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I often come across parents who ask me questions about the condition of their baby's belly button. I always follow them that, for their peace of mind, most of the navels they show me are very healthy.
However, I will explain below several notions that can help you to recognize whether or not there may be a problem with that small part of the baby's body.
Under normal conditions, the umbilical cord of a newborn has the following structures: two arteries, a vein and two vestiges (millimeter remains of small ducts present in the embryo, called allantoic duct and omphalomesenteric duct). All this is immersed in a gelatinous medium (Wharton's gelatin). The fall of the cord occurs throughout the first two weeks of life.
1) Structural problems:
- Unique umbilical artery. In general, it does not associate problems at another level. A small percentage of cases are associated with vascular, cardiac, renal malformations or alterations in the chromosomes.
- Persistence of the omphalomesenteric duct. It is recognized because an alkaline fecaloid liquid comes out through the navel, which gives off a bad smell.
- Persistence of the allantoic duct. It is recognized because an acidic, yellowish liquid comes out through the navel.
- Delay in the fall of the cord. It can be associated with infection of the cord. More rarely, with some immunodeficiency.
- Umbilical hernia. They become visible when the child cries or pushes. They are usually wide-ringed, and are rarely complicated. If they persist beyond 2-3 years of life, they are operated on, but not before.
- Granuloma. It is a small red and soft mass, with the appearance of a small strawberry. They usually disappear spontaneously. If it creates family distress, it can be treated by dabbing it with silver nitrate.
- Polyp. It is a red mass with a hard consistency. If it causes discomfort, it requires surgical treatment.
- Infection of the navel is called omphalitis. To avoid complications, it must be carefully treated with antibiotics (in the most severe cases, intravenously) and topical antiseptics.
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