For the past few years I have suffered with something usually associated with babies; women after childbirth; and old, fat men. Being an old, fat man I do not always use good judgement. When you are told not to lift heavy things, bend with your legs, lose some weight, and go to the doctor regularly - then do it! Otherwise your belly button may some day become an "outie", or a character from the movie, "Total Recall". Over the last three years I slowly developed what is referred to as an umbilical hernia, a tear in the abdominal wall which results in an enlarged, and sometimes painful, belly button. Depending upon the severity you can sometimes coexist with the condition, especially if you lose a great deal of weight.
Babies and young children sometimes develop this condition and minor surgery takes care of it quickly.
But when you are older, over weight, don't lose enough weight to make an impact, and keep a very busy schedule - you might ignore the obvious, pretend it will go away, and eventually end up in surgery.
On July 1st I went in for out patient surgery. In this procedure the doctor made a small incision under my belly button and removed a hernia the size of a golf ball. a mesh circle was inserted and attached to the abdominal muscles so that they will eventually grow with the mesh to make my stomach muscles stronger than ever. When the hernia is removed your intestines are pushed back to where they belong, some of the layers of fat are cut off (because they swell with the tissue and don't always fit back in very well)and you are sewn back up. The procedure takes about an hour.
If you are healthy, fit and the hernia is small you have discomfort for about a week, go back to work and don't lift things for 3-4 weeks.
But if you are older, overweight and the mass is larger, then you have about two weeks of nasty pain and six weeks of recovery! I share this not to complain - but as an incentive for anyone reading that puts a diet off until tomorrow, puts off that trip to the doctor until next year, or ignores simple pains that persist. It really isn't worth it!
Google umbilical hernia for some great information and pictures. I knew very little about this until I had to have the procedure done. Enjoy your summer and get a check up!