What’s it like to have umbilical hernia repair surgery?

It’s 11 days after my surgery for umbilical hernia repair and I feel just about back to normal, though I’m still not supposed to lift anything over 20 pounds for another few weeks. In a nutshell, the surgery was a breeze; the recovery not so much, but I have no major complaints. Here’s the long story about how I got here.

I’ll spare you the narrative of my ENTIRE life since my own birth, but I know having an umbilical hernia for me at least goes all the way back to 2004, when I gave birth to our wonderful girl. I had occasionally noticed in the years post-partum that I had a small lump above my belly button. Sometimes. Usually not while lying down, but more prominent while standing. I just guessed it was one of the many ways my body has been touched by the pregnancy experience. It never bothered me.

Until Tuesday, May 1, 2012 (MAY DAY). I had a typical workout in the afternoon which included some basic abdominal crunches. I didn’t notice anything at first, but while I was driving home I was in sudden, throbbing abdominal pain which came in waves and caused me to remember childbirth and breathing exercises. At first I thought it was yet another strike of the norovirus and that I was about to vomit — but the pain stayed constant and I did not, in fact, vomit.

By the time I reached home, I felt and looked at my belly and noticed a larger protrusion than ever before above my belly button, and I knew I was destined for the emergency room. Had I thought about icing in advance, I might have saved myself that trip, but I don’t think I would have had such a fast plan to action had I not visited the ER.

alienIn the lovely Davies ER, the doctor tried to palpate to see if he could press my Sigourney Weaver lump back in (ok, maybe it wasn’t THAT big), but it was way way too tender for him to get near. I was given Dilaudid for the pain, and an ice pack over my belly. When the doctor returned a bit later to see if he could press the protrusion back in, surprise: it had already slipped back in. This made the essential difference, I believe, between having a “strangulated hernia” (a medical emergency requiring immediate surgery) and an “incarcerated hernia” (for which repair can be scheduled at leisure). Fortunately my body opted for the latter. I went home (I walked! Carefully. I felt too nauseated for a car) about two hours later.

I got to meet with the surgeon, Dr. Robert Murray, the next day. He was great, and came quickly to the point. He determined that it was a relatively small tear, that he could stitch it up instead of having to use mesh, and that there was no rush but that I was not to lift anything heavier than 20 pounds until 4-6 weeks after getting it repaired. Since I have been trying to exercise regularly, and since I LOVE holding my 50-lb 7-year-old girl, I opted for as soon as possible. Miraculously and with much aligning of stars, surgery was scheduled for the following Monday, May 7, at (the also lovely) St. Mary’s Medical Center.

I spent Friday getting a blood panel and EKG as preparation for surgery, didn’t eat anything Sunday night, and arrived at St. Mary’s at 8am on Monday morning.

There was very little waiting around — it was my first time at St. Marys and I found it pleasant overall. The rooms were private, the nurses and attendants responsive, and everything seemed efficient. By 9a my IV was in (first try — with much relief and thanks to nurse Debbie), and I was down in the prep area. I met with Dr. Murray and consulted with the anesthesiologist – who then rattled off an intriguing cocktail of complicated sounding drugs that would soon be flowing into my veins.

I was wheeled into the operating room, which was pleasantly chilly and decorated all over with blue tile, as if we were in a bathtub. On the gurney, arms out to sides, the anesthesiologist said “it will be about 10 seconds.” I looked at the clock — 9:30 — and that was that.

Suddenly, I was told to breathe in through a mask (oxygen?) and was back in the post-op room – the same room as the pre-op room. The clock said 10:30.

I was asked my name – several times through the process – was asked about pain (none at that time) and waited around being generally out of it for a bit. I looked at my belly, which was patched with gauze and a 4″x4″ plastic adhesive. I was told not to scratch my eyes. Suddenly it was 11:15. I was wheeled back up to my room, where my lovely wife Leanne was waiting for me.

That’s all it took — I eschewed Vicodin as a pain-killer since it depresses me, and favored Percocet, which I had not tried before. I was back home by 1p. The first day was fine — almost pleasant.

I felt a bit sea-sick lying down to sleep and had a disturbed rest. I kept feeling like I was biting my tongue (a ramification of pain killers?) and started to experience significant pain. I took Percocet and Zofran at least every four hours. The next day was not so great. I awoke to find my gauze pad completely bloody, and was in a lot of pain as if there were a knife in my stomach. It was hard to sit up from lying down. I felt like I really needed to roll over, then stand from being sideways. I must have had about 8 Percocet in the first day post-op and didn’t feel like it had any effect. I called the doctor about the bloody gauze – I was afraid I would never stop bleeding – and got an appointment for Thursday.

Dr. Murray changed the bandage on Thursday and assured me it was going well, but that I should remove the bandage on Saturday because I was evidently allergic to the plastic cover. He also told me I needed to be taking Ibuprofen together with the Percocet — something I was not told before. I’m not sure if doing this for the next couple of days or if just the passage of time made the pain start to ease.

It was after that that I noticed the hives all over my belly. Still not sure if this was because of the Percocet or the plastic. And my bowels hadn’t worked for – well – days, despite Colace.

Things started to get better on Saturday and I pitched the Percocet and was excited to take off the bandage, having fully forgotten about steristrips. The steristrips came off by Monday, and I used a little antibiotic and a bandaid for the next week.

The area looked bloody and spotted with rash for the first few days, but today I just have a slightly swollen red line around the rim of my navel where the surgeon inserted the tiny tools. I don’t see any trace of infection, which I had been worried about.

The really unpleasant part of post-op included my bowels, as a side-effect of the pain medication. I had never had such pain getting started again … The Colace seemed to do nothing. I tried some laxatives upon the advice of my mom, which worked fine — a couple days later. It seemed to take my body awhile to react to these medications. If I were to do this over again, I would have asked if I could have started the stool-softener process in advance of surgery.

Which brings us today, 11 days post-op. I probably won’t wear a bandaid by tomorrow and I only feel the smallest bit of a twinge — a little tiny pinch, really — on my navel. One disconcerting thing is a bit of swelling and hardness around my whole navel, almost as if I still have a hernia and in fact as if it has grown. I gather this is normal post-op and is a sort of swelling and healing that will eventually subside. I have a checkup with the surgeon in 10 days and after that I’m expecting the go-or-no-go for lifting and carrying things and generally exercising back to normal again.

So my key recommendations for you, dear readers, are these:

  1. Feeling a hernia? Try ice first. But of course, also go to the emergency room if you need to.
  2. Talk in advance with your surgeon about pain medications. Be clear not only on what you want, if you have a preference, but how to use it and with what other medications.
  3. Ask in advance what to expect from the bandaging — bleeding OK?
  4. Plan for constipation: is it OK to take stool softeners in advance? I don’t know the answer…
  5. Uber is a great way to get to and from your surgeries. Costs a bit more, but worth it.
  6. Have amazing friends lined up to drive and deliver things (Leanne, Liz, Rob, David… hugs).

Things really went well as a whole, and I’m looking forward to being stronger than ever in a few weeks when I can start exercising again. Thanks for witnessing this part of my life story and I hope it brings some comfort if you are facing the same experience.

Update — May 2013:  I’ve been amazed and gratified at the dozens and dozens of comments here and the generosity of sharing of experiences. It’s now a year post-surgery, and I’m as strong as ever if not stronger, thanks in big part to my trainer Stephanie Dale. Coincidentally, she has just endured inguinal hernia repair surgery. She shared a lot about that here and I encourage you to check it out.  Wishing you all the best.

 

 

227 thoughts on “What’s it like to have umbilical hernia repair surgery?

  1. Moya, very helpful overview of your experience. I’m sharing this with someone who may need similar treatment. -Aaron

  2. Hi enjoyed reading this thank you I’ve been really worrying about the hard lump post op! I too didn’t have mesh and had a small hernia and am 3 weeks post op with this hard lump. I asked one of the docs who said he thinks it’s just the sutures and doesn’t feel like the hernia is back but I wasn’t really put at ease. After reading how yours went I’m hoping it’s a regular common thing. Has yours gone now or is it still there? Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Hi Bec!
    Thanks for getting in touch!
    Did you have the surgeon actually check on the lump? Probably a good idea to have it palpated – though yes, it’s probably also this common healing thing.
    I had my post-op visit with the surgeon a week after I wrote the above and he felt the area and said it was basically scar tissue and it would heal. If this is as common as it seems, that’s something they should definitely prepare us for!
    It’s now exactly two months since my surgery and I still feel a slight hardness around my navel, where he made the incisions (not where the hernia was, which was about an inch above!), but it pretty much went away, so yes – all part of healing.
    I needed to update this post anyway because about three weeks ago I resumed working out — and at first I had a sharp pain in my abs (to the right of my navel, for some reason) after doing crunches. I figured it was the sutures and scar tissue adjusting as the muscles started to move again — and now I feel that pain only when I press.
    It seems like things are gradually getting back, basically, to normal.
    Slight drama of surgery aside, in all, it’s great to not have to worry about my insides poking through a hole in my muscles anymore! well worth it. Wishing you get to that point soon.
    all the best to you;
    -m

  4. Hey thanks again! I saw someone who wasn’t the surgeon but One of his team who hardly gave me the time of day, did check the lump and say was most likely the surures but he wasn’t very convincing, so which is why I turned to dr google and found this! I went to my gp today as I was still worried about this lump which is right in my belly button where the original hernia was which is why I was worrying so much. She did the normal push it getting me to cough and said it definitely wasn’t the hernia as it didnt change when i coughed and remained hard and was just more than like where they sewn me up inside. I was getting bothered as my belly button has started sticking out again but she still thinks its just a result of the surgery and said the lump may remain for a few months. I feel slightly more relieved now I’ve heard it from someone that have me the time. I agree they don’t tell you what to expect yes they warn you about pain and tell you what not to do but don’t warn you about things that may worry you which would have given me a few better nights sleep! I feel much better now I’ve spoken to my own doc and read your posts.Thanks!

  5. Its 11 days post my laparascopic umbilical Hermia repair and I look pregnant. Around my navel and incision points feels hard. I called the doctor’s office and his personal assistant said what I’m experiencing is normal. In 14 days I will be seeing the surgeon, do they look inside the tummy to see what is going on? I’m just bothered with the way I look now, it’s like I came out with more tummy than usual.

  6. Terry, I think I was really swollen too – and I remember the hardness. It’s gone now. I guess it was just all the tissues and muscles that had to heal inside there. It’s good that you’re getting seen by your surgeon though. Hope it puts your mind at rest!

  7. I had umbilical hernia repair without mesh- just sutures and I am 11 day spot op and my entire naval area sticks out and has a hard lump under it. I also still have an outie(due to that lump?.). How long did it take the lump to go away? When were you cleared to do sit-ups after surgery?did you have sutures or mesh? Thx!

  8. Hi Melissa – thanks for reaching out. Sounds very similar to what I experienced. I also had sutures – not mesh. It’s my understanding that the hardness was the muscle and other and tissue healing from the surgery and it did go away though it took some time! Do you have a post-op scheduled with your surgeon? That’s going to be the best way to put any concerns to rest. I was cleared after six weeks and started gradually back into training sessions then – actually not so gradual. One careful session the first week, then back to what I had been doing before in week 7. Take care of yourself Melissa and hope your healing goes well!

  9. Thank you for the response! My post op appt is end of this week. Oddly, I also have a rash around my naval area, and have since a few days after surgery. The hard lump is still there, although getting smaller each day. I still have an outie. How long until you had an ‘innie’ again? My belly button is quite ugly right now!
    THANKS for sharing your experience! I might create a blog on mine as well, not enough info online about umbilical hernia and esp not about suture repaired umbilical hernia!

  10. Hi Melissa –

    >My post op appt is end of this week. Oddly, I also have a rash around my naval area, and have since a few days after surgery.

    Hope your post op goes well and puts you at ease. I totally had the rash too! I believe it was from the tape that they used to hold the sterile pad over the steristrips. I think my skin reacted to it. It too went away – but it wasn’t pleasant for a couple days, true!

    > The hard lump is still there, although getting smaller each day. I still have an outie. How long until you had an ‘innie’ again?

    It all changed gradually as it healed — over the course of weeks.

    > THANKS for sharing your experience! I might create a blog on mine as well, not enough info online about umbilical hernia and esp not about suture repaired umbilical hernia!

    This is a fantastic idea and be sure to come back and post the link to your stories once you get the chance to write them up. Thanks again for reaching out and sharing your experience — your healing has just begun and will get better.

    best, -m

  11. I just got an umbilical hernia repair done last Tuesday. The procedure itself went well but I think the Percocet made me very dizzy, nervous, not hungry and anxious. I have lost 10 lbs. I stopped taking Percocets on Saturday and since then am slowly feeling more like myself. Question is it normal to lose weight like this? 10lbs in 7 days? Also I get very nervous so is it normal to fernl like little tugging around the area where the hernia was? My next appointment is Wednesday will post follow up then.

  12. Hi there. I remember feeling the tugging too — actually for quite some time! It’s gone now – I suspect it was all part of the healing process for the muscles and tissues. I was definitely affected by the Percocet too – I specifically chose it because vicodin makes me depressed, but I’m not so sure Percocet was better for me. People have different success and side-effects with different meds so no one person – including doctors – can say what us best for you, but at your followup on Wednesday you should definitely ask about these things, including whether there is a better choice for you for pain meds, given this experience. Hang in there though – takes time to heal and it sounds like that’s exactly what you are doing.

  13. I have an appointment to set up surgery in a week for a paraumbilical hernia I acquired during a heavy maximum squat, which I dropped due to a pulling pain. I’m 23. I am depressed and worried about if I will ever be capable of maximum inter abdominal pressure required on a daily basis to complete the intense training I live for. Specifically Olympic squats, deadlifts, power cleans, and front squats. May even lose my jobs too. I am worried because compared to most people I live for olympic lifting which requires far more Inter Ab Pressure than most peoples’ workouts. So when a Dr refers to being able to workout again he may not be refering to such intensity.. Will I always have this weakened area above my belly button? Will it seal up stronger than before? seems mesh in between my abs in that tight spot will inevitably move/fold/cause complications..? Will I ever really be able to do max squats again, like heavy 400+lb squats that require extreme gut pressure? I can’t believe this terrible achilles heal.. All these people with umbilical hernias can touch them and push them in, mine hurts too bad to even gently touch. PLEASE help me with any insight on your abdominal seal. Sincerely,
    Bryan

  14. Bryan thank you so much for reaching out and for sharing your situation. I doubt that many people know what it’s like to be in your shoes, so you may be a pioneer in this area. I will reach out to you personally, but my (non-professional) impression is that the weakness existed *before* it became a hernia, and repairing it is just liable to make it stronger than ever before. You know I am not a doctor, but in my experience I can do everything I could before — just without that bulge. I didn’t have the mesh, but both the mesh and sutures are said to eventually become one with the muscle. You stand a good chance, sir, to be stronger than ever…

  15. Wow, thanks so much for all the information. I had my surgery 3 days ago and was getting worried about my huge belly and if I will ever be able to exersise again. I had small hernia on my bellybutton and didn’t need a mesh which I’m pleased about. My surgeon has not been the chattiest man and I don’t really know how the op went. I have a follow up with him in 2 weeks and hopefully can find out more but am really relieved after reading your comments.
    Thank you.

  16. Hi Daisy – glad you find some solace here. Day 3 post-op was most definitely not my best time, so I’m pretty sure you have a much better future with your belly. Write down all the questions you have and try to go through them methodically with your doctor when you have the follow-up. It will be the best place for you to find reassurance and know what’s ahead. Don’t leave till you feel like you have all the info you need. :) Take care.

  17. Great blogging, everyone! I’m 3 days post op. my belly looks huge, so I’m very relieved to read some others did, too. I was thinking swelling from surgical trauma? Also, constipation was a huge issue. I tried dried fruits, fiber gummies, colace, laxatives, u name it. I felt so much pressure in my belly I swore I was going to blow the sutures from the inside out! Haha finally got relief with a suppository, FYI. I have major burning around umbilicus and it seems to get worse when I do too much ( like laundry, cleaning, chasing my 2 year old twins). I, like Bryan, am concerned about heavy lifts again. I pretty much live for Crossfit and extreme workouts, so am interested in how hes making out. Right now I’m too sore, but I’m expecting to be going nuts not training in a few more days (pre & post twin delivery I took a combined total of almost 3 weeks off training). Keep the awesome blogging going!!

  18. Thanks Joni for adding your voice — yeah sounds like there are some pretty common threads with the swelling, the constipation (ugh), the pressure, the burning. PLUS you have twin toddlers!

    I hope Bryan checks back in too — but at least for me, I’m as strong as I ever was in my belly now. Maybe not quite a six-pack…….. maybe working on it :) Good luck and hope it’s all even better now.

  19. OrI had my umbilical hernia repaired on March 28 and with this being my very first surgery in my life, I’m 47, I was absolutely terrified! I didn’t know what kind of pain to expect afterwards. The surgeon that performed the procedure has excellent communication skills and he explained.and showed me how he would make the incision and how he would close it. I was also forewarned of possible constipation from the medication. I’ve had zero pain, which neither he nor any of the staff assisting in the procedure can believe, and I made sure to drink plenty of water and apple juice and eat light to avoid the constipation problem. The only side effect I experienced is the Percocet prescribed for the pain caused me to itch, I’m allergic to it.

  20. Hi! So happy to find this thread. I am an active 47 year old female – 8 days post surgery. I had open surgery with mesh. Oh my gosh / I looked 6 months pregnant after the operation! It has taken until now for swelling to go down but I am still swollen. I had dissolving stitches and my steri strips fell off yesterday (day 7)…incision looks good BUT I too have that hard lump just above the incision. I know it’s not my hernia cause mine was below my belly button and the lump is above. It’s about 1″ height and 1.5″ width. Really glad I found this forum as I was worried about it and my post opp appointment isn’t for 2 weeks. I have struggled with infertility and this is my 5th abdominal surgery (2 csections & 3 lap surgeries to try and get prego) if you have constipation (works every time for me) but del monte STEWED prunes – not dry) first thing am drink: one glass warm water with fresh lemon juice squeezed in) then eat 5-6 prunes before you eat anything followed by a glass of warm water. Do this prune dose again at lunch (before you eat your meal) and at dinner. Generally 15 prunes a day will get things moving in about 36 hours. This method has always worked for me! Anyways glad to hear that other people have that lump too! I can’t wait to run again and hopefully now without pain after 10 km!

  21. I am two days post surgery to repair my large two and a half year old umbilical hernia with mesh. I also had some muscle tearing so my belly was quite large for my frame. Third child (my sweet baby girl) was 9lbs3oz. I had a tough time with anesthesia, and recovery has been harder than all 3 of my csections. Worst thing for me has been gas pain up into my back and shoulder blades. I am off the oxycodone as of last night since it made me so nauseous, just Tylenol now which is great. Going to try the prunes as suggested by your reader!

  22. Wow Michelle and CBahr – thanks so much for sharing — it’s terrific how people are helping each other with info here. Stats from WordPress tell me that people come to this post all the time looking for relief about hernia repair surgery – so if anyone from above still follows the thread, come back to post an update so people can see.

    Michelle and CBahr – sounds like you’ve both had a spate of various surgeries – hope the hernia repair resolves as smoothly as mine did. Now almost one year since my hernia, I never even think of it anymore and work out as hard as ever. Hang in there, all.

  23. One last comment – look what I found. The ‘lump’ you feel after the surgery is perfectly normal – it’s called a ‘healing ridge’. I wish Doctors would tell us more! This should put some minds at ease!

    The HEALING RIDGE, which is a normal occurring event, is a term used to describe the area of swelling and hardness beneath the incision after hernia repair surgery. This area of temporary swelling normally occurs and is progressive in extent for about 3-4 days after surgery. It may harden somewhat, feeling like a roll of quarters or even a small ‘cucumber’ beneath the skin in the region. It remains virtually unchanged for 2-3 weeks after which it gradually softens and flattens (taking an additional 2-3 weeks to complete on average). The size and duration of the ‘ridge’ is related to the size and complexity of the hernia itself. The ridge is caused by local tissue swelling and inflammation around the implanted mesh as it ‘heals’ into the surrounding muscle. It is not, per se, a complication, but is part of the normal process.

    I am now 2 weeks post-surgery and feel pretty darn good. I have the ‘healing ridge’ but I have reached that point when I am not thinking about the surgery anymore = yeah!

    Thanks so much Moya for this post. There are obviously a ton of us getting belly button hernia repairs that don’t know what to expect etc.

  24. Hi All
    Fascinating reading… I am just back from hospital 2 hours ago from having umbilical hernia repair .. open surgery with general anaesthetic..at 2 pm today. Still bandaged up and given 2 slow release extra strength Ibuprofen. Can take these plus Co-codamol fro tomorrow. Feel so much better than I had expected. Maybe it’s early days yet based on other posts !!! I have Type II diabetes so supposed to be more difficult to heal.
    Will let you know in a few days about lumps, scars, pain. Hoping to avoid constipation …I already take Xenical..and just had a fish supper . Intend to take it easy for next 4 days, just some light walking. Target is to get back to my desk by Wednesday, but Jan will take me to work eavey day for 2 weeks..she has been itching to get my car !!!!
    Like the idea of Apple juice and warm water with lemon and losing 10lbs!! Watch this space.
    Finally many thanks to Mr James Adjogatse…..good job :-)

  25. Good on you, RAY! As I recall, the immediate post-surgery haze was fine – dare I say delightful, but the night and day after that were a bit painful. Hope you slept fine and make it just as swimmingly through the next couple days and then are home free.

    I think the most common experiences we’ve shared here post-surgery are strange pulling feelings, ‘stitching’ feelings, and hard ridges in the several weeks following the repair. These seem normally to be expected. But your doctors are your best double-checks for anything strange. Don’t know about that 10 pounds though Ray :)

    Take care and do come back and give us an update!

  26. What a relief to find this page. I am a 50 year old male, had a mesh repair umbilical hernia op 16 days ago and all did not go smoothly.

    After 5 days I gave myself an enema despite the use of Colace. My incision became infected and required a heavy course of antibiotics which delayed healing, The surgeon has been good, called me back when I called about what I thought was infection and saw me the next day. There was also bloody serous discharge from the navel. However now that the infection is gone, yay. I have been fixating on the hard inverted horseshoe ridge above my navel. It sure feels thick and of course I have worried that it is yet another complication. Glad to read that this is not uncommon. It is painful, more so as the day goes on. I am no where near ready to return to work, but can walk and shop and sit and take care of things. There is some distention of my whole belly but nothing like the first 5 days when I too was sure that my stomach was going to POP.

    I was told that mesh might be required pre-surgery, and was not happy that it was used. I worry that my body is not accepting all this foreign material and that this is the source of the pain and pressure. I too felt the tugging inside but that at least is getting better. I really appreciate this blog. I am not an hysteric, but do have autoimmune issues and was concerned about this procedure. I did it because my hernia was getting larger over the last two years, my GP said it was time. I am about 20 lbs. overweight, but umbilical hernias are largely
    the result of congenital defects I have been told.

    Good luck to everyone here, and thanks for this blog. Very helpful for my worries today. I am still on small amount of Percocet and my GP told me yesterday to begin warm salt water compresses, for 10 minutes, 3 x a day. I suspect my situation is not the norm, but still have hope of full recovery. My navel looks scabby but cute.

  27. Hi Tom — that’s terrible about the infection — and does Colace really do anything for anybody?? But the upside is your cute new navel :)
    I also remember worrying about my body rejecting ‘foreign’ material and though I didn’t have mesh, I understand it’s some sort of dacron material for the internal sutures and that this all eventually just ‘becomes one’ with the muscle. I don’t know that the pulling and tugging is a result of that itself or just basically ‘normal’ muscle healing. The bottom line is that the pulling/tugging/assimilation was eventually all complete. Hopefully soon for you too.

  28. I hope to be one with the dacron some day too. Nice of you to reply. I will see the surgeon tomorrow, he likes to keep an eye on his work and complications, which is good news for me. Of all the obsessive internet searches I did during the worst of this infection etc, your small posts have been the most sane and helpful. I will update my progress as I expect there to be some. This is Canadian Healthcare by the way. A little foreign material :) Thanks. Good healing to all.

  29. Update: I saw my surgeon on Tuesday, 19 days post surgery. He takes a very focused look and says it looks very good and that nothing bad should happen now. I ask about the lack of contour that has developed in the navel, a pushing forward sort of, he looks closer and says, “well, you’re a bit degraded.” I said, “Oh you don’t know the half of it.” Groan if you like, but this happened.

    I asked about the hard ridge, and he said that is where my repair is, and the internal sutures. Even though I had mesh, he also sewed the muscles over it. It is called a vest over pants repair although probably not in med school :) So my repair should be strong, though it is still lumpy. The doctor also said what I am coming to realize, that it will not be fully healed in appearance for six months, but that the ridge should flatten and soften and the navel sink back in a bit. Cosmetics. I am feeling stronger and in no pain at 3 weeks. I did have the infection and was worried about the lumps, but Moya and the other posters,along with a really great and communicative surgeon have helped me through the worst of it. I was walking happily down the street post appointment, when a woman comes barreling around a corner and crashes full on into my stomach. NO JOKE. Hard and with force. I won’t even bore y’all. I decided that after 3 weeks it was definitely time for a drink. I iced my belly while i was at it. Four days later and it still hurts a bit. I am a bit concerned but no way was I calling the surgeon back. Vest over pants is hopefully going to protect me. Complications. How do women get through pregnancy and it’s after effects without being nervous wrecks? Thanks Moya.

  30. Good to hear back from you, Mr Canada. I hope it was a good, stiff drink. It sounds like you’re well on the way past the worst, people ramming into you notwithstanding. And I frankly don’t know how anyone gets through pregnancy and childbirth, even though I did both. It feels like it was an out-of-body experience… take care.

  31. Hi everyone, it is such a relief to find this blog. I am post op 4 days umbilical hernia repair. I am still in pain from the incision as well as severe gas traveling to my back and shoulders. I too am bloated, feeling 6 months pregnant, and constipated despite colace. I am also bruised all around the incision. I’m not sure if mesh was used because the surgeon never mentioned it so I assume not but you never know. I have a follow up in 2 weeks to remove the staples. I’m hoping there are no complications. I am so relieved to know that others have had similar experiences. Thank you all.

  32. Hello! I was very bruised after mine too – also looked and felt 6 months prego…I am not a doctor but see my post above re: getting your system moving..,I have had 5 abdominal surgeries and my method has always worked to get the bowels moving! I am now 3 weeks post opp and I still have the ‘healing ridge’ right on/above the incision site. My surgeon said normal and can take months to go away! Speedy recoveries to all !

  33. I definitely have that ‘healing ridge’ too and it is so bothersome. I can feel it’s there even without pressing on it especially when I am standing. I think that’s the only issue I have now 8 days post op, besides my belly button looking non-existent.

  34. Hi, it is some what reassuring to read every ones experiences. I had an umbilical repair without mesh in July last year, here in the UK. Unfortunately after only 9 weeks post op, the umbilical hernia burst out again…in three places. I was only lightly trimming a bush in the garden, for the first time since the surgery. Until then I’d recovered very quickly post op and felt great.
    I’ve avoided having the hernia repaired until now, as I’ve no confidence in how long the next repair will last. However, I saw a different surgeon a few days ago and he says when they operate they will use mesh this time but he is going to do a CT scan with contrast first, to see what exactly’s going on. I’m not sure about the CT scan with contrast as some people react badly to the solutions used and I’m worried about the mesh too as lots of people seem to have problems with that. The surgeon said fluid can build up around the mesh and when this happens it needs to be removed by syringe. He warned that due to being slim the mesh could appear ‘lumpy’. At this point, I don’t know what to think. Has anyone else had two repairs and if so did you have mesh the second time? Can it be repaired well without ?
    I read some of you had problems ‘in the bathroom’ post op. I’d like to recommend the use of Epsom Salt for anyone who may have this problem. ‘Google’ Epsom Salt for further information.
    I wish you all the very best of health.

  35. I had umbilical hernia 2011,my second week of following check up i had a little rash and my wound was still healing the Dr.said it will be okay it will heal by its self…In 2012 Im back to work in heavy lifting,ive been having pain,discomfort,bloating,bowelments,drinking water ,eating i can feel little cramps ,thrs days i get strong pains.I feel preasure,it hurts whn i set,or driving,lifiting and leaning on the counter when im at work ringing customers.im on disability they been ingnoring my calls,they want to settle and i dont want to!! I need help !!ever.since my surgery ive been having these complications!!

  36. Hi its me again i forgot to mention iam going on 2 yrs with this!!Thrs pepole tell me that i might have an infection ,or they have to remove the mesh!!Any advive anyone???

  37. Hi Patty, it does sound as if you have another hernia. Mine too hurts when sitting, leaning on something, hurts to touch and just hurts on its own. I’m having a CT scan with resonance next Thursday to see what exactly is going on. Maybe that would help you to understand what’s going on better too. It may also be worth seeing another doctor for a second opinion.
    I hope you will find the help you need soon. Best of luck. Nina

  38. Hi, Thank goodness for google. :) otherwise I never would have found your blog :) I am 6 days out from my umbilical hernia surgery…..May 7th as a matter of fact. I’m what you might call an “impatient patient” and have been wondering if everything my body is going thru is what we could consider normal. After reading your story here I feel much better…..I had my son via c-section back in 2007 and for the last few years I have noticed a small bump above my belly button but it never bothered me until the Friday before my surgery when I experienced massive pain all along my mid-section and then my tiny little bumb grew….and then shrunk a bit……and then grew again….ahhh the joy…..well since the surgeryI have been having some pain (not one for pain killers but will take them when absolutely necessary) and I realize that there will be a hard bump as some of you have explained….it seemed like everything I had read before said it should be under the incision and since I had one right thru the belly button mine is above, and if I remember correctly my surgeon said I would feel it above. Well either way I could go on and on of course but I really just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience as so far it has settled what some might call my neurosis regardig the matter :) Take care!!

  39. Hi Tina, I can relate to your neurosis because that is how I felt the first week. I’m almost three weeks post op and I feel much better. I have no pain unless I sneeze. At my two week follow up the surgeon said the lump is scar tissue which should get smaller in time but I may always feel something there. The only complaint I have now is how non-existent and deformed by belly button looks. The surgeon reassured that it will look better in time. I guess a two piece is out of the question this summer but I guess that’s the least of it. Take it easy :)
    Monique

  40. I’m so impressed by the generosity of sharing on this post! Thank you all — and remember to come back and post your updates as things improve – as they will.

    For me it’s now almost exactly one year since my surgery. I can see the scar on the lower-edge of my bellybutton, but other than that you’d never even know anything happened. I work out as hard as ever and don’t even feel that funny twinge that was there several weeks/months after surgery. It’s like it never happens – and since it’s one year post-op hopefully it will stay that way.

    For those who have had to have multiple repairs — it seems like that does happen, and hope you are also stronger than ever when all is done.

    Thanks again.

  41. Thank you Monique, I appreciate it no 2 piece for me either :) and thank you again Moya for sharing your experience

  42. Hi,

    Thanks so much to those who have posted. It has been reassuring reading them. For those who are not doing well, I hope things get better for you quickly.

    My quick story is that I discovered an umbilical hernia on Thursday, May 17th, went to Emerg. and on Friday morning the 18th, had the operation…very lucky to have had the operation performed so quickly. I didn’t feel the need for any pain medication after the operation, again very lucky. I was told that my hernia was quite small. It was repaired without mesh.

    I’m back at work today. There is a bit of discomfort, I’m sure from around the incision, but things are returning to normal down there.

    As I’ve always been quite active I am hopeful that I wil be able to return to favourite activities. The posts here have made me hopeful that I wil be able to.

    One last note…I have asked people since my hernia event whether they had ever felt the area of their navel as vulnerable. The answer has been that they haven’t. I have always felt a bit of a sensitivity at this area so maybe it was just a matter of time – I’m now 57, before this happened. I’m now thinking I’ll lose a bit of the middle in case this helps to prevent a possible recurrence.

  43. Dave and all, please be a bit careful for a few weeks. I don’t have a horror story but I certainly do not have a fully healed incision after 7 weeks. My surgeon cauterized it two weeks ago, said that I could do anything I want to now, to cover it with a bandage and forget about it. He is more concerned with the internal repair, naturally, which seems to have gone well. My muscles can feel a bit worked out somedays, but I haven’t been working out! This is a great blog spot and Moya has set a lovely tone. I live in Toronto and could have gone to the Shouldice Clinic, pretty renowned for hernia surgeries without mesh, but I did not want to stay in hospital for three days. In hindsight this was probably shortsighted and dumb. Ha. I have a great surgeon and did have mesh, but the upside of that is that the chance of the hernia recurring is much less. The “I did not require mesh” gets to sound kind of like war stories, but I think the mesh has caused me some complications that I can never be sure of. Who knows? I feel much better and when my incision ever fully heals, I will return to swimming and yoga, which are kind of my thing. My belly is flat, I too have lost 10 lbs, and all other systems are go. But it was not a two week recovery for me. The “healing ridge” is dacron sutures y’all. My body does not like them, but they are getting familiar with one another. Good luck to all and thanks for your posts. TB.

  44. I am pretty much recovered…had my surgery on April 4th…the healing ridge is still there and slowly going away…BUT…I seem to have a small lump (tiny tip of a Q-tip head size) INSIDE my belly button – just to the right. It doesn’t really hurt but is slightly sensitive to the touch. * sigh * …I have no idea what this is and figure I will wait another month and if it’s still there go back to my surgeon and get it checked. Feeling a little bit frustrated to be honest. I noticed the tiny lump about a month after surgery…I am 7 weeks now. My 2 week follow up appointment went without incident but I was so swollen that you couldn’t get your finger into my belly button to find the lump. Could have been there at 2 weeks…don’t know. Could be scar tissue? Pretty sure it’s not another hernia back as I didn’t have a hard tiny lump as my hernia pre-surgery…will keep you posted…especially if I go back to the surgeon in a month! Love this thread…thanks for listening y’all….

  45. I had my surgery on May 17. I am wondering about a “measles” looking rash over my mid-section. Slightly itchy. I thought it was caused by a new body powder I used, but I stopped it and it is still there. What about those of you that had hives and/or rash? Did it go away on its own? How long did before it left? Thanks so much.

  46. Hi,

    One thing to add since the last time I put my two cents in. …to mesh or not to mesh seems to be open to debate still, with those who have had bad experiences on both sides warning of the possible consequences of use or non use of mesh. I have gathered that the use of sutures alone seems to increase the possibility of a hernia at the same site. The use of mesh appears to increase the likelihood of complications, especially pain at the site.

    Given my having the surgery the day after discovering the hernia I had no time to research this matter, but after having since looked a bit online (sort of like impulse buying and then looking to see if you got a good deal!), I have since wondered why my surgeon chose the non-mesh method.,… although I gather that umbilical surgeries are in general less likely to receive the mesh treatment.

    I am to see my surgeon June 5th for follow up and hope to ask her about this.

  47. Hey all.

    First to Sharon – If you are taking pain killers, they can definitely cause a mild rash. Itchiness was part of my healing process and as I have had other surgeries I know this can be true of wound healing. But opiates like Percocet etc, can also cause a mild rash and itchiness. Do not substitute my experiences for the inconclusive answers of your surgeon however :)

    Second, to Dave. To mesh or not. I did not mean to imply that there is a correct answer. My surgeon told me on consultation, that he would not decide to use mesh until he was able to see the problem. There was a chance, but not for sure. I had reasons for not wanting it, but I got it. Sometimes I think we can never have too much information, and sometimes I for sure can. I had a 4cm x 4cm flat mesh, and then the muscles closed over it. I have a great surgeon in his demeanor and in his aftercare. He came to see me in recovery and told me that because he was able to close my muscles over the meshed in hernia that it would be a strong repair. But as my previous posts indicate, I have also had a difficult recovery, and the “role of dimes” above my incision is going away no where fast at 7 weeks, and continues to hurt and protrude. Who knows what is best? I certainly know that i was not botched. I realize that there are people with a great amount of man made material in them, but I really did not want it. I have had problems with previous surgeries with my own tissue used as grafts. So to mesh or not is sometimes the question and an option. The Shouldice Clinic has built a whole reputation on NOT using mesh, but they have some questioning and suffering aftercare patients too. Some like me and others, lived with our hernias for years before seeking repair, and lots of others are up against what I was… An honest surgeon who would not guarantee that he would not use mesh to insure the best probable outcome. It is about probabilities I guess. Second guessing is a hobby of mine. This blog is a nice reassurance in the best of ways, only to know that other pretty smart and observant people are sharing their experience, and offering what comfort they can. There is room for some neurosis, but we must comfort the healing and temporarily afflicted too. It is only fair.

    I read my own body as most neurotics do. I suspect the small mesh implant has gone well, but that the incredible amount of thick, not solvable dacron sutures are not happy. Not a doctor, Tom.

    Sharon, report back on the rash…is it any better and why would you be using body powder on a recent surgical site? I doubt you did, but you know they scrub the cells off you for abdominal procedures and the skin is very sensitive after/ That plus maybe you were nicely drugged up and reactive to the pain meds? I hope you are feeling better.

  48. I am 34yrs old. I have been having abdominal pain for about a month now. My doctor ordered an ultrasound & it showed small cyst on my (R)kidney. Workup was done & the doctor said my kidney works 100% so no need to do anything with the cyst now.we’ll monitor it & check in about 6mos to see if anything changes. But,this didn’t stop my abdominal pain. He then started to say that my pain might be from “Fibromyalgia” which I know is what they usually “label” patients who complain about pain when there is nothing definitive found in tests(I know this coz I am an RN but my doctor sometimes forget that, I think) so after another 10days of suffering with pain, (after the ultrasound),i demanded to have something done to get to the bottom of my abdominal pain.He finally orders a CT scan of my abdomen & pelvis. They found a moderate size umbilical hernia containing fat only. My navel is not an outie, and so this never occured to me. My hernia is towards the right side on my navel and i have a bulge there. It never occured to me that it’s hernia as it did not present itself like an normal umbilical hernia where your navel becomes an outie. Anyway, my doctor goes on vacation right after my CT scan & the doctor that took over told me to “Wait” for my PCP(Primary CarePhysician) to address my umbilical hernia as everything else was normal & the kidney cyst was already addressed. This did not make me happy as my PCP wasn’t going back til 1st week of May. So I go in & see another doctor. She was really accommodating & said my pain is not usually where an umbilical hernia pain should be so she orders an Endoscopy as per recommendation of a Gastroentorogist that she consulted & after he reviewed my History, he thinks an endoscopy is warranted. That was done last May 23. GI said he didnt see any ulcerations but he took samples for a stomach & duodenum biopsy to be sure I don’t have anything there to be concerned about. He did say that my History of Gallbladder surgery(it was taken out in 2000) that my pain might be from my ducts, so he orders a MRCP, which is an MRI on my liver/bile/pancreatic ducts to see if I have any residual stones or blockages. And also said that he will refer me to a surgeon for repair of my hernia. Now,my concern is, I have read a lot of horror stories regarding Mesh use on hernia repairs. Is there an option to repair a moderate size hernia WITHOUT mesh? I do not work in the hospital (even if I am a nurse) so I do not know the options of Hernia Repair. PleAse let me know what or where I can get more info so I can learn about this before I go see a surgeon. Thank you so much for your thread. It’s the most helpful one I’ve encountered so far.

  49. Hi Hannah, I had an umbilical hernia with fatty tissue poking through as well – like you, I had no outie. I experienced pain for many months (almost 8) before they figured out it was a belly button hernia. My pain would come and go with my menstrual cycle – getting worse during menstruation. For awhile my doctors that it was endometriosis. When you pushed in on my belly button it was sore all around and felt a bit lumpy. It would get worse when I sat for long periods of time and stood up. The pain was bad when I bent up and down etc…I am a long distance runner and my belly button would get agitated after long runs as well. I went with the mesh as I am a very active person. (running, snowboarding, cycling etc). I didn’t want to take the risk of having it bust open again. Talk to your Surgeon & family doctor – I think they are the best bet re: deciding whether to go with the mesh or not. I hope this helps as we seem to have the same kind of umbilical hernia – I have always had a innie belly button – even with the hernia present!

  50. Hello,I am suppose to have belly button hernia repair surgery in June 2013. I am scared and nervous about it. I am 65 yrs old.But you all telling your experiences here has been very helpful to me.I have a large hernia and dont want the Lap.way done.But the old way done.I already have serious problems at times with constipation.Maybe I wont need mesh? I dont know. I had a Cat scan already. I also have heart problems.I hope those of you still in post op continue to heal well.

  51. Hello Dianna, I went old school too – regular incision (no lap)…I will tell you another amazing & very positive outcome is that my bowels are back to normal! I was suffering from constipation throughout my hernia issues…! I wish you a successful surgery!

  52. I am soooo glad to have found this posting! I am 43 and have had 2 kids by c section-
    I am one week post open umbilical (actually above my belly button) hernia repair- with mesh. When my surgeon opened me up- he said I actually had one large and 2 little hernias and that I had VERY thin tissue there that he felt would have defected again had he not used mesh.
    I am a bit sore (nothing huge)- the truss he wants me to wear is actually MORE painful than not wearing it!
    What troubles me is I still feel swollen/puffy in the stomach area – i Have always had a FLAT stomach- I work out 6 days a week and I have great ab definition. Now I feel like I look like a bit potbellied/pregnant!
    Is that swelling ‘normal’ still at the 7 day mark? I hope it goes down!! A friend asked if I could be having a reaction to the mesh- I have no other ‘symptoms’- significant pain, fever, redness, etc. Just feels strange to have a NOT flat stomach
    Thanks in advance and I will enjoy following your stories here!
    Cherie

  53. Hi Cherie – geez I am the reply Queen today! I am very fit too with a flat tummy – I am a runner – putting on average about 40 km a week before surgery. My tummy is STILL slightly bloated and I am 7 weeks post-opp…right now only able to run max 7 km per run and my belly button is getting sore after a long run like that…even now. My Surgeon told me that I ‘can’t break’ it…but to expect soreness if I push it too much…as an athlete the hardest thing is finding that sweet spot between craving the exercise I need and not pushing it too much. Hope that helps – I think it just takes time for our bodies to adjust and heal! Michelle

  54. Thanks Michelle!! I feel much better after your reply- someone suggested maybe I was having reaction to the mesh, which of COURSE put me into a total tailspin. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I took this much time completely off of some sort of activity (yoga, even!) I typically do programs like P90X, Insanity, and I have been enjoying Les Mills Combat ( a kickboxing, MMA type of thing) and also golf, etc. I need to burn off some Type A energy! I am getting antsy but know that I need to heal. Hoping that flat stomach comes back SOON :)

  55. I had my follow-up to surgery today. My surgery was on May 17, 2013 with a rash on my abdomen coming soon after. My surgeon feels sure it is a reaction to whatever it is they put all over before the surgery — resulting in contact dermatitis. Because it is only a nuisance and not aggravating, he suggests waiting for 3 weeks and re-checking then. Just a follow-up to my inquiry a few days ago.

  56. Oh thank you for replying to me! I am glad this blog/site is still active.I am having very hard stools of a normal color with alot of gas pain. Some days I can go and other days I cant go.I hope I dont have any blockage but a Cat Scan showed none 1 week ago.
    If you had a blockage where stools wouldnt past because of your hernia,would there be alot of pain? My hernia is 1 large one.Thank you for any helpful replies!~ Dianna

  57. I will be one week post op umbilical hernia repair tomorrow. I had my first in 2011 caused by pregnancy that was fixed without mesh. I don’t remember any issues with that surgery. Two weeks ago, I noticed what seemed like the hernia had reopened and something had pushed it’s way out. Doctor of course confirmed my suspicions and I was having surgery the next day. Doctor advised he would have to use mesh this time since it was bigger.
    After the surgery, the doctor told my husband my hernia incision had opened up when he performed a laparoscopic gallbladder removal in 2012.
    I too have a hard, painful lump and I look like I am pregnant. I am thin and very active and I am having a hard time with a swollen belly. It is great to know there are others out there with the same problem. I am really hoping it doesn’t take 6 months to go away.

  58. Hello All. Quick follow up to my last post. Doc appt today – the small hard q-tip size lump inside my belly button is the stitches (according to my doc). That and healing ridge are just gonna take time to disappear. He said it can be months and months before all the lumps and bumps go away. I am pushing it a bit re: running and I notice for sure I am sore after I push too hard…he said that this is normal as well!

  59. Hello..I’m so glad I found this site..
    This was very helpful and makes me feel ready for my surgery on JUne 10,2013 morning.
    Hope everything went well to me after surgery..
    Thank you..been so nervous when the days passing by :(

  60. Hi Weng, I was also so relieved to find this site. I wrote back in April, a few days after my surgery. It’s been six weeks since my surgery and I’m feeling great. At least by having read all the comment you know a few things to expect after surgery, things that surgeons generally don’t tell you. Good luck and keep us posted :-)

  61. Hi Monique, yes indeed..this site was really helpful..I’ve read all the comments and replies from the beggining and it does change my decision to under go surgeon,although this is the very first time I heard about umbilical hernia surgery here in the Philippines ,..I really did change my mind not to repair it but it did really giving me trouble already and I’m not comfortable with it..
    Because of this site I become brave..I’m ready!
    Promise to get back after my surgery :)

  62. Hi again,
    I am doing well 2 1/2 weeks after surgery and hope everyone else who reads this,…has a nice day!

    This is a follow up to a previous post….. I met the surgeon today for a checkup. My main question for her was why I received the suture treatment and not the mesh. The answer was that she makes her decision based on the perceived best treatment. My hernia was quite small she said, about 7.5 mm. I also asked her why it happened and she said not to worry about this. As a result of the hernia, I made my own decision to treat this as a wakeup call and take some weight off my middle. ‘Dave tries to halt Middle Age Spread’.

    Thanks again to all who have posted here, but especially Moya Watson for making this forum available. As others have said, it has been quite helpful.

    Best wishes to all!

  63. Before your surgery did you have alot of gas pain?
    Did anyone here have a large belly button hernia fixed?

  64. Thank you for all the helpful comments. I am scheduled for umbilical hernia surgery (mesh) tomorrow morning. It is calming to have a better idea of what to expect. I will definitely ask about taking ibuprofin with the prescribed pain meds. Thank you also for mentioning that detail, about pain meds, Moya, because I wouldn’t have thought to tell them I don’t want vicodin – I have taken that before and it really makes me feel awful! I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience as it is very helpful. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this conversation! I might have saved myself some trouble had I had access to this kind of exchange of info./experiences when I had emergency gallbladder surgery. Many important details about post-operative care do not get mentioned or are misunderstood in the haziness of post-surgery experience.

  65. Wow looks like everybody’s doing pretty well!

    Sharon — interesting that your surgeon said the rash was likely contact dermatitis. I had something similar and figured it was some reaction to the painkillers like others have said, but also thought it was because the tape thing that covered up the gauze wrap. Seems like the latter may be true. Hope things are looking good now.

    Dianna — it seems like your pain is *before* surgery — I’m not sure we have anyone representing that in particular — the pain with constipation for me was really afterwards due to the painkiller stuff. Hope things resolve after your surgery? Is your surgery scheduled soon?

    Casey — oh no – sorry for the second hernia. That’s interesting about the relationship with gallbladder surgery. My trainer Stephanie just had hernia repair and they said it might have been related to scar tissue from a previous appendectomy – curious! check it out: http://bodybystephanie.com/blog/2013/5/17/inguinal-hernia-repair — hope you’re also just a matter of weeks away from feeling recovered.

    Hi Michelle — great that your surgeon is reassuring. Glad you are getting back into the running and good luck that — and thanks for begin “reply queen” :) you’re putting a lot of folks at ease.

    Hi Weng — wow – so you had no information on umbilical hernia surgery there? I admit I had never known anyone who had endured this before my surgery a year ago, but it’s pretty neat to see we’re not alone, right? Your surgery was yesterday – so you must be on day 2 of recovery today — the worst day for me :) — things get better from here – let us know if you get a chance.

    Dave — thank you for your nice comments — I admit it’s the most comments I’ve ever gotten on a post – but if people are coming here and finding it important, I’ll definitely leave up the chance to interact! And glad you’re finding a New Improved Dave after your surgery!

    Lastly Teresa — your surgery was today — thinking good thoughts. Yeah Vicodin is so depressing for me. Not sure I liked Percocet better but maybe had I taken the Ibuprofen combo it would have gone better — let us know if you get a chance how it’s going and take care!

  66. In July I am having surgery…..Is common to have alot of gas pain when you have a large belly button hernia? I get alot of gas pain but can still pass BMS,but they are hard. And hard to pass. I have to take something for this gas pain for it hurts. Thank you for replying.

  67. Just had umbilical Hermia surgery 8 hours ago. It went well and no pain at this time!! Took one Loratab at noon just in case but not sure it was needed. I do already have like the roll of dimes feeling along the top of navel. Assuming its swelling of insion sight. Do have a question.. will it be comfortable or wise to sleep on stomach? Also is it a problem to push up with arms to get out of recliner? Don’t want to tear anything.

  68. Hello everyone :)))
    I’m on day 4 recovery and I can say that I feel a lot more better than last 2 days after surgery..day 1 is the worse of all, the effect of pain killers really annoying…my anesthesologist gave me 3 types of anesthesia..one is she put me on sleep.second was spinal cord then the thing they call it morphine..
    We insist and talk to her and my surgeon about that coz I had a traumatic experience from my ceasarian operation 2 years ago…we are also aware of the morphine effects that I did really experience.the nausea and body itchiness lasted 24 hrs after surgery..I was like some sort of having skin disease scratching everywhere and it did really shit myself and my husband..but then I straight away move up but of course I’m still on anesthesia..lol! A less pain tolerance like me is so imposibble to stand up just after the surgery :D
    Still can’t move much yet at the moment although I don’t have much pain anymmore, I still have a tube that suck fluid inside my stomach where they put on the mesh..my next doctor appoinment is on the 18th,he will remove the tube.
    My stomach is bigger than before my surgery but I think thisis normal.
    Ha d

  69. Its me again…
    Had a problem on BMS after my surgery and it does really added a lot more pain than the stitches hey..the doctor gave me medicine for that but took whole night before jt does work to me..
    Aside from all those bad experience I feel brand new…
    I took my shower this morning and when I look down my belly button wow! I can’t hardly tell where my 3 lumps before..its all gone..except of course the stitches are there hahhahha but as long as I healthy and kicking i don’t care about my scars..
    I just wish an early removal of these hose still hanging on my tummy and need to drain it every 8 hrs..
    Question: does anyone had this tube connected inside stomach when having a mesh application? The doctor said it does suck fluid around the mesh…
    I am taking celebrex for my pain killer and unasyn for anti bacteria for 5 days starting yesterday..
    I am looking forward to get back on my everyday moves and work..
    Take care every one :))

  70. Just noticed of the date its June 14th her in the Philippines that’s why I said its my 4th day of recovery..

  71. Hey Weng – great to hear you are feeling good – take it easy (that’s my advice) and let that area heal up! Personally I slept on my back after the surgery…wedged myself between a bunch of pillows!

    Update on me: that q-tip size lump inside my belly button is getting smaller and smaller…I am running again 7+ km per run and no pain! The healing ridge is almost gone (still there) and the only thing that seems to aggravate the area is stretching (you know up into a cupboard to grab something).

    I am now 10 weeks post opp. To be honest it took longer than I thought but each one of us is different.

    One thing to confirm: I DID have belly button pain BEFORE the surgery. It got worse when I was menstruating (surgeon thinks that all the swelling/bloating with cycle put pressure on the fatty tissue that was poking out!). It also hurt when I leaned into the counter when doing dishes etc.

    All of that is GONE – I am SO THANKFUL. No pain in the belly button after a long run AND I used to get bad stitches on runs – those are gone too = yahoo!

  72. I am moving soon but got a surgeon who wants to do hernia surgery 60 miles away in the big city.I dont think I can go that far. There is where I am moving to last week in June,a small hospital about 15 miles away from where I will be living. Do you in your opinion think I should have the surgery done closer to home?

  73. I am having a laprascopic umbilical hernia repair and i am scared about the mesh- i don’t want to use it and what is the recovery time? My stomach is really bloated now and especially after i eat. i see the surgeon on wednesday to discuss this any help or advice is appreciated!

  74. Dianna – Have you spoken with your Doctor about this? My guess is what the best Surgeon for the job…I traveled 150 KM (one way) to have my hernia repair…it was day surgery and my husband tucked me into the car and drove me home – same day as the surgery (I just put the seat down and slept on the way home). Talk to your family doctor about who may be the most experienced surgeon for the job. I traveled that far as I really trusted and liked the Surgeon!

    Shannon – I think you will find a bunch of information on the internet about the good/bad/ugly and everything in between re: mesh. I think your Surgeon, family doctor and you can be the only people to decide if you go with the mesh. I had it because I am so active that my surgeon guessed if I didn’t have it…my hernia would just come back. I am now 11 weeks post surgery/open surgery/mesh and I am back to running about 25 km a week! Talk to your Surgeon…I still have a small healing ridge but I don’t think about it anymore!!!

    Hope this helps. cheers, Michelle

  75. Michelle, Thanks for the reply! :) you are right about all the information, its so scary, I will keep you posted, I see the surgeon tomorrow moring…

  76. Michelle, I met with a surgeon yesterday and he thinks I also have gallbladder issues too. He ordered an abdominal ultrasound and hida scan but I didnt get a good feeling with that dr. So I have found another and I see him on July 3rd. Its another waiting game but i have heard good things about him. :)

  77. I.am 2 days out of surgery I am glad my kids are off from school to help.me up.I need help getting up and sitting down I had a big tear the size of a quarter requiring mesh the pain is getting less but still need help getting up and back down I haven’t heard anybody else needing help without my kids and wife I wouldn’t be able to get up

  78. Hi Doug —
    I definitely have heard of people having a hard time getting up by themselves after mesh surgery, especially in the first couple of days. It’s four days out for you now and I hope you are past the worst! take care.

  79. Thanks for this shared experience. I need the same surgery. Have waited probably to long . Right now is not a good time as we will probably be moving soon..everything kind of up in the air right now . But concerned because I am seeing my hernia getting bigger and more bothersome. Husband legally blind , no family nearby, will have to ask a friend to drive. Will try the ice to see if it will go down Thanks again!!

  80. My doctor told me that I am not in the serious category, so my surgery is put on hold till after the Summer 2013. I have excess weight so each time I eat, that thing protrudes somewhat and I hate the feeling, it doesn’t pop out, it’s just that feeling around the belly button that feels like I had too much eat. I lost weight about a month ago and was feeling great, the umbilical area wasn’t protruding and I stopped feeling it every second of the day, ugh! I had told the doctor that I wanted to lose weight before the surgery as I don’t want more problems with belly fat. I am glad that you mentioned all that you mentioned. One of my concerns was the mesh. I heard so much negativity on the net that it kind of spooked me. So I discussed that with my doctor which he looked at me puzzled as to why I would read such nonsense as most of his patients come through fine. My worry and hope that if it’s only a micro tear he will just sew it up without mesh. Since that time I have succumbed to mesh therapy if he needs to use it and place myself in the hands of God.

  81. Hi all. This blog is great. I myself noticed a small bulge in/around my belly button on Wednesday July 3rd mainly because I had some pain bending over. Thursday and Friday it wasn’t as painful so I didn’t really notice or think about it. Saturday morning (yesterday), it started hurting again so I did some (ok, a lot of) research and am almost positive this is what is going on. I have the feeling of bloating/gas pressure especially after I eat. I’m going to call my GI (as I am a patient because of my Ulcerative Colitis) and see if they can schedule me in even though its usually a few week wait to get in there. Very nervous about the procedure as I HATE going under for surgeries and the recovery time seems pretty long. I’m 29 and a bit over weight but I do go to the gym (lifting and running) a couple of times a week. The day before I discovered the lump I had done some strenuous lifting and activity including but not limited to lifting couches (by myself) in my living room to rearrange. I am wondering if that wasn’t what did it. Either way, I am calling tomorrow and hope to know more soon.

  82. I am so happy to read this here. My husband has had an umbilical hernia for a few years now. Last year he saw our new GP who verified that it was a hernia and put in a request for a surgeon, this month he got his first letter to visit the surgeon regarding this. This will be his first surgery since he was 3 years old. He is 43 and I’m so worried about him. He is always the strong one and I am weak. We have a very large jumpy dog that I will have to keep away from him while he heals.

    I love all the tips especially about the constipation, what other things would you suggest a spouse can do to aid in the healing process? He seems to think he’ll be back to new and working again within a day or two, the surgery will most likely occur during his busiest work time and he is a one-man-show. How long do you need to be off work?

  83. I appreciated a more bland diet in the beginning. There is a difference of opinion on whether or not to cut back on fats in the beginning. I went low-fat for a week or so. If you are the meal planner, you may wish to take that into consideration.

    If you sleep together, you may wish to give him a little more space than usual. It is hard to move around in the bed when your stomach muscles hurt to use. However, I slept on the edge of the bed b/c it helped with getting in and out.

    Being available to get things he may forget would be a kindness. Getting up out of the chair in the beginning uses sore stomach muscles too.

    You may need to remind him to get up from his desk or his recliner to walk around every 1-1/2 to 2 hours. This helps to prevent blood clots. … Very important after surgery.

    Good luck and God bless you both.

  84. Hi Sharon, I had my surgery on April 24 th and wrote in a few times afterwards. I’m finally going back to work next week after 3 months. I’m a physical therapist so my job entails heavy lifting. My surgeon said I can go back to work with no restrictions after 3 months. I think it all depends on your husband’s line of work. If he has a desk job I’m assuming within a week or two. The person to give you the most accurate answer would definitely be the surgeon.
    It’s very difficult performing daily living activities right after the surgery especially getting in and out of bed/chair. He may need your help with that. I wish your husband the best. Good luck!

  85. i have a question those of you that had hernia surgery did your stomach go back to normal? I had surgery this past Monday for my hernia that was under my belly button and also had muscle separation repair. My belly does not look anything like before it looks horrible in my eyes. How many months did it take for your belly to go back to normal and what type of exercises did you do once you were given the ok to work out?

    thanks

    Monica

  86. Deborah – did the ice work? As long as your hernia isn’t strangulated, I understand it isn’t an urgent surgery. Hope things are going to resolve soon for you!

    Karl – I don’t know of issues anymore with mesh though I didn’t have mesh myself.

    Mitch – self-diagnosis FTW! :) Hope your mind is at rest and you have answers, and next steps, so you can get back to your gym.

    Melissa – what a great question – how to help a spouse/partner, and thanks Sharon and Monique for chiming in. I was overly optimistic and thought I’d be working the next day, which I did, but from home. With all the digestive issues I didn’t feel like being at work for about a week. But others are back right away. I think just you being there to lean on will be a great help.

    And Monica — you’re very early in your recovery. Every day it will get better. My belly looks like nothing happened now. After six weeks when I went back to the gym, my trainer started with gentle pelvic floor things — but were right back into it after that.

    take care, all.

  87. I was diagnosed with exactly what I thought it was. Umbilical hernia. My surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday the 17th. My surgeon was great at easing my mind. Apparently I have a smaller hernia but it wont go in when you push on it yet its not exactly strangulated either. Im a stay at home dad to my 19 month old son. Not picking him up for a few weeks will be tough but my wife, family, friends and neighbors have all expressed a willingness to help until Im able to safely lift him. Surgeon said 3 to 4 weeks before that can happen. Ill keep everyone posted.

  88. I had a mesh repair July 10, and was so thankful to find this thread the first day or two. I felt very unprepared for the post-op pain and how hard it was to do the simplest things (like get up!) So helpful to hear from others who have been there! It is getting better each day, but I’m so ready to cuddle my littles (2-1/2 mos and 2 yrs) and my older kids! I’ve had my hernia for 6 years, found it while pregnant with my 3rd. (I have 6 kiddos).

  89. My grandmother supposedly had umbilical hernia for years but was on,y told now that she had it. Please, what surgeon and doctor did u get ur surgery and do u recommend him.

  90. Been 2 and a half weeks since I had umbilical hernia surgery and my belly button actually looks like its inside out and is protruding, is this normal after surgery as I have always had an innie.

  91. I had my umbilical hernia surgery on Thursday. Today is Saturday. The pain has not been too bad ……until today. I have a feeling I received a pain blocker for the first few days. I have always heard that pain is worse on the third day. I can attest to that. I can deal with the pain – My main concern now is constipation. I feel like a balloon ready to burst but nothing happens and lots of gas. I guess part of it is fear of straining and doing something to the surgical area. If nothing happens soon, I will try the supository approach. I also read the info above about the prunes. I have taken stool softeners for a long time since colon resectioning 4 years ago as recommemded by my colon doctor.
    At this point I do not know if I have an inne or an outtie. I think the bandages are to come off in about 5 more days and I see the surgeon in about 2 weeks.
    I sat in my car yesterday…..just to check things out about driving….the seat belt comes right across the surgiclal area. So, I guess towels or some cushion when I am ready to take to the roads.
    Thanks or this blog. I find it very interesting with lots of good suggestions and support..

  92. Hi all. Just a few comments and updates. I am never too brief.

    I was given stool softeners post surgery and they did not work at all. By day five I was pretty desperate, so took a drugstore enema. It worked of course, but I don’t recommend it because of the position you have to assume to use it. It was painful to get down and back up if you know what I mean? When I saw my surgeon, he said Milk of Magnesia is a much safer and simpler approach and that it works within two hours. i had further trouble with constipation in the first two weeks so I took it and he was correct. I am all for taking a medicine over a prune, but it really does depends on your system, belief and otherwise…

    As I previously mentioned I had an infection of the incision and my healing was delayed and I was on antibiotics and pain meds for about two weeks, not the norm. I did have mesh and the swelling and discomfort and difficultly in bending and getting up were pretty bad for about one month. Eventually the surgeon had to cauterize the incision to expedite the incision healing. It has been almost four months now since my surgery. My navel did protrude a bit from so much swelling but has receded to an innie. There is a less than perfect cosmetic outcome due to the incision being infected, so I call my navel “the third eye”. It is the right shape but a little bizarre looking. I may put some lashes and eye shadow on it for Halloween:)

    I am pretty sure I can sometimes feel the mesh, but I am no longer in any pain and my stomach has flattened. I can do all the things I did before, some with more ease. I do still have a healing ridge and have been told this can take a long time to go away and may not ever completely disappear. It is good to exercise this area when allowed, somewhere after six weeks for most people. It helps to break up the potential tightening of scar tissue, especially if you have had mesh. Of course we need to work our stomach muscles as they have been cut and sewn back together. I am not a weight lifter, but have been swimming and doing Yoga, and some back friendly abdominal exercises. Follow your surgeon’s instructions. Walking is fine if that is all you can do.

    I was alone and had no assistance during my recovery, but did have friends grocery shop for me and was very diligent about not lifting over 10 lbs for the first month. I was told that getting up and down, simple bending movements would not put my operation at risk, no matter if it hurt or not. As some of you know, these type of movements tend to hurt. I had flat mesh, and the muscles closed over it, so it is supposed to be a very strong repair. I last saw my surgeon at two months post surgery, and he told me all was very good, but that the full healing can take up to a year, especially in terms of how things look! So try not to be discouraged or as freaked out as I was during the first couple of weeks after surgery. It should get better. I see my surgeon again next week, and he will see me once more after six months. He has been great, both on the phone and in person. He not only cares about his work, but he remembers it. Not all of them do. I consider myself lucky. Even if they don’t make one piece bathing suits for men, at least i have located my third eye. I prefer it over the alien baby bump I had before. My stomach is much smoother and flatter too! No pain. No prunes. Hernia gone.

    Good luck and healing to all. I hope the summer finds you well Moya and rocking that tiny bikini! (somehow I doubt that is your style:) Tom.

  93. > I may put some lashes and eye shadow on it for Halloween:)

    Haha Tom! thanks for that update. It’s been a hard recovery for you — but you’re nearly good as new and with a third eye, sounds like. And right, I lose no sleep over not wearing that tiny bikini anyway – sounds like you understand me.

    How’s it going Mitch? you’re 10 days into recovery.

    Melanie so glad to hear you founds some support in this threat — six kids! wow! great that you’ve fixed your hernia, because that’s a lot of lifting :) Hopefully you are back to it soon.

    Jurema we don’t know where you live but I hope your surgeons are helping put your grandma and your minds at ease.

    Kurt my belly button’s not perfect now but it’s pretty much the innie that it was. And maybe not quite interesting enough to be a halloween costume. :)

    Thanks Mitchell for sharing your experience and hope the driving is working fine. And the bowels…

  94. Actually in to day 3 of recovery and now that I have passed some gas and had a slight BM things are better. I am not driving yet and feel the soreness and redness will subside in a few days. Thanks for all the support.

  95. Hello Moya, thanks so much for this blog post! I found it about a week before my umbilical hernia surgery which I just had on Tuesday. I was surprised by how sore I have been and see that I will have to take it easy for some time. I’m not used to sitting still so have been puttering around, maybe waddling too much around the yard, some gardening, did some dishes even because I felt bad for my husband who is doing everything, watering my gardens etc etc..
    But I should be careful. The incision is quite small and surprisingly on the underside of the bellybutton when the hernia was sort of above it, but it really hurts inside.
    I had a tiny hernia, so just had sutures, thankfully the surgeon tries to avoid mesh as much as possible. I thought I had a hernia for a long long time, but no doctors believed me and assumed the pain was ibs, which is another story… It had been getting worse and worse and then early May something got stuck and it was definitely needing attention. I wish I had gone to ER because they would have operated then and there I later found out…but went to the medical clinic. It wasn’t strangulated, just needed to be popped back, and I have had to wait until this past week for surgery.
    Anyway, when the hernia got bad in May, I could no longer really lift or push much of anything without major pain so stopped doing most things and I am very active! I realized I was being a bit silly and started doing some basic exercises again that didn’t hurt the hernia, even did 100 squats the morning of surgery! I was told to wait 6 weeks before starting anything athletic again, but wonder about swimming and cycling?
    Oh and I had constipation problems, yikes! My husband didn’t believe me, nor did he listen to the pharmacist when he picked up the painkillers so I was not happy. He finally had to return to the store for me. Prune juice helped and my husband brought home castor oil which works very well. I don’t really like taking tylenol 3, but felt the pain was bad enough, though am taking occasionally now. I have managed a few walks, but I live in the country and it’s all hilly, so not exactly easy going!
    My belly is also quite swollen as if I am pregnant(and I had a flat stomach too).
    But thank you so much for the posting and all the other commenters, it gave me an idea of what to expect and not to be too alarmed by what is happening and how I am feeling. It feels like there are tiny sharp knives inside my tummy and whenever I try to get up from or get down into a chair or bed the knives stab stab stab!

  96. It is after hours and I can’t call the doctor. I do not recall when he said to remove the bandage. I THINK it was after 7 days. Any ideas? I did not get mesh!!!!! Thanks

  97. Hi my name is Megan I’m 24 and have 3 boys 1 turning 7 on tues a 4 yr old and my baby just turned 11 months today I got my umbilical hernia from lifting my oldest so much while preggo with my 2nd. I couldn’t get a lot of information about my surgery at my consultation because i had to bring all 3 into the tiny room with me (no sitter) and it was very hard for us to talk, but I do know that my surgeon plans on using a mesh and sutures my surgery is scheduled for sept 24th at 3pm (i have to get there at 1 pm) I’m nervous about what to expect in the 2 hrs beforehand and a little confused at how late in the day my surgery will be- will this keep me from leaving that same day? It’s at a hospital I’ve never been to before and my husband works 12 to 14 hr days I will be caring for my boys alone 2 days later as he was only able to take 2 days off and my 11 month old cant walk and weighs over 20 lbs I don’t get much help so I’m extremely worried my husband helps as much as he can but he’s the only one in the house that works and we need the money will I be able to lift my baby? How long does the surgery last? Is there a way to get maybe an at home nurse or something? (i have masshealth) I have no one that can help me and I’m going to have to drag my kids up and down my narrow rickety steps and walk around 40 mins (counting the way there and back) to walk my oldest to and from school each day is there a temporary way the school department helps with a schoolbus?

  98. My name is Robert, tomorrow is the big day for me. I have to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. The surgeon is going to use mesh. I am not really looking forward to it but i just want it over with. I had my right hip replaced 5 weeks ago. I figured as long as i was out of work recovering from that i should get this done too.

  99. Hi Megan — wow sounds like you have a very heavy load! I know how it is not being able to have a conversation — and I only have one kid. I think the first two days are the roughest after surgery so you should be past the worst of it, but definitely talk to your doctor about how you are likely to have to lift your kids. That’s so rough – I know the kids need to be picked up and held. I don’t think you need to worry about being overnight at the hospital. Though I didn’t have mesh, my trainer did – definitely check out her post to get some sense of what it might be like for you:
    http://bodybystephanie.com/blog/2013/5/17/inguinal-hernia-repair

    Hi Robert –
    Good luck today — sounds like you’re having a party with all your surgeries :)
    You can also give Megan an idea of what to expect.

    Take care, all

  100. I am back home from surgery. Not too bad. Some pain but nothing i cant handle. Coughing is the most difficult thing so far, I went into surgery at 7:30 and was awake in recovery at 9:30. I was given a perscription for Hydrocodone but havent taken it yet. Right now i am using an ice pack. So far so good, but i know its early yet.

    Robert

  101. Robert -
    I just came from my follow up meeting with my doctor. I had surgery July 25. All looks great.
    HINT # 1 : Take the pain medicine even though you are not in pains so it will build up in the system so when you need it , it can kick in. My doctors always tell me to do this. I did it also when I had colon surgery.
    Hint 2: When you stand up -put a pillow on your stomach and pull it in as you stand. Helps a lot.
    Hint 3: Drink lots of water to get the anesthetic out of the system and help the antibiotics to work – alos the pain medication.
    Hint 4: Eat lots of yogurt or take PAROBIOTICS to counteract the antibiotic.
    Hint 5: Do not panic when you see your stomach is black and blue. This is normal in most cases.
    Follow the above for your comfort. I am in day 17 and can barely tell I have had surgery.
    REST!!!!!

  102. Thanks Moya the link you sent helped me feel a little better I just want to hurry up and get the surgery done and over with the anxiety is killing me lol I can’t sleep very well i keep having panic attacks and I went from 98lbs to 96 in 3 days I’m considering calling my surgeon for an appointment so that my husband an I can ask him exactly what he’s going to do and see if maybe I can get some sleep or anxiety meds reading all of the comments is very helpful though knowing that I’m not alone and that there are plenty of other mothers with even more children than me have made it through this! I look forward to each new comment and on the 24th (next month) I will definitely be sharing my own experience

  103. I am now almost 5 weeks post-op and feeling pretty good. I did have to go back to see the dr. about a week and a half ago–I was having swelling, redness/purplish on one half of my belly button. Went in and had it lanced: no infection, it was a hematoma, basically a blood blister under there, I can only figure it was from my seat belt buckle kind of hitting my belly button one time. My belly button had seemed like it had a ping-pong ball under it since surgery, but after my dr. squeezed out the “currant jelly” from the hematoma, my belly button finally resembled an ‘innie’ again! And then I could feel the ‘healing ridge’ others mentioned, instead of the round ball under there.

    Anyway, Megan, just wanted to share that I was incredibly anxious about my surgery too. Anxious about the surgery itself, but also very stressed about taking care of my kids afterward. As for how long the actual surgery lasted, I think it was 1-2 hours. I was released from the hospital as soon as I could use the bathroom, walk, and the pain was under control. The first time I tried to get up after surgery I got really nauseous as soon as I put my legs on the floor, so I laid back down and rested for awhile and then was able to walk to the bathroom without nausea. My surgeon’s restrictions for me post-op were no heavy lifting (30 lbs+) and no ab workouts for 6 weeks. My 3-mo old was around 15 lbs at the time, and I had help from my mom, husband, and older kids so that I really didn’t pick up the baby for a week, and very limited for another week after that. I definitely think asking about a home nurse or something would be beneficial–even if your dr. gives you the okay to lift your 11-mo old, it might be painful to do so. I have been changing my 2-yr old (30 lbs) on the floor, and having her climb into her own carseat, etc. so I don’t have to lift her. I just have to make myself allow extra time for that, can’t just pick her up and put her where I need her! I read another mom’s post somewhere else about getting creative to not lift: rocking her babe to sleep on the floor and letting her husband put him in the crib when he got home; kneeling on one knee to let her toddler use her other knee as a step to climb into the car, etc. I can see why you would be concerned about toting your 11-mo old up and down the stairs to get to and from school! You could sit on the stairs with your 11-mo old on your lap and scoot down on your rear maybe? Any possibilities of a friend taking your oldest to school for a week or two? Everyone’s recovery is different, but I really did not feel up to doing much at all until day 4 or 5 post-op. I hope all goes well for you, I think you are off to a great start since you found this blog thread before your surgery. I wish I had–it would have helped a ton with knowing what to expect!

    Robert-those are all very helpful hints that I would agree with!

    I would also recommend as some above have, to take a stool softener, even if the hospital doesn’t think it’s necessary.

  104. Melanie thanks for the tip scooting down the stairs is actually a good idea lol not sure about the help yet so I will be inquiring about a nurse my husband leaves before we’re all up but I’m thinking that he could pull the baby out of his crib before he leaves and laying him down on the bed with me where I can more easily lift him (obviously ill have to wake up because I don’t want to roll over on him or anything) he’ll be a yr old by the time I have my surgery so I’m hoping he’ll be walking a bit and rocking him to sleep on the floor until my husband can put him to sleep is a great idea luckily my 4 yr old will be with his dad for the first week so that’s a big load off my shoulders :) my almost 7 year old is also always trying to help me with stuff so my lil man will be looking out for me ;) I’m teaching him how to call 911 in case of emergency and my husbands cell if its not as urgent I’m trying to find ways to explain to him that ill have a “boo-boo” without scaring him or my 4 yr old other than that I’m just trying to relax and take it day by day my dr wants to see me tomorrow because my stomach has been swollen and painful all day and my hernia is sticking out a little more than usual so we’ll see how that goes

  105. It is a shame your husband can’t take 3 days off. YOU ARE NOT TO LIFT ANYTHING HEAVIER than a MILK JUG for 3 days al least. Come on hubby…..you are needed to help.

  106. He was able to get 2 days off but he’s the only one that works and we need the money he does feel awful about it and I’m sure he plans to spoil me rotten for those 2 days :)

  107. His boss should be ashamed of himself/herself. They should give him a week. Money is not as important as health.

  108. I agree it sucks when the family gets punished simply because he’s one of their best workers they don’t want the lazy ones to be on his run well then maybe you should hire people who actually want to work lol there’s plenty of ppl out there that would kill for a job and if we could go without that check he’d probably insist on taking the first week off there’s no way they’d fire one of their best workers for a medical “emergency” (if that’s a good way to word it) but we will make it through this I’m going through every friend and family member we’ve got I’m not the type of person that asks for help when I need it so its awkward but it’s going to ensure that the children are safe and cared for properly so ill do whatever it takes

  109. Will continue to pray for you. Maybe a social agency or churg group would have volunteers who could help after the husband goes back to work. NO family? Good luck.

  110. Thank you for sharing your story and your to-do list! I think I’m facing this soon myself. I had a regular doc check and she kept messing with the area around my belly. She dug in deep and last night I was in pain. I iced and took an ibuprofen and that helped. Little scared but I haven’t been able to do pushups for months because I would be in pain afterwards. Anyway, thank you. This is the best post I’ve read.

  111. Thanks for the hints Mitchell. I am on day two. I finally took something for pain last night, it allowed me to get some sleep. (It also took care of the hip replacment pain.)The pain is worse today but still managable. Getting up from a seated position is difficult. I do have a adjustsble bed that puts me in a full seated position that makes it much easier getting in and out of bed. I am anxious to take the bandages off tomorrow so i can see what it looks like, and so i can shower.

  112. Hello All
    This is really good blog. My name is Karen. I had umbilical hernia repair just with stiches along with Gallbladder about 4 weeks ago.. Yes, i went for both at the same time. I lifted some suitcases and I felt hernia with in hour. Doctor called my hernia umbilical but they were like 1/2 were almost on top of the belly button and 1/2 inside the belly button. Now after 4 weeks my hernia repair are still hurts and very tender. Upper abdomens area between the belly button and below my bra area it feels very hard when I am in sitting or standing. I hope it is not big hernia coming up. I see no bulge. Has anyone has this hard feeling of upper abdomen area with hernia repair no mesh.

  113. Day 3: the unveiling…. I took the bandages off today. I was surprised what it looks like. I again have a navel. I kind of expected more blood and kind of a mess where the “innie” should be . It looks like a regular ordinary navel. The incision above it is about 2″ long with stitches and steri strips. Very neat and looks normal. Hopefully it will look even better when the swelling goes down. Still quite a bit of pain but not as bad as yesterday. Should only get better from here.

  114. Thank goodness I had little pain. I think mysurgeon gave me a pain blocker for the first 2 days. I took the pain meds as instructed. He said to take them even if not in pain so it could build up in my system. Great advice. When getting up hold a pillow to your stomach. BIG difference. I had about a 2 inch incision above the navel as well. I still have an innie…some swelling but it is going away. Good luck!!

  115. Just over 3 weeks since surgery, and I think I overdid things a bit. I’ve been taking it easy, walking on nature trails a bit troublesome(no sidewalks in my rural neck of the woods!) but other day I did something in the garden without asking my husband to help and oh it hurts. The pain had been going away with just pain in the repaired area here and there, and was able to lift little things without much pain, but now it hurts, worried I pulled stitches or something. It could just be that I strained the muscles trying to knit back together? The overall swollen belly is also going down and feeling the sutures, scar tissue, healing ridge. My incision is quite small, healing but still very tender, and for the record I had no bruising! I can’t get in to see the surgeon for follow up until early september, my doctor is on holiday so have an appointment with someone on tuesday, wasn’t sure if I should go to the walk in clinic. Should I be concerned about the pain and get it looked at asap?

  116. Hi Heather – I seem to be doing this too…my surgeon said that ‘you can’t break it, BUT if you overdo it – the area will get sore’ – I am 4 months along and twice now I have strained the area (2 small boys to run after = enough said) anyways / for me it takes a few weeks to get back to feeling normal again. You can always follow up with your GP if you are concerned. I got the mesh and my surgeon said that my belly button and repair is stronger than it was before the repair. Hope this helps!

  117. Day 6. Big difference. I can sit up from laying down with little or no pain. I am able to bend down and pick something up off the floor without a problem.Pain is still there but not nearly as bad as it was. It feels like I was punched in the stomach. I would think the mesh must move as we go through different motions and as we heal and go through all those motions it will settle into a position that is comfortable, eventually. I am also to sleep all night which makes a big difference. Hope anyone else healing is doing good.

  118. Hi, I had surgery..for a umbilical hernia…and I hve that same hard feeling arround my belly Button?! I am wondering if yours very went away, or If the feeling Is still there? II am just concerned, and I appreciate your response! :)

  119. I am at 3 weeks today. I do still have the hard feeling around my belly button. It is normal. Did you have mesh? The mesh is circular and is pushed through the hole then sutured to the muscle wall. The navel is then pulled in and sutured to the muscle wall. The muscle is closed with internal sutures thats where the incision feels bunched up inside. My external incision was glued shut . Hope you feel better.

  120. I am at 5 weeks. The area around the navel will always feel hard accordig to my surgeon. It is scar tissue. I did not have the mesh. I still have an “innie”. I hope I can now lift more than 20 pounds since I have to handle luggage on Sunday. Hope all of you are well and recovering. Best wishes.

  121. Hi all! I had this procedure 7 days ago. No mesh, as the doctor said he discovered the hole to be small. I am a 48-year-old male, btw. The part that concerns me most now is that from day 4 or 5 until now, I have a severe mottling on my skin all around the surgery site and extending out 6 inches or so. It does not appear to be a skin rash, but instead a kind of bruising. It doesn’t seem to hurt, although the surgery area is still sore in general. My post-op appt is in a week, so hopefully doc can check it out if mottling is still there.For those anticipating an upcoming surgery: I did not have general anaestesia as most commenters appartently did. Instead, I was given some kind of painkiller via IV, and then the doctor injected local aneastesia in belly. This was my choice. I was awake throughout surgery, and conversing with nurses and doctor all along the way. The only part that was uncomfortably painful was the local injections. During the surgery, it was slightly weird because I could feel a pulling sensation where the doctor was doing the work. BUT, I was in great shape in the recovery room, eating and drinking healthily and feeling pretty damn good. When I got up to get dressed and walk out, I was not feeling any pain and my mind was clear because of the lack of general. At 12 hours after surgery, and for about 48 hours after that, it was definitely painful and I took hydrocodone as needed — but only during that 48-hour period. I shared the uncomfortableness of constipation until about 48 hours post-op, but the stool softeners came through then – thank goodness. What a relief that was! Thanks, all, for sharing your experiences. I will be returning to my desk job 9.5 days after surgery.

  122. You are certainly a brave soul doing that under a local. I was totally out thank goodness. One thing people do is wait until they feel pain until they begin a pain medication. My surgeon told me to take the pain meds even though I felt no pain at the time. He says this gives the meds a chance to build up in the system. EXCELLENT ADVICE! I had NO pain for the first 2 days and I think that was due to having received a pain blocker.Anyway, take the pain meds as soon as you are home and as directed. Good luck all. Glad it is over.

  123. I am 4 days post op. i am 32 and developed the hernia while pregnant. I had 2 hernias (umbilical and epigastric) repairs, one with mesh. So far everything is going well, but my stomach itches like crazy, no rash just itching around incision site. My doctor actually informed me about the healing ridge, but I am glad I found the site, because reading all the comments made me feel very informed on my procedure, especially post op. thanks

  124. I had my surgery yesterday the time had to be changed from 3:30 to 7:30am so instead of just having the baby with us my 7 yr old had to be there too and get to school late my 4 yr old was with his dad and still is I ended up having to have my gallbladder removed at the same time because of Bilious Sludge inside it but no stones my surgery took about 2 hrs and I left an hr and a half later the pain was so intense when I woke up that it took 40 mins to get it under control and even then it was only just bearable even with all the shots of dilotted (spelling?) that they gave me it hurts to breathe and feels like my ribs have been crushed I have to struggle to get in bed roll over and stand up even with my husband helping me but the worst is the shoulder pains I’m hoping to feel better soon my baby is dying for me to pick him up and it makes me so sad I can’t wait to take my bandages off and see what it looks like, they weren’t able to use mesh because they had to take my gallbladder and its a bigger risk for infection, they did the gallbladder laparoscopically and the hernia was open surgery they sent me home with Percocet and colace the Percocet helps a bit but I also take it with ibuprofen eating is ok but I prefer chicken broth and occasionally crackers soda makes the gas pains worse so I’m trying to stick to plain water car rides are awful because our suspension is messed up and every bump is agony the best thing is to sit as still as possible I haven’t tried ice but heat works great I’ve got a cold so I’m constantly coughing which stinks but so far I haven’t seen signs of infection or bleeding so I seem to be recovering ok good luck to anyone still awaiting their surgery!

  125. I had my umbilical hernia op yesterday. Open surgery with just a local so haven’t felt any after effects from anaesthetic which has been good but I am pretty sore today. Can’t really move around too much. A bit nervous as I will be getting my 2 young children back from their grandparents tomorrow night so I don’t think my recovery will be very peaceful. My surgeon was not very helpful so reading through this has been great for me. Apart from my local I didn’t have any sedation or an iv during the surgery and I wasn’t given a prescription for pain meds as I was told the over the counter meds should be enough. I def look like I am pregnant again so have been icing and that helps with the pain as well. I wasn’t told anything about stool softeners and that actually really annoys me after reading through these posts as I will probably need something.

  126. this is almost exactly how my umbilical hernia surgery went (minus the allergic reaction)…except my doctor “stitched” me up with dermabond. i wish i had read your blog before my surgery – it definitely would have eased any worries i had. it really was a simple procedure (after the second day, of course, lol)

  127. Thanks Moya for the post and to everyone sharing their experiences. I had my umbilical cord hernia repair along with a endometrian mass which was removed on Friday. So I’m 2 days post surgery. I’m 36 fairly healthy and I felt like a big baby the first 24-36 hrs out. I’m still having pain,I’ve been trying to stretch out my time in between taking the Percocets. I’m having muscle soreness in and around my back which doe get better with meds. I will have to try holding a pillow to my stomach when getting up as advice earlier and a few other tips. I do get up and move around it helps with the gas sometimes. I have found all the insight and tips very helpful, especially what to expect the weeks following surgery. Best of luck to everyone!

  128. I’m so glad to have found this, I feel like I was left in the dark as far as recovery goes. I had a rather large umbilical hernia repaired on the 7th, and thought the surgery and recovery we’re going well until recently. I’m 10 days post op and my stomach looks like I’m smuggling a doughnut under my skin. The swelling below my belly button is soft but hard above it. Anyone else experience this in their recovery? I’m terrified this is here to stay… Thank you Moya and everyone else for sharing your stories on here, it has brought me a lot of comfort!

  129. Thanks for stopping in to comment Taryn – yeah though this does sound like a common experience, I would advise in any case to check with your surgeon in case of any concerns at all. Did you have a post-op yet or do you have one scheduled? The surgeons should be there to answer all questions — and should be there to prep us as well for our recovery. I’m sure they will appreciate knowing how they could better prepare anyone going in for this operation as well.

    Glad to hear everyone seems to be on the mend – hope everyone is healing and in the meantime getting all the help they need!

  130. Glad to hear, I look forward to it :) Moya, I have my first post op appt on the 29th. Wish it was sooner but I’ll call the surgeon on Monday to just let her know. Thanks!

  131. I’m so happy to find your post and I just finished reading through all the comments. I am 34, I have an 8 year-old and a 16 month-old and go in for my repair on Friday morning. I first noticed a little bump to the right of my belly button about 5 years ago after doing some twisting ab exercises. It freaked me out, but it was pretty easy to get back in and only really bothered me when I stood up for too long. I had it checked out but since I planned to have another baby I was advised to wait for repair.

    I had my daughter in June of 2012 and while I was pregnant the hernia was HUGE. I was constantly pushing it back in or holding it in while I was standing. I planned to get it repaired when I had my c-section, but the surgeons weren’t able to coordinate for the same day/time… and it did go back down a little after I healed from pregnancy. According to my current surgeon, it’s better not to get it fixed when your muscles are all stretched out anyway, which makes sense. I’ve seen a total of 4 surgeons about repairing this hernia and they have each suggested a different repair. I’m happy with this surgeon – he will be doing an open repair and will only use mesh if he gets in there and the hole is big enough to warrant mesh.

    He also said that the common practice until recently was to make the hole bigger in order to be able to use mesh on even the smallest of hernias because they believed the mesh would make it stronger, no matter what. They’ve changed their tune now, that the mesh may not be more likely to keep smaller hernias from recurring and that it’s silly to make the hole bigger in order to fix it. Makes sense to me.

    So, I’ve read through all of the comments and I’ve filed away some good info. Thank you all for sharing! My surgeon was very laid back about lifting my 24 lb. daughter. He basically said ‘you’ll know not to do it if it hurts’. My mother-in-law just had an umbilical hernia repaired and they told her not to lift more than 10lbs for 10 weeks! She also had a hiatal hernia repaired and she’s not in the best health, so maybe that is why? So, I’m wondering what the consensus is on lifting restrictions? What did your doctors tell you? I appreciate my surgeon’s calmness, but I also want to come out of this with realistic expectations.

    Also – what about driving? How long was it before you were just up and around like a normal person? Not exercising or lifting – just ‘functional’? I’m a web designer so I know I’ll be able to work on the couch after the fog clears, but what about simple things like cooking dinner or running errands? Was it like a couple of days? A week?

    I feel like I haven’t been able to stand up straight since this hernia started, so I’m looking forward to getting it fixed… but I’m also nervous for the recovery. I just finally got back into my jeans and now it sounds like I’ll be all swollen for a while :-(

  132. Audrey, I also have two little ones, 3 (35 lbs)& 1 (25 lbs) and was advised not to lift anything over 10 lbs for 4 weeks. My guess is that they tell you that if they think you are at risk for pushing it… I had help for 2 weeks but have been on my own for the last week. I still haven’t been lifting my 3 year old but have lifted the baby when necessary. I still ice at night because although I am cautiously lifting her without pain, I do notice the swelling start to creep back. I had my surgery on a Monday and was driving on Wed. The day after was the worst for me but every day after was better. I think as long as you take it easy and ice you should be back up to cooking and stuff in a few days. I had an open repair with mesh also due to pregnancy. The one thing I think has been excellent for my recovery was wearing a compression belt. It helped with the swelling and moving around after surgery. I still wear it (3 weeks post op) at night to contain the bagel I’m smuggling around the surgical site. I have my post op follow up in a few hours so I’ll re-post in case anyone else finds themselves in the same boat. Good luck on Friday!

  133. Thanks, Taryn! I’ve been concerned about his laid-back-ed-ness (cause that’s a word) on the lifting. My mom and 8 year-old will be around to help, and my husband can take off if I really need him to, but I don’t want to be still struggling with this over the holidays! A compression belt is a good idea. I have one from my last c-section. How soon was it comfortable to wear it?

  134. I started wearing it two days post op because I forgot about it. You may be able to wear it sooner (ask Dr. though) because the site it numb for a few days. The area near my incision is still pretty numb. Follow up to the bagel is that’s fluid build up from the mesh. It was drained today but there is still some under the mesh and scar tissue. If it wasn’t resolved by Monday I have to call and schedule a drain with ultrasound. YAY! Not :(

  135. Hi! I am so grateful to have found this blog! I had my surgery with mesh in July and about a month after, I developed an infection and small seroma. It was leaking all over the place, and my surgeon prescribed me antibiotics which didn’t work. Now, at month 3, he’s saying I may have a chronic infection and possibly need another surgery to remove the mesh. I have been avoiding this last resort and have been using natural methods of healing instead which actually seem to be working. The discharge is now less, and is clearer instead of being nasty greenish. My seroma has also gone down a lot. I can still see pink (tissues) at the very inside of my belly button though so Im not sure if that is going to disappear…anybody else experience these issues or have any suggestions?

  136. Noticed a lump covering my belly button a few months ago so ii went to the gp who told me i had a hernia. I live in Australia so for my American friends this surgery is free as it should be world wide. I had the surgery yesterday and had trouble waking from the anethesia. In fact i was knocked out within seconds of it being administered. I feel sore and coughing hurts. I walked around after surgery and had no problems using the one eyed trouser snake so i went home. Today has been difficult i won’t use the pain relief because i can handle the pain but i would highly recomend a laxative and just be patient and let it do it’s work. I am hoping the pain eases soon but at least i can walk even if it hurts. I can’t lie down on my side which really sucks and my stomach is swollen which is to be expected. It’s just plain uncomfortable. As for the previous post i know how you feel not being able to hold your child i have a 8 week old daughter and dear old dad here can’t hold her to watch the simpsons this hurts more than the surgery.

  137. So… an update. I’ve decided to put off the surgery for a little longer. I told my husband, I feel like whenever I go to see a surgeon they make it seem like no big deal ‘you’ll be back to normal in a couple of days!’ but then when I get to the actual pre- and post- op instructions, it *is* a big deal. Especially with a toddler. Hopefully this won’t turn into an emergency situation, but I will probably wait until spring. Don’t want to be laid up over the holidays! Stay tuned… and Benjamin: good luck for a speedy recovery!

  138. Hello Moya,

    Thanks for your blog. I had my op on the 15th of October. Two weeks and 2 days ago. An umbilical hernia op. It’s about a 6cm cut below my navel. Just like you said it feels really hard all around my navel and directly below the cut. Does this all go away ( become sort again)? How long does this take?

    Also when can I start jogging again, going to the gym for my classes yoga, spinning, etc? I’m booked to go skiing in January. Will this be too strenuous?

    Thanks in advance

    Oluchi

  139. I had my umbilical hernia repair (with mesh) on the 14th October, 17 days ago. It was open rather than key hole surgery. As usual with surgery I took a long time to come round from the anaesthetic (about 2 hours!) and had to stay in hospital over night as I had no-one who could stay with me for 24 hours if I’d gone home. I live in the UK and normally this type of surgery is carried out as a day procedure.

    The first few days I was in quite a bit of pain and found it difficult to get up out of bed to get to the toilet. Rolling on my side and then either having help from a visiting friend or just slowly pushing myself up to a sitting position with my arm and I was able to manage – just about. The pain killers given (paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine mixture) took the edge off, but that’s about it. I was able to move a bit more after about 5 or 6 days without it being quite so painful.

    After a week I took off the wound dressing and found a 1 1/2 inch scar healed in the middle with lumpy ridges and with two scabbed sutures still remaining at either end of the wound. There was a little bruising and redness and it was very sore and tender still.

    I had been told not to drive for 2 weeks and not to lift anything other than things less than the weight of a kettle for 6 weeks. I was also given a 2 week sick note for work. So 2 weeks after surgery I headed back to work thinking it would be easy, not figuring in how many muscles you actually use just driving, walking and sitting! Up until this point I’d spent most of the day laying down. I’ve been in a lot of discomfort sitting at my desk at work and haven’t been able to last a whole day. I have therefore been allowed to have a phased return to work and now I’m doing half a day in the mornings. I’m finding it very tiring and get more pain in the afternoon and evenings after having used my muscles just driving, walking and sitting at my desk for the morning! I’m back on the pain killers that I’d more or less stopped using. It has felt like a backwards step and I think maybe I’m pushing myself a bit too hard, but I guess I have to get used to using my muscles again.

    In the UK we don’t get to see the surgeon again for a follow up. We are only advised to book an appointment to see our local GP doctor IF we have an infection in the wound area, other than that we are left on our own to get on with it!

    I may try to see him tomorrow though as the pain and discomfort is making it difficult to carry on at work. The soreness from the actual wound site is a lot less now (just a bit at each end of the wound) but the pain is more internal from the mesh/muscle repair. The lumpy ridge that others have described is still all along the wound and I’m guessing this will be there for quite some time. My stomach is also quite large still, and I’m not able to hold it in with my muscles like I’m used to doing normally. I look about 5 months pregnant urghh!

    I hope this helps with letting others know what to expect.

  140. Thank you so much Lottie and everyone else for sharing. Clearly this is so much harder to do alone – and add young kids to that and we should be giving out badges for Herculean effort. It is good to find other similar experiences so that you can feel less alone. I trust everyone is continuing to heal and that in all cases you find yourselves stronger than before.

  141. It turns out I have a wound infection – pus and blood started oozing out the end of the scar site last night. I’m now on antibiotics and have a dressing covering the wound again. So much for a quick recovery!

  142. Lottie. I am similar, had Epigastral and umbilical surgery on 23rd October in the Uk. Surgeon used mesh on top of stitches. “the muscle was thin” he said.Thats all I know until i see him on 18th Nov. So now Day 15 feeling ok until I have a little cough! Then it hurts.I hope I am healing well, but who knows, I do hope I dont have infection, my Steristrips ar still in place and cant see underneath, but no redness, so hopefully all is ok. My worry is that there is no internal infection. Did you have a temperature? I do hope the antibiotics are working for you and that you are better soon.

  143. Thanks for this blog.

    Five or six years ago, I had to have my gallbladder out (lalaparoscopic). While the surgeon was giving me a once over, he poked me in the belly button and told me that I had an umbilical hernia. He dropped the issue, as did I.

    Several years and several pounds later, it has begun giving me pain. A few times, in fact, I have had to rub budda and push whatever tissue back through the hole to get relief.

    This year’s annual insurance deductible has been met and next year we’re going to a high deductible plan, so I figured that the time was right to make an appointment. My surgeon couldn’t feel how big the hole was because the area was too tender, so he sent me for a CT. They imaged a 2.6 cm hole. Per my doc, I should go ahead and have the surgery sooner rather than later and that he would do it laparoscoply and with a mesh.

    The posts to this blog have been some help to me. It’s too bad that people haven’t reported whether they have had open or laparoscopic procedures as that alone often means significant differences to the post operative instructions. For instance, as I understand it, lifting restrictions differ greatly from ‘not over ten pounds’ for a person receiving an open procedure without mesh to ‘not over twenty-five or thirty pounds’ if you got a lap with mesh. Also, I read somewhere that the restrictions for the open procedure are to keep the wound from opening back up while the restrictions for the lap procedure are largely for pain reduction.

  144. For those who are having considerable difficulty getting out of bed, here’s the method that I pearled when I spinal surgery:

    Roll onto your side toward the side of the bed that you are getting out on. Pull your knees up so that they are a bit off the bed, but the rest of your legs are still on. Move your ankles off the bed as you push up from the bed with your ‘bottom’ hand. Voila! You are sitting up and you did not use your core, at all.

  145. Hope you are soon free of the infection Lottie! Let me know how you are doing. Im going to see my surgeon this evening just for reassurancce that im healing well. Fingers crossed! x

  146. Hi ,I had umbilical repair with mesh on October 18th.I have felt so tired for nearly a month.I am getting better slowly,but I have gained so much weight.I eat fruit and yoghurt for breakfast,a whole meal sandwhich for lunch,and either fish/chicken and salad for evening meal.I am a very active 65 year old male,I am always in my garden,but have felt awful for nearly a month.I too have a lump above the incision.I have been told the stomach can take six months to go down,I actually look like I am six months pregnant,I have always had a flat stomach.Very distressing as it is Summer here in NZ,and I can’t get into any of my clothes,especially shorts or jeans.Anyone else had these same like symptoms? Thanks.Frank Gunn.

  147. Update: The first set of antibiotics didn’t work very well. I had a repeat of the wound opening up at each end with oozing pus and blood. I’ve just finished a second course of supposedly stronger antibiotics, but the wound, although not as ‘angry’ looking, has still not closed up properly. I’ve not felt able to do much physically and have still been feeling sore because of the wound not closing. It’s 7 weeks since my operation and I was expecting to be back to normal by now.

  148. Try one of two things. Rub a bit of VITAMIN D Oil (about $6 at drug store) on the wound a couple times a day..Vitamin D helps regulate the cell growth involved in wound healing. Try for a week and if that does not help the healing, try MANUKA honey (about $25 at health food stores). It can be applied topically or take it in tea etc. or both. Google it to see its healing properties. The Vitamin D did it fo me.
    Good luck.

  149. Hi Lottie so glad you posted again, i was wondering how you were doing. Hope the wound soon heals. You havnt bee at work have you? I am 6 weeks post op now and still dont drive and will be asking for another sick note today! Still sore every afternoon and need to lie down, laying on my back is the only way to feel ok. Rachel x

  150. This blog entry was incredibly helpful to me Moya, thank you! I had surgery twelve days ago and just caught sight of my navel today now that my steristrips are finally coming off, and man did it scare me!! It’s good to hear that the hard ball of scar tissue should dissipate with time and I won’t have such a hideous navel! I had lap surgery to remove my gallbladder and they just fixed the hernia on the way out…

  151. Glad you found this helpful Liz and thanks for stopping by to let us know — people have been *amazing* about sharing in this thread.

    More than a year out it’s hard to tell I even had this surgery – the area of the incision is still obviously different if i pull and twist my navel to see — but things feel great.

    Hoping you and everyone else sees nothing but improvement ahead.
    best,
    -m

  152. I’m female, 50 years old and about one month post op from a para-umbilical/umbilical hernia repair (stitches only, open surgery, at Shouldice Hospital near Toronto). They only do hernia surgery there and have the most experienced natural tissue repair surgeons. They accept patients from all over the world, but most are Canadian. The only catch there is that you are required to be skinny (below 23 BMI) because they say lean muscle stitches up best and recovery is better. I had to lose a lot of weight and I’m glad I did. Hopefully I will keep it off :)

    I have had no swelling since 9 days post up, and no pain at 4 days post op unless I coughed or laughed or twisted while lifting or doing something.

    There’s a hard ridge (like a crayon) above the 2.5″ incision.
    The incision line is very thin -like a scratch – I imagine it will hardly be noticeable later on. My incision was a bit longer because I had two hernias in the area and fortunately both were done at the same time.

    They told me that the hard ridge will take a few months to a year to go away.

    I drove 14 hours straight just two weeks post op (stopped to stretch every 3-5 hours). At 3 weeks I started getting sore around the repair with minor twinges, just towards the end of the days because I became much more active. I wasn’t given lifting restrictions; they told me to lift as much as I can without pain. However, I decided to avoid lifting over 15 pounds just to be on the safe side. I do vacuum, bend, push heavy things, run around with the dogs, etc.

    I met many patients at this “hernia -open repair- only” hospital and have also met past patients who are 100% now. They all said that it is normal to feel twinges and local soreness for weeks or months after the surgery, but not pain.
    The bottom line is to have a lifetime, successful repair, without long term pain or complications. I guess we just need to be patient, keep our weight down, and not overdo strenuous activities.

  153. Hi Everyone
    Lottie I hope you are recovering well!
    Does anyone have the condition Elhers Danlos?? Or think they may have it.
    It is a connective tissue problem that can stop hernia repairs and Diasatiis Recti repairs holding. Just heard of it and find it interesting,I may have this?
    I ma 9 weeks post op now and still dont fell confident that all is healing as well or as quickly as it should. Rachel x

  154. I’m glad I’ve found this blogpost where there has been a great wealth of information about post-op recovery. Many thanks to the author and several others!
    I was born with an umbilical hernia and decided early on in this year I wanted to resolve the matter. I made an appointment with my GP where I was then referred to the local hospital for an assessment to be undertaken by the surgeon. Within a month I was offered a date for an umbilical hernia repair which was on the 23rd December so I am now 5 days post op surgery.

    Day 1-3 was definitely a very uncomfortable period. Although sleeping was surprisingly comfortable from the get go (I was able to sleep on my my side) walking has been a hassle. I felt very heavy whilst walking and could only manage shuffles. I also experienced back aches as my posture became affected. Also getting up from lying and sitting positions also lead to discomfort. For this period I definitely wasn’t fit to leave my house.
    Onto day 4 I will say the discomfort decreased as I have been able to fairly walk around the house and I no longer feel as much pain bending down or getting up. I will continue taking the prescribed pills I was given though.

    Furthermore I also experienced not being able to move bowels. After day 3 I decided to take Senakot that a doctor said I was allowed to take if I didn’t experience moving bowels after 48 hours from surgery.

    Moreover my stomach appears very bloated – especially in the area of incision where there is a distinct “lump”
    So much so that my belly button still appears herniated. I was alarmed at this when I removed my dressing and saw this on day 1 but from reading posts here and on several other places I am amounting this to seroma/swelling/bloating or a side effect of trapped air from general anaesthesia. Either way this swelling will go down!

    Anyways I’m hoping for a speedy recovery!

  155. Wow it’s amazing to read all these comments. I am 38 years old, and 9 days post surgery for open umbilical hernia repaired with mesh. I have three children and my hernia developed in my first pregnancy and got worse by the third. I am a fitness instructor and very active so I chose to have this surgery a week before Christmas, which I thought would be a great time to be lazy and lay around! I did not leave my house until 5 days post op. I didn’t feel myself and was very tired. At 6 days post I started to worry the hernia came back because of the hard lump I feel where the hernia was. It’s not palpable like the hernia was but still tender. What a relief to hear so many of you express the same concern. This was never mentioned to me. After eating a big Christmas dinner it was protruding even more, much like my hernia would after a large meal. I was also given conflicting advice from surgeon and family doctor about how long to lay off the abdominal exercises. Surgeon said 4 weeks, Dr. said 3 months! I’m walking and doing light housework and feeling ok but afraid I’m going to overdo it. Nurses said not to vacuum or carry laundry. I’m enjoying the break! Overall, this has been a far better experience than I thought it would be. I had an appendectomy 10 years ago and that recovery seemed worse for me. Good luck to all!

  156. Hello,
    As every one here I am very glad to have come across this blog. I still have lots to read, but everything I have read so far has been full of great information!I have had 3 C sections myself. I had an umbilical and ventral hernia repair on Christmas Eve. I am now 6 days post op. My best description of my pain so far feels like I have been Mike Tyson’s personal punching bag and then some! I will keep reading for now! :D

  157. Hahahahahah! Thank you! Happy New Year toypu also. I have my 2 week visit with my doctor tomorrow.It feels like a baby turning in my tummy. This has definitley been an experience for me. I dont feel I can return back to work next week . After reading so many great stories on here, I want to make sure I heal as much as I can.. thank you again for having this open form available.!

  158. Hi Oneisa I am now 10 weeks post op for Epigasrtal and umbilical hernia,with mesh. I am only ust driving a little and still taking it easy on the housework. my stomach is still quite rounded and goes hard at the end of the day, when only lying down seems to make it feel comfortable. Dont rush back to work. I am not back at work yet, will go on Monday for the first time.I too feel like a baby is moving in my tummy, I wonder if it is the healing? I also feel my intestines and bowel moving a lot! TMI LOL. I am in the Uk and have asked for a physio app to get me back on track with strengthening the muiscles without doing any damage. Hope you are feeling a little better.Rachel x

  159. Hi Rachel. 10 weeks? Wow. That is intersting to know that you still feel that way. It appears I will have a long way to go before healing completly. Yes I believe my intestines and bowels are just starting to wake up in there. :) that is a good thing! Well I went to my doctor today and he did not give me anymore time off. :(. He was very brief and quick, he tried to be polite by listening to me, as I expained my work duties and that I am the only person in my job. There is not a team of us, just me! He said ,”you will be fine, its not like you had major surgery.” I was stunned! I told him about all of the information I have read and researched and felt as if I was begging to get at least one more week. I just had my surgery on 12/24/13. I have two ugly cuts on my stomach now. I am a single mom of 3. I am going back with restictions for 2 weeks…..that is just insane to me.

  160. I would like to say that Milk of Magnesia was my good friend for a couple of days. That helped with the bowel movements for me. :) I aslo take a walk everyday. Today I walked one mile…slowly at the park. That is the farthest I have gone so far. It does help to walk. I still get dizzy or nausea sometimes while walking. It still is uncomfortable to lay on my right side. And I am very uncomfortable laying on my back. I have been able to catch up on some reading.

  161. Hi Moya – your blog is a lifesaver! I had an umbilical hernia repair with mesh 5 days ago. The surgeon found several other tears, which I’m glad he fixed. My sole focus is to make sure I do everything I can to ensure the best recovery. I am a marathon runner and even being off my feet for 1 day is unbearable!

    My post-op instructions include using an abdominal binder (corset) at all times, with a rolled-up washcloth vertically over my navel. Is this common for most folks?

    The surgeon follow-up appt is in one week, and while I read everyone’s advice, my instinct just tells me that I should not try to fight or circumvent the healing process, right?
    Scott

  162. Hi Scott – thanks for the nice words. I’m no marathon runner but it was very hard for me to not train during the several weeks of healing – but after that I came back better than ever. I’m also no surgeon but from my experience would say yes: give yourself all the time to heal properly so you, too, can come back stronger instead of partially healed. Hang in there!

  163. Had a para umbilical hernia 13 days ago with mess and with glue on the outside not really any dressing, I was told its going to be murder but I didn’t take any pain killers at all and just got on with it, 8 days after I carried shopping bags home, I also have what feels like half a hard sausage under the scar line but im not worried I think that’s just scar tissue and it will go down, had a few broken noses in past so not one to complain about pain…:-)

  164. Thank you for the run down. I am getting my surgery soon. I have an umbilical hernia from child birth and I’m so scared but need it done as it hurts and sticks out. It’s very ugly.

  165. It will be fine. Not major surgery and it you follow the doctor’s insturctions following surgery you will be well. You will also be glad you had it done. It will be uglier for a while but all heals and little or no pain after a week or so….Good luck!!

  166. I just had umbilical hernia repair today with the mesh and it went well (so I was told). I found your post to be very helpful in what to possibly expect. I’m taking hydrocodone for pain and I’m sure while its helping some, it’s not helping enough. I do have a high tolerance from pain but this is a bit much for me.
    Thank you for your posting your experiences and I hope you are doing well now. I hope to soon be on the same path.

  167. I am 54, female, and had umbilical hernia repair 4 days ago; this is after double inguinal in August! I learned a bit from last time that might help and seems to be making this one easier. First I would recommend getting off the pain meds as soon as possible. Even what the surgeon gives you during surgery and right after is enough to cause those bowels to just go to sleep, causing much pain in a few days. I find miralax twice a day really helps. This time i only used one percocet that first night cos i just couldn’t sleep, nothing since and still most of pain comes from those troublesome bowels putting pressue up against those sutures. Second, be very disciplined about walking…short is better, so maybe start with two 5 min walks spread out through the day and work up the number of mins and times per day very slowly. Third, for the first surgery i really underestimated how physically exhausted i got…surgery is a major shock to the system, and our bodies need time to heal, especially us folks in our 50s plus…don’t underestimate the time you will need, and make it enjoyable…I have a pile of books i can’t wait to get to, and am so enjoying the time to slow down and appreciate how good it is to not be in such pain anymore. I didnt show any characteristic bulges, and the only way we found these hernias was that i have a very persistent gp who agreed with me that there must be something causing the chronic pain and we just kept looking on the numerous ultrsounds and ct scans ( you need to find a good radiologist, which we finally did). From the onset of the first terrible pain until this last surgery was 1 and a half years! This time i went to a hernia specialist, which i strongly recommend and he did diagnostic laparoscopy at the same time to make sure there werent any hernias missed by the imaging. Two of the three were quite small but i guess in us smaller gals (5’4″) there isnt much room with all our other organs, so the hernias had entrapped or pressed on nerves, which my surgeon said often is the case with women. During that long year and a half, i have learned a lot about pain management, so if any of you are waiting around for relief and need help, let me know; i would be happy to share some tips. I do know that these blogs have helped at all phases of the adventure, as it really helps to know we arent alone, and that others can be helped by learning about our experiences, so thanks Moya for making this space available, being so supportive, and starting off this whole conversation!

  168. Joy thank you so much for taking the time to post all this great information! Incredible that you sufferered pain so long with undetected hernias! I hope and trust the rest of your recovery will go well!

  169. This blog is great. Just had umbilical hernia repair. No mesh. I am wondering is umbilical binders are safe and good to use? Forgot to ask surgeon. Or at what point has anyone used a belly binder. After two c-sections, I used one after the 2nd c-section and I seemed to heel quicker and my belly went down much faster. I am day 4 umbilical hernia surgery and still very swollen. Ugh.

  170. First of all, Mary, sorry I have no experience with belly binders. My guess would be that it might be supportive, but also might not give the tummy muscles a chance to start toning. Of course, maybe you could gradually wean yourself off the binder, a few hours at a time.

    One of the reasons I like this site is its positive but real tone, so I hope not to mess with that. But, being real here,…yesterday I went back to work (I am a professor) two weeks after open umblical hernia surgery + diagnostic laparascopy. Everything had been going very well. My incisional pain and the pain from the hernia appears to be gone. I have walked every day since the surgery, starting day 3 for 30-40 min minutes, can sit at the computer for several hours, and do pretty much anything around the house, even driving and shopping. Everything was fine for the first 2.5 hours of teaching (a lab class), but walking back to my office after class I suddenly doubled over with pain best compared to birth pains that returned about every 3-4 steps. It was pain I had never felt before, above my incision, slightly to the left, and I am thinking maybe it’s a pulled muscle…maybe compensating for the probably very lazy abdominal muscles? I am 54, first had hernia pain 1.5 years ago, and it’s been a long journey getting here (diagnosed with 2 inguinal hernias 8 months later, surgery for those in August, and then the docs found the umbical hernia a couple of months ago, and then this surgery). I am slim, active, and very positive, but this incident yesterday has me very down. I was terribly embarrassed, although of course everyone was very kind, and when I taught the next class sitting down, the students, as usual were great. But this is not me. I am used to getting back on my feet, rallying my resouces, and just getting on with things. Did any of you folks have setbacks after your surgeries, and how did you deal with them? I honestly don’t feel I was pushing things going back to work…every reasonable sign indicated I was ready. I am confused about how to get back to my normal go-getter self without being foolish…was it too early to go back, or should I should be taking breaks so I am not on my feet that long? I am the absolute opposite of a drama queen, and never ever want to have a day like yesterday. Does this sound familiar to any of you, and would you agree this sounds more like muscle pain? If so, maybe I should be doing gentle ab exercises? I see the surgeon for the followup on Monday, but really would like to be able to tell him I am fine, because the long-term pain lower down IS gone! Any advice would be appreciated.

  171. Hi Joy,
    I just had a second umbilical hernia repair on February 5. I am a 47 year old female, slender build at 5’3″ and 109 lbs. Like you, I am very active and love to participate in a variety of sports. I had my first repair 4.5 years ago at a major teaching institution here in southern California. The hernia was small, only 1.5 cm with very little bulge, but a lot of pain, after playing a tennis match. It literally just manifested itself one day out of the blue. The recovery was long, but I was finally pain free after about 8 months and did very well for nearly three years, resuming all of my former activities. Then, in June of 2012, I woke up one morning and the repair just did not feel right. To make a very long story short, after 18 months of increasing pain, misery and visiting 5 different surgeons, I went out of my insurance network and saw a hernia specialist. She quickly identified the problem, after ordering a dynamic MRI. The muscle had torn again and the mesh was bulging through the tear causing extreme discomfort, especially after meals or as the day progressed. I had the second repair just about two weeks ago, on February 5. As the mesh was still lying flat, she did not need to remove it, but removed the old sutures and shaved the small amount of mesh tab that was bulging through. Using softer sutures, she repaired the tear with a pure tissue technique. I still do have some swelling, and while I have improvements every day, I am still moving slowly and experience discomfort. I know everyone recovers at a different pace, but I am thinking, just based on my own experiences with this surgery that maybe you returned to your regular duties too soon. Perhaps starting out with a part time schedule might be helpful. Your body has gone through a trauma and, needs adequate time to heal. Also returning to all of the regular tasks of daily life cause more stress than we might realize. My suggestion would be to perhaps take things a little slower and give yourself a little more healing time. Believe me, I understand how difficult it is to be patient and the need/desire to get back to our regular lives, but there is no way around the need for down time after this. Also, I believe that abdominal exercise is what caused the re-tear, after the first tear, despite having the mesh implanted. Going forward, after I fully recover, I will be doing mainly cardio for fitness in addition to my recreational sports such as kayaking and biking. I will not however ever do abdominal type exercises again such as crunches and the like. Good luck to you and please let us know what your surgeon says after your visit.

    Julie

  172. Joy – hopefully the surgeon had some concrete information for you and i’m glad you’re sharing your experience.
    I think there can be plenty of setbacks as active human beings – and I constantly wonder how much I am making myself strongw vs wearing myself down. One real concern would be a re-tear as Julie describes.
    Julie – thank you for letting us know your story. Is there any help in the ab binders or are crunches really out for good – or just for now?
    In general I am all well nearly two years after my surgery – but sometimes I do still feel a twinge…

  173. Hi Moya,
    My surgeon actually asked me to wear a compression garment (kind of like a spanx) for one week following surgery this time, to minimize swelling. It seems to have worked as I did have less swelling this last repair vs. the first one. I have been wearing it for two weeks and just took it off for the first time this evening. I will see how that goes. For me, I will never do ab work again – I am just too afraid. One of the surgeons I saw told me that certain ab exercises actually weaken the fascia which can be a problem with a repaired hernia. I just do not want to ever go through that awful pain, or hopefully another hernia surgery again, so for me, it isn’t worth it – too risky. I will stick with cardio, biking and other recreational sports instead. Thanks so much for this blog. It is such a useful resource for people!
    Julie

  174. Ok thanks for that info. And I’m so glad this open place has helped. I hear you on the pain and not wanting to repeat it. I trust everyone here is recovering in whatever stage. Constantly rebuilding and not damaging.
    Best wishes to you.

  175. Julie, your post was very helpful, thanks. I too am in so cal, and had my surgery (open with mesh) the day after you! My symptoms were just pain, no bulge at all. i appreciate the advice to make course corrections if necessary, in the interest of complete healing. I have thus made adjustments to my work schedule for next week, with built n time to sit, and that should help. After two days taking it very easy this new pain is still there, very sharp. I hope it isnt a mesh problem…tolerated that well for the 2 inguinal hernia repairs in August. But as everyone says here, each person and each surgery recovery is unique. I am looking forward to hearing what the surgeon says Monday. I will ask him, Moya, his advice about doing ab exercises, and if so which one, but after reading Julie’s post I am inclined to avoid them too. Ah, the days of the flat stomach….thanks gals and guys. I hope you are having a good day in as many ways as possible!

  176. Hi Joy, Moya and all,
    Joy, I hope you get good news from your surgeon today. I doubt that you have done any actual damage to your repair. As I recollect from my first repair, it took several months before the mesh stopped causing me pain and discomfort. I had a Proceed ventral patch implanted and it caused a feeling of burning pain, a good deal of swelling and general discomfort for quite some time. The mesh stimulates an increased inflammatory response which creates scar tissue that grows in around the mesh, which, as I understand it, is what it is supposed to do. That is not always a comfortable process. Hopefully, with a little more rest and the tincture of time, you will be as good as new soon.

    Remember too that you already went through two other hernia repairs a few months ago,so your body has lots of healing to complete. Please let us know how you are doing.

    I am progressing slowly – still a bit of swelling, general discomfort in the area at times and quite a bit of sensitivity still. I am increasing my walking daily. I still tire pretty easily but each day I am getting a little more energy.

    After recovery, you may want to look into exercises that condition the transverse abs instead of the rectus ab muscles. The transverse or TVA is the corset like muscle that wraps around the belly and helps to hold everything in. There are some good exercises for this online. Maybe ask your surgeon about this? Crunches and the like actually push your ab muscles out which is hard on them and is the opposite of what we all want to achieve – flat and strong abs.

    All my best,
    Julie

  177. Hi Joy, Moya and others

    Thanks for your kind thoughts, and Julie I am glad you are progressing, even if not as fast as you would like. It is slow, isn’t it! I find with walking, the time I spend doesn’t matter as much as my pace…if I up it just a tad bit it starts to feel tight.

    By two days after my very scary, public, and embarrassing muscle spasm episode last week…groan :(, and resting much more than usual, the spasms had stopped, and the sensitivity in that area, above the belly button had gone away. So by the time I went to the surgeon for the follow up visit today I knew it couldn’t be anything serious if it was gettting better each day, as your kind posts suggested would be the case. He confirmed that both incisions are healing well (and I am really pleased that there will hardly be a noticeable scar in either location). He confirmed what you had all said, to take it easy, and do just a little more each day, both in terms of amount and intensity, and see how that goes, and to dial it back if it’s too much. I obviously DID try too much by going from 40 min walks once a day to standing without a break for 2.5 hours :( Tomorrow will be Day 2 back at work, where I will be mindfully walking slowly :) and I have scheduled sit down breaks (quiz time for my lucky students!). I forgot to ask him about which ab exercises he recommends and will call on Wed and see what he says. I did find online the same thing you had mentioned, Julie, about how bad crunches are, and also found some other very helpful stuff on the internet. One helpful site talked about how no matter how strong our abs are (mine are pitiful!), if we don’t use the proper spine positions for sitting and walking and standing, we aren’t using those abs anyway. I used the photos and videos available online to check my posture, and I am definitely going to need to change that up. I took walks yesterday and today with the new posture (pelvis slightly tipped, without a sway back and using the abs more; it’s definitely engaging a whole new set of muscles, and my back doesn’t ache as much. The surgeon mentioned that this morning he had seen another woman with the same pain symptoms as I had come in with, also a small umbilical hernia, and that he has agreed to operate too, especially hearing that my original pain, which I had for 18 months (!) is gone!!!! So I wish you all a steady, not necessarily speedy, recovery. I’ll keep checking in with you all, and will let you know what the doc says about the crunches, or if he recommends something else. I do sincerely appreciate your kindness and helpful suggestions.
    Best wishes,
    Joy

  178. So happy to hear Joy, that you are on the mend and not suffering from anything unusual or irregular. I think that with this recovery there are definitely ups and downs – at least that is the way it is with me. It seems to be best to err on the side of caution during recovery and even for a while after. Indeed, that can be a challenge!

    I seem to be having the toughest time in the evenings. For some reason, I tend to get more swollen then, even though I am eating very low sodium, which leads to greater discomfort, so that is frustrating. Sometimes I wonder when this will ever end and I have to remind myself that it has only been three weeks so I must be patient.

    Hope everyone is progressing well with recovery!

    Julie

  179. I hope you are doing a bit better this evening, Julie. I find fennel tea really helps. Moya, my surgeon’s nurse said their office doesn’t recommend any specific ab exercises over any other, just to be careful and stop if it hurts. I think I will be avoiding crunches after what folks have said on this forum though. Hang in there everyone!

  180. hello – good to hear about your procedure, as it pretty much paralleled mine at Ross Memorial in Lindsay, Ontario, even down to the very lovely medical staff.

    the difference is that i didn’t go in for an umbilical hernia repair. the way the visiting home nurse explained is they opened up to take my gall bladder out like they were supposed to and kind of went “oh…. crap….” so they patched up the suddenly-discovered hernia while they were at it.

    i have no doubt i had one: i was a freakin tank while carrying my youngest – i was so badly bloated from toxemia and whatnot my stomach literally entered the room three days before i did. i also used to be a powerlifter and then there was that unfortunate incident while carrying a kitchen table up a long, steep flight of stairs by myself and the leg bounced off the door frame at the top causing me to hold a hyperextension for my life.

    no bleeding, no discharge (i have staples, not sutures or steri-strips), but now my entire stomach is hard as a rock and kind of bloated looking even though “the works” started working on friday (i eat a lot of Red River Cereal – highly recommend it). the nurse is concerned but not worried – she’ll call the doctor tomorrow and ask because she says it’s not something she normally sees happening nearly a week later – usually it’s right afterward.

    staples come out on thursday – i can’t wait. they’re such a nuisance..

  181. .I had my surgery 5 days ago and am feeling lucky compared to some of the posts I have read. I have very little pain if any, just some slight discomfort. I am back at work today, but I work on computers so I do not do any lifting or strenuous work. I find myself having to hold back at times, as I really feel almost like I did prior to the surgery. I am not sure if it is my pain tolerance, or if I had a great, gentle surgeon, but must say I am ready to get back to my training. I stay active and enjoy running, and working out, but am going to force myself to little activity while recovering. I plan on starting out walking after this week, and then see how my follow up appointment goes next week. I have enjoyed this blog, as it prepared me for what to expect during and after the surgery. I removed the bandage 2 days after but have left the sticky suture tape in place as I have been told they will fall off about 5-7 days after surgery. I have also kept a large Band-Aid over it just to keep any debris out of the wound area. I will be leaving that off tonight to give it a chance to breathe and heal.

  182. Hi all,thanks for all the great info on this blog.I live in the UK and had my operation on a small umbilical hernia on 21st February at Kettering General. I’d had the hernia for about a year and it had been giving me on/off pain the the last four months if I overdone things. I was told my operation only lasted 30 minutes as it was only a small hernia. Day 1 – got home from hospital with some pain and needed help getting in and out of bed. Drank a lot of fluid, ate fruit and fiber and took ‘Dulcaease’ as a stool softener. After day three not much pain and got out of the house with some short walks. Day 7 went to go too bed and noticed tummy/stomach really bloated and uncomfortable. This freaked me out and got very worried and my wife took me straight to Accident & Emergency Dept. Had ECG / Bloods taken / Chest & Tummy X Ray and on-call surgeon see me. All was normal and went home and next morning stomach was back to normal. Not really any major pain but a little pain around top of naval last night BUT woke up this morning to see and feel that my inner belly button indent had shrunk a fair bit – to what it was ……I remember pre-operation and with a few pains to the lower right hand side of the hernia site. The cuts that the surgeon made is a like a ‘v’ shape with my naval in the middle of the ‘v’. The skin is slightly hard around the ‘v’ but not painful.Bladder feels slightly bloated but works fine, as did bowel movement this morning. Having read all blogs on this site, not overly concerned but will try to see either my doctor and/or surgeon for a follow up.

    Has anyone else experienced the naval/belly button shrinking either overnight or a period of time and any pains or ‘feelings’ around bladder area ? I’d be glad to hear from anyone who has come across these issues.

  183. Hi everyone.
    Thankfully found this blog while searching for food I can eat post-surgery, hehe. Had my umbilical hernia repair 3 days ago, and since I also had diastasis recti (lose stomach muscles) from a recent pregnancy (I had 2 c-sections within 3yrs), they put a mesh in there as well.

    So far so good, although I had to go to urgent care yesterday to have my bandage changed coz it was just too much soaked in blood. Other than that, and 1 day of constipation, I’m doing well. Just moving in slow-mo, and sadly not being able to carry my 3 and 1 year olds.

    Did any of you feel the need to wear an abdominal support thing, like the ones you use after a csection? I’m wearing one now just because my stomach is so much rounder, and thought it might help with things.

  184. I am 4 months post surgery for epigastral and umbilical hernia repair with perm sutures and a mesh for strength due to dr. (See previous posts). I still find that I have discomfort in the afternoon and evening.
    Mainly i think becasue of gravity and bloating? I feel good when I get up in the morning. I still have the little rugby ball mummy tummy.
    I didnt wear a suuport, beacause it was not suggested, im in the UK.

  185. Rachel,
    That’s what I am finding at the moment but I’m just over a fortnight post operation. It has amazed me what a small operation can cause long term – great !!

  186. I had umbilical repair op (no mesh) yesterday and shuffling around the house in quite a lot of pain, shuffle shuffle like a 90 year old. This I expected. But I did not expect to look down at belly and look pregnant, no warning from hospital team at all! Reading that all of you seem to have looked pregnant too has relaxed me. Thank you! she says while munching a ridiculous amount of dried apricots… :-)

  187. Hi there! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for
    the good data youve gotten here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your blog
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  188. Thanks so much for this blog and many people’s posts. I’ve read some of it and will read more. I’m a 52 year old male in Melbourne, Australia, and heading in to surgery with mesh for my umbilical hernia this coming Thursday. I will buy prunes in advance!

    So much helpful information and experience here. I’ve bookmarked it. Thanks again.

  189. Just to give an update on my previous comment from 11 march 2014 to give hope to those heading to surgery. One week post-op and things are looking up! Hardly any pain and can walk around although obvs no long distances… Wound is healing nicely and best thing is the bump (hernia above belly button) is gone so op seems successful. Bruising is fading away and swelling seems to be going down. Will have to accept the rest is my belly fat… ;-)

    I stopped the codeine after a couple of days due to worrying about bowel movements… But all is well there too!
    So my tip is, rest up well post-op. Take the pain killers as it WILL hurt but take them with discretion. Lots of fluids and eat if you feel like eating but eat healthily, tummy has to get going sometime…
    Try to move around, even if just a little around house, gently to keep yourself going. But listen to your body and don’t overdo it, especially 2nd week when it stops hurting and you’re feeling better and stronger. Remember to take it easy even if you feel like the hulk! :-)

    I’m a 42 yo woman so no apron chicken andop was done on NHS at Chelsea Westminster Hospital in London and I’m very pleased with the team there and the result so far. Might change once last steristrip is off and I see full scar! ;-)

    Good luck to those heading in for surgery!

  190. I had my umbilical hernia operation (no mesh) coming up to 4 weeks ago now. Wound has healed up nicely and there is no pain. There have been no problems with bowel movements are peeing so felt quite good.

    A couple of days ago though decided to put on trousers for first time and go for short walk with my wife (car journey first). I felt a pressure where my belt line is and ended up having to undo my belt and trouser clip. It felt like I had a small balloon which had been pumped up in my bladder. It didn’t hurt but was very uncomfortable. At first I thought it was just where I hadn’t worn a belt for over three weeks but it happened again today and I could feel it a bit on my short walk.

    No problems peeing and no feeling of an urgency to go either and no more times than usual.

    Has anyone else experienced that feeling ?

  191. It’s about 30 hours now (Friday evening Melbourne time) since my op: Laparascopic and para umbilical hernia repair. i.e. two laparoscopic cuts, plus the cut under the umbilicus. I had an overnight stay in hospital following surgery yesterday, and I’m back at home today. I’m finding the pain very manageable using only paracetamol, and I’m happily strolling round the house. I’ve done a bit of reading though my concentration has been knocked about by all the drugs I’ve received over the last couple of days. I’m quite bloated, though it hasn’t affected my appetite much. I’m wanting and getting plenty of rest – two x two hour sleeps during the day today.

    No bowel movement yet. I’m eating plenty of fruit – including prunes. My usual diet is long on fruit and veg, so I haven’t made too many adjustments.

    On the whole, it all seems straightforward to this point. (Fingers crossed.) When I woke in recovery I was asked how much pain I was in on a scale of 1 to 10. I said 6 or 7 and was immediately given IV morphine, and the pain settled right down immediately. Since then, as I say, I’ve been comfortable with paracetamol, and other than the occasional twinge, I’m feeling good. Obviously, quite a bit of discomfort over the last day and a half. Looking somewhat pregnant (which is unlikely, particularly considering I’m male) but generally comfortable.

    I work as a conference facilitator – it’s very active. And I have a job coming up next Friday, so that’s my major activity / recovery target. I’ll come back and report how that goes.

  192. Well, I made it through my first night at home without resorting to the Endone. I’m very happy about this. I really don’t like the side effects of the stronger analgesics, so I’m glad I’ve coped on the 8-paracetamol-per-day regimen for the overnight between Day 2/3 (Op was Day 1). I got up a few times in the night, bloated, to pee, and there were twangs of pain, and a bit of generalised pain. Not too much, so I persevered, and I went back to sleep without too much trouble each time. I wouldn’t say I’m entirely comfortable, but I’m looking forward to a relaxed Saturday, taking things easy: reading, some TV perhaps.

    Thanks again, Moya, for your blog.

  193. I’m 10 days post surgery now, and I facilitated / MCed a conference for 450 people yesterday. Given the choice, I would delay work of that nature for another week, but it went OK. Up until about two days before, I was very unsure of my ability to give enough energy to the job to do it successfully, but fortunately, I got over the line.

  194. Gosh, I am so thankful to have found this blog/forum. I had umbilical hernia repair with mesh along with a hematoma and/or scar tissue (resulting from a previous laparoscopic hysterectomy) removed from my navel on March 14, 2014. So, I am roughly 2 1/2 weeks out from my surgery. I am virtually pain-free at this point, thank God. Like many of you said, those first few days after surgery were rough. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life…even worst than my hysterectomy. Definitely put the pain meds to good use.

    Well, when I woke up from surgery, my surgeon told me that he had to completely rebuild my belly button. I was still groggy and I didn’t quite understand what he meant. When I went in for my follow up, he explained to me what happened and when he took of the bandage, I was in shock. It is a completely different belly button than the one I was born with. I am turning 39 in two days and I must admit, I am having a hard time with the change. The belly button doesn’t look bad, it’s just not MY belly button.

    Also, I feel like my stomach is sticking out more than usual. Will this go away? Will my stomach ever look normal again? I already kind of have body issues because of my weight. I’m overweight, not obese, but my stomach has always been the area I took issue with. The last thing I need is for it to look bigger. Also, I am an athlete. I work out 5 days a week and play competitive tennis 2 or 3 times a week. I just want all that back. It’s my life. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t be active on the same level I was before.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the hernia to be gone along with the pain from it. Which reminds me, my pathology came back saying I had endometriosis in my hernia sac!! Crazy! It explains why my hernia stuck out more during that time of the month and why my pain was more intense then (I still have my ovaries, so still have hormones thus go through the cycle). Anyway, I guess I just want to know that my stomach will look normal again. My belly button is healing nicely and although it’s “new”, I believe it will look fine in the end. I just want to know that this hard radius around my navel will subside and that my stomach will look flatter again.

    I’m so worried and scared. I’ve cried several times over this. I didn’t know that going into my surgery I might come out with a “different” body. I appreciate anything anyone has to contribute to me. I just need encouragement right now from people who understand. Thanks!

  195. Hi Nykia,
    Glad to hear that you are feeling better – being pain free at 2.5 weeks is great! You may have already read my story as I posted here before. I had my umbilical hernia repaired a second time this last February, so I am about 7.5 weeks out. The first time, it was repaired in 2009 with mesh, even though it was a very small hernia at 1.5 cm. I had a very difficult recovery with that one, but after about 6 months recovered. Then, three years later, I started having pain one day out of the blue. There was no bulge, the outside the repair appeared to be fine, but I was in PAIN. After two years of going through ultrasounds, CT scans, and numerous exams, I finally found a hernia specialist that ordered a dynamic MRI and detected a small tear. I had the surgery again, this time with stitches only and as I said, I am still recovering. What I wanted to address with you is your concern about the appearance of your belly button. After the first repair, I was MORTIFIED when I first took off the dressing as it looked nothing like my original bb. I was very upset. Although I am definitely a vain person, I found it very upsetting that I looked so much different! I was/am very physically fit and love going to the beach in the summer and I was sure that I would never be able to wear a bikini again. Well, I was WRONG. Give it time – after about six months, everything looked pretty good. It wasn’t totally the same as it was originally, but it looked fine – my husband said he couldn’t even tell the difference and I did wear a bikini the following summer (about 8 months after the repair). Even after a second repair, and although I still have swelling, I think that, after everything has settled and is healed, my bb will look good, and I will be able to wear a bikini once again. So, don’t lose heart, just give it time and don’t waste anymore time being upset. You are still in the very early stages of healing. I will bet that in six months you will be very happy with your result. Remember that the MAIN THING is that you are feeling better.

    My very best wishes to you!
    Julie

  196. Thank you so, Julie. You have no idea how comforting your response is to me. Yes, I am definitely taking into consideration that the most im much portant thing was indeed accomplished. I am feeling better with no more pain from the hernia. I do want to be able to wear a bikini some day and that’s why I work out hard and am working on losing weight. That last thing I want is to lose the weight but then have a funky looking stomach and/or belly button. Still, I will give myself time and I am believing that my tummy will look and feel better than ever when it’s all said and done. I pray your recovery goes well and that you will have that bikini body back in no time! Thanks again! :)

  197. Thank you so much, Julie. You have no idea how comforting your response is to me. Yes, I am definitely taking into consideration that the most important thing was indeed accomplished. I am feeling better with no more pain from the hernia. I do want to be able to wear a bikini some day and that’s why I work out hard and am working on losing weight. That last thing I want is to lose the weight but then have a funky looking stomach and/or belly button. Still, I will give myself time and I am believing that my tummy will look and feel better than ever when it’s all said and done. I pray your recovery goes well and that you will have that bikini body back in no time! Thanks again! :)

  198. Julie, what caused your hernia repair to tear? Just curious as I am nearly 6 months post hernia repair with mesh.
    Do you have Diastasis Recti?
    If anyone on here has a DR then there is a great fb page to join with lots of support. Diastasis recti support.
    I am still sore in the evening with a tummy pout by lunchtime, hope this improves soon with less wheet and gluten and strengthening my Tva muscles! x

  199. Hi Nykia,
    Thank you for your kind words – I meant to say in my previous post that I am NOT a vain person – LOL! Oh well. So glad to hear that what I said brought some comfort to you. Please take it easy for a good long while and let your body heal. You do not want to compromise any of the good work that your surgeon did. Also, please be careful when doing ab work in the future, as I believe that is what caused the problems after my first repair. I did NO ab work for over a year after my first repair, and then got back into it, however I was doing crunches and other exercises that I have since learned are bad for the abs, especially if you have had an abdominal hernia repair. Look on the web for exercises that strengthen your TVA or transverse abdominis muscle which is the corset like muscle in the deeper abdominal layer. Crunches and certain pilates moves actually force your abs to pooch out while we want the muscles to go in. Good luck with your weight loss too. Remember though that you are already a beautiful person inside and out just as you are.

    To the most recent poster, I have about 1 cm between my rectus muscles so according to my hernia surgeon, I do not have DR. She feels that the mesh used in the initial repair was too small and that along with being very active and doing the wrong kind of exercises is what most likely caused the problem. The tear was not in the same place as the original, but slightly below it. I hope your swelling and discomfort goes away soon. I’m going through the same thing myself along with some stiffness during the day.

    Thanks again to Moya for this board. This did not exist after my first repair. I have found it to be such a comfort and informative source this time around. My best to all recovering from this procedure.
    Julie

  200. Megan I would love an update, i am 9 days post op and am going through a similar situation with my 19 lb 8 month old and 35 lb 2 1/2 year old….tips to prevent further damage would be helpful. I am still taking 4 ibuprofen every 8 hours with little pain control (8 to 6) and my dr refuses anymore pain meds (i have had 2 prescriptions of 5mg 30 pills each). My surgery was on a Thursday and Hubby started a new job Monday so I have been routinely lifting my 2 boys for 5 days straight, and my husband goes back to work tomorrow. Any tips for pain management that are feasible with 2 kiddos? Also I have a wide itchy rash above belly button (have not had percoset since Thursday. Large mesh was used on small hernia due to multiple surgeries lots of scar tissue (3 c sections and gallbladder plus previous hernia repair.)

  201. Stephanie, I too had a rash for a while after, it did go eventualy, very itchy! I used Aloe vera gel to sooth it. I feel for you having two little ones, mine are older and I dont lift. Here in Uk we use over the counter Paracetamol once the docs meds are done. Rest up on your back in between. I used to listen to my girls read whilst I rested on my bed. You could read to your boys, It will give you extra time laid on back in between the busy times. x

  202. Hi guys
    I had a small umbilical hernia repair 3 days ago now in the UK and so far everything seems to be going okay. I get a slight pain when sitting for too long and finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be tricky but overall I’m feeling good. I run my own business with my wife so I am not going to be able to take as much time off as I would like but I can stick to computer work for a week or two and always finish early if needed. I have a slightly swollen navel and it feels quite solid but no bleeding or discharge on my dressing so far. My consultant actually said it would be possible to do a little cycling after 3-4 days but I think he has mistaken me with Superman! I do sometimes feel a bit of a fraud having people fetch and carry for me but I understand I have to take it easy. Netflix has been a lifesaver!!
    Really hoping I can get back on the saddle of my road bike in the next few weeks and start losing the winter padding!
    Take care everyone and thanks for a great blog!

  203. I had umbilical hernia repair earlier this year, and except for a little glitch when i overdid my first day back to work, everything has gone well. Even my swollen belly started to go back to normal, and I can wear all my old clothes. However I caught a nasty cold three weks ago, which had a terrible cough with it. My umbilical hernia repair site felt tender, but the sharp pain thst I had from that hernia priror to the surgery did not return. However, I also had two inguinal hernias repaired in August, by a different surgeon, and that area is aching quite badly after the coughing, especially with long standing, bendng over and lifting things. Have any of you deal a. With effects of coughing on hernia repairs…maybe it takes a while to settle down and I shouldn’t worry and b. Have any of you dealt with hernias in multiple areas, not just umbilical?I am 55, on the thin side, not a weight lifter nor do I do anything that might put me at risk for hernia, I think and just want my active life back! Do you think something else might be causing all these hernias or could bad coughing spells realy cause al this stuff, and if so what type of specialist could treat the underlying cause. I really like the surgeon who did the umbilical repair, and asked him..he said multiple hernias were not unusual at all, but I would like your feedback if you have had recurring hernias and/or hernias in multiple places. Maybe this is what they mean when they say our body starts to “fall apart” as we age, but somehow i don’t thnk this is normal aging…would love to hear your thoughts. I hope you are all doing well in your recoveries and send best wishes to you all.

  204. Good luck with your surgery…I am sure it will go well. Take it nice and easy when you get back home, and don’t overdo it. Sending good thoughts.

  205. I am 11 days post op umbilical hernia repair no mesh. This blog has been incredibly helpful! Was worried I was the only one experiencing all these funky side effects. Going to rest easy now :) thank you all!

  206. Joy Have you had children? Are you on facebook? There is a condition after stretching in pregnancy Diastasis Rectus that can thin and weeken connective tissue, this was the cause of my hernia. Also there is a condition cald Ehlers Danlos, connective tissue disorder, causes weakness in fascia.Let me know what you think! x

  207. Hi Rachel

    Yes, I have had two children – 20 years ago! Anything I do to try to strengthen my stomach muscles now causes pain but my surgeon doesn’t think it’s new hernias (I had two left inguinal and 1 umbilical). I am trying to gently build strength with gentle stretches now as the suregon thinks my ab muscles are strained. I checked out ED, which is interesting, but don’t have the symptoms of stretchy and overly fragile skin and overly flexible joints. Bu tthanks for the suggestion. Has anything worked for you with your DR and/or do you have any suggestions? Thanks! Take care, Joy

  208. I have a quarter size umbilical hernia that was a dime size last month it tingles ?? Why I don’t know havent gotten to know since when I went to the docter a while back and she him he looked at me like I was stupid and said it my pain was cramping??? Really so how do I explain to the next docter?? It will hurt when I bend over or lay on my stomach.. So what should I do ????

  209. I had a umbilical surgery a week ago. Had a lot of swelling after surgery with a lump above my naval, no mesh, just poked up I guess above my naval and sewed in. Go back for follow-up in a week. I am 61 and went in to doctor for just a colonoscopy and he looked at my naval and said I needed it fixed also. He said he didn’t know if he would need to use mesh or not. He didn’t. The whole hernia thing took me by surprise and it all happened very fast. I didn’t know what to expect and to tell the truth was quite ignorant about the whole thing till after it was over. Had the bowel problems also but main concern was the lump above my naval. I guess he just sewed the hernia up there. Was very worried about the whole thing till I have been reading this blog. Pain from operation lasted 5 days and took 1 pain pill after the operation and decided it wasn’t for me. Had problem urinating while on the pain medication they gave me. So its been a week now and I feel pretty good except for the lump above the belly button. Believe me this blog has helped me deal with alot of my anxieties about this surgery. Will ask a lot of questions at my 2 week follow-up. Thank you for this blog|

  210. I had a small umbilical hernia repaired with sutures 9 days ago. Everything seemed to be going pretty well, I was moving around comfortably & had been off the pain killers for 6 days. Until yesterday! I forgot that I’d had a hernia op & stupidly picked up a shopping bag to put its contents in the fridge, not realising that there was a heavy 6 pint container of milk in there. I immediately felt a really sharp pain, followed by soreness around the navel & which also travelled about 2 inches downwards from it. This freaked me somewhat, so I called my surgeon who said that he thought it was unlikely to have caused any real damage & that he would see me at my f/ up with him next week but to call him again if pain got really bad in the meantime. This reassured me a bit but I got slightly anxious last night as I kept having sharp, stabby pains along with a sort of tingly pins & needles pain when moving around. The other half suggested that it’s probably nerve- endings doing their thing but I’m just worried that I’ve probably ruined the hernia repair & will need it doing again. I’m resting up a lot today! Any advice/similar experiences would be welcomed, please.

  211. This blog thread is a relief to read. I’m having umbilical hernia surgery next month and the doctor wants to use mesh, which has had me worried. I’m a bit less worried after reading these comments, but still concerned. My main problem is that I have to take care of my wife, who is wheelchair bound and has trouble with transfers, so I often have to lift her. I simply cannot get assistance with this from others for more than 2 weeks following the surgery, so I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t have the surgery unless I can get a more reliable solution for my wife’s transfer problems. The surgical info I’ve been given says I should be able to lift normally after 30 days, but I’m beginning to think that’s optimistic.

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