining and then get stuck there - so that the tissue
loses blood flow and dies - and you get a massive internal
infection - but the pain associated with the piching is
apparently so incredible that there's no way you can miss it -
you head straight to the ER and they do the operation then - (my
cousin had this happen). I know several people who have had
hernias that they waited years to repair - so it sounds like
it's good to get it done - but no rush and certainly wait until
you can reasonably give yourself the recovery time.Good Luck!
tender tummy mama
I am scheduled to have my hernia repaired by Surgeon Bruce
Moorstein. Has anyone had experience with this Doctor? Any
comments would be welcome.
Dr. Moorstein performed an abdominal surgery on me in 1988. He
never pressured me into the surgery and met with me several
times to explore my options and provide information. He did an
excellent job with very good follow up care. He was also very
supportive of my mother (I was an adult) who was far more
distressed by the ordeal than me. Years later, when I had
follow up questions, he got my files out of storage and spoke
with me by phone to answer my questions and address my concerns
(without charge). My experience was very positive.
Please, please all those out there with hiatal hernia's. I was
diagnosed with one yesterday, after much persuasion on my part
to finally get my doctor to do the diagnostic test for it. I
have had nausea, abdominal upset for years and really bad breath
off and on. She tells me my hernia is ''moderate'' is size. I
haven't had this term ''moderate'' objectively defined as yet. I
prefer to hear from fellow commoners. Please help, tell me your
stories advice, how I should, how you might proceed. (I also
have a ''small'' umbilical hernia non-incarcerated, but the hiatal
hernia is giving me the most trouble.)
Hernias can be treated without surgery. They are a symptom of stress
on the body and can be healed with a holistic approach. If you are
interested about learning more I recommend Dr. Larry Gertler in
Oakland 510 652 2302.
When I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia quite a few years ago I was
really freaked at first, as it sounded like something terrible! My
doctor assured me that it was really no big deal and could be treated
successfully with antacids. I had had similar symptoms to yours-
chronic discomfort, bad breath, and also frequent burning sensations
in my throat (gastric reflux). The hernia simply prevents the lower
esophagus from closing completely and stomach acids then cause various
irritations. I have taken Zantac twice a day ever since and have none
of my previous problems (when I ran out of it for a few days my
symptoms returned). Zantac is a benign medication and there is no
problem with taking it on a long term basis and I have had no side
effects from it. My doctor writes me a prescription for it (Kaiser)
and even though it's now over the counter, I get it for a generic
copay. By the way, for those who have Kaiser and don't know this, you
are entitled to a 100 day supply of any medication for one copay. Of
course, this doesn't apply to things like antibiotics that are only
intended for a short term course of treatment.
Actually, taking Zantac to treat the acid reflux from a hiatal
hernia is not completely harmless. Zantac blocks the absorbtion
of vital nutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin d and the
b vitamins (including folic acid), and long-term use can create
I had a hiatal hernia for several years, and took zantac for
the first few. After I learned about the nutrient blocking, I
started taking digestive enzymes (plain old live culture
yogurt, or can be found in supplement form, acidophilus, etc)
which helped treat the acidic stomach fairly well. Talk to your
My sister is about 32 weeks pregnant with her second child
and is experiencing painful lumps on both sides of her groin
(but much more bothersome on one side). Her doc thinks they
might be hernias but isn't sure. Anyone out there experience
anything like this? She is worried that if it is a hernia,
delivery might be tough. Thanks.
Based on just what you described, if it's not a hernia it
could possibly be swollen (or infected) lymph nodes which
would protrude and can be extremely painful. Someone who can
do Lymphatic Drainage Therapy might be able to help, but if it's
infected she will likely need antibiotics. If your sister
lives in this area I can refer her to a massage therapist who
is very skilled and experienced in LDT.
I have been diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. I found some items from a
Web search about this condition.
Questions for my Bay Area neighbors:
1- Can you share any surgical experiences regarding umbilical hernia repair?
How was the recovery time?
2- Has anyone had any experience with the surgeon Catherine Forest?
3- Any other advice for a successful surgical outcome?
I had an inguinal hernia repaired by Catherine Forest earlier this
year. The surgery went well, and the recovery went as predicted -
about a week before I could drive, longer before I could pick up heavy
things, and due to the inactivity, it took awhile to get back up to
speed even when the pain and discomfort were gone.
My tips would be to make sure you really do rest and take enough pain
medication initially. I didn't, and that may have prolonged the
recovery time for myself. And comparing to my cesaerian two years
previously, the hernia was a bit worse in terms of pain and recovery.
I had this surgery at Kaiser in May 2001 after 8 years of holding my belly
button in every time I coughed, laughed, or did a sit up. I am SO-O-O glad
that I decided to do the surgery. However, it was way more serious an
operation than I realized, in terms of recovery and the need for rest. Like
the other person, I recommend that you take the pain medicine. I took it the
first four days, but you need to realize that the medicine will make you
feel better than you actually ARE. You absolutely MUST rest the first week
to 10 days, and not pick up anything for 6 weeks. I prolonged my recovery by
taking the pain medicine and continuing to work very hard at my computer and
doing laundry and such. DON'T. Good luck to you.
My mother (breast cancer) and my niece (abdominal cyst) have had operations
with Dr. Catherine Forest and we were delighted with her both times. Very
competent, kind, and great with follow through. I would go to her in a
second should the need arise. Nancy
This is a follow-up to my post in October asking about adult hernia repairs.
I had a small umbilical hernia and had asked for input about the surgeon
Catherine Forest and these types of surgeries. I had out-patient surgery at
Alta Bates 2 weeks ago and everything went very well. The staff at Alta
Bates was wonderful, and Dr. Forest did a good job. I went in at 5:30 a.m.
and was home by 1:30 p.m. I was pain-free in less than a week. My experience
may not be the same for others experiencing hernia surgery. I wish anyone
having surgery the best. Thank you to the people who responded about my
this page was last updated: Jul 16, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network