Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Hernia, Epigastric

May also be called: Ventral Hernia; Linea Alba Hernia

An epigastric (eh-pih-GAS-trik) hernia is a hernia that happens when part of the intestines protrude through the abdominal muscles located between the belly button and the chest.

More to Know

A hernia is an opening or weakness in the wall of a muscle, tissue, or membrane that normally holds an organ in place. If the opening or weakness is large enough, a portion of the organ may be able to protrude through the hole.

With an epigastric hernia, the opening is found near the center of the abdomen, in between the bottom of the breastbone (sternum) and the belly button. This part of the abdomen is called the epigastrium, so a hernia in this area is called epigastric.

Epigastric hernias are caused by defects in the midline of the abdomen (called the linea alba), where the abdominal muscles on both sides come together. Babies can be born with this sort of defect, or it can be caused by weakness in the surrounding muscles or strain on the abdominal wall. The defect may allow fatty tissue and/or part of the intestines to protrude through the abdominal muscles. This can cause pain and a small lump.

About 75% of epigastric hernias occur in males. They are usually small and may cause no symptoms and sometimes require no treatment. When symptoms are present or the hernia is large, surgery is a common way to fix the problem.

Keep in Mind

Epigastric hernias should be evaluated so a doctor should be notified about swelling or pain in the area of the epigastrium.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.