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After birth, the leftover umbilical cord is cut, clamped, and left to dry off. In most cases, mothers don’t need to do much to accentuate the healing process of the umbilical cord of the newborns other than keeping the area around the stump clean and dry. Once the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, a common benign abnormality called umbilical granuloma may occur in this neonatal period. This granuloma prevents normal skin tissue from developing and turns red and moist to eventually ooze out a thick-colored discharge. This condition may be completely harmless and painless for the baby but needs medical attention through the right treatment to avoid infection that might affect the general health.
What is Umbilical Granuloma?
An umbilical granuloma is a small tissue growth that forms in the belly button after the umbilical cord is cut. If it becomes infected, it can pose health risks to your baby. It needs proper care and treatment to be healed completely to reveal a super cute little belly button for your baby.
When Does It Form?
The unborn baby is connected to the mother by the umbilical cord in the uterus. The part of the umbilical cord that’s still attached to your baby is the umbilical stump on the navel, which usually shrivels, gets darker, dries up, and finally falls off within one to two weeks. However, instead of completely drying, sometimes the cord forms an umbilical granuloma or a small mass or stalk of pinkish-red tissue that remains on the belly button. It is essential to keep the belly button clean and dry to heal appropriately without getting infected or resulting in bleeding in such a scenario. This condition usually goes away in about a week. If the condition is not changing, or the cord bleeds actively, or if the stump gets infected, consult the doctor.
Causes Of Umbilical Granuloma
The medical community is not very sure what exactly causes umbilical granulomas. They are not dependent on the quality of care a baby receives or any other health conditions. Usually, after the umbilical cord has been cut, the stump on the belly button dries and falls off. Umbilical granulomas are likely to develop if the stump takes longer than 2 weeks to dry and fall off. A granuloma may be caused by extra moisture.
Symptoms Of Umbilical Granuloma
An umbilical granuloma may have any of the following symptoms in your baby:
- A moist pink lump of tissue over his belly button
- Warmth or redness in the belly button area that is sensitive to touch
- Pink, clear bloody, or yellow pus oozing out from his belly button
- Presence of a sticky, foul-smelling mucus
- Skin irritation around the naval.
Can Umbilical Granuloma Hurt Your Baby?
An umbilical granuloma may not cause discomfort for the baby. It is not painful, life-threatening, or leads to any cancer. Umbilical granulomas need to be treated to prevent swelling or lead to future skin complications and avoid any infection.
In some rare cases, an umbilical granuloma does not heal in time and may develop complications. Look out for warning signs such as the baby crying when the belly button or the skin around it is touched or if the baby develops a fever or rashes or blisters around the naval. Signs of infection include bleeding, swelling, increased redness, cloudy or bad-smelling drainage from the Granuloma.
Umbilical Granuloma Treatment
In most cases, umbilical granuloma doesn’t require medical treatment. Consult your baby’s health care provider about the best way to treat this problem.
1. Silver Nitrate Solution
Applying a tiny amount of silver nitrate on the belly button causes the Granuloma to dry and shrink. This topical solution is the most common treatment and is not painful for the baby.
2. Liquid Nitrogen
Applying liquid nitrogen will cause the tissue to freeze and fall off. It would be best if you did this under a doctor’s supervision.
3. Surgical Thread
The granuloma may be tied off around its base with thread so that the tissue is deprived of blood flow which will dry it up and fall off faster.
4. Surgical Removal
As a last resort, the doctor can gently remove the tissue surgically using a scalpel or knife.
Home Care of Umbilical Granuloma
Are you confused about how to treat umbilical granuloma at home? Most new parents face this problem. It would help if you kept the area around the stump clean and dry. Get your baby’s umbilical cord checked by the pediatrician at a newborn wellness visit to check for infection. Umbilical granuloma care by a parent include:
1. Wash your hands
It is essential to maintain proper hygiene whenever you’re handling the cord stump. One should not touch it for unnecessary reasons.
2. Drying the Stump well after bathing
The baby’s stump will dry and heal much faster if you expose it to air for more time. Do not cover it with nappies or plastic pants. Fold nappies downwards, placing them at a distance from the stump.
3. Do not pull off the Stump
The stump should not be pulled off even if it looks like it’ll fall off soon. After the cord stump has fallen off, keep the area clean and dry until healing is complete.
4. Changing Diapers
Keeping the diaper area clean and moisture-free promotes healing and helps in preventing infection.
5. Position the Diaper below the bellybutton
Fold and roll the top of the diaper down at the front so that it sits right under the navel to leave the area exposed to air and free of friction. This way, the belly button will dry faster.
6. Giving the baby sponge baths
A granuloma is likely to heal more quickly when the navel area is kept dry. Hence, avoid water on the baby’s belly button while bathing. A sponge bath can keep the baby’s skin clean and cool until the cord falls off.
7. Only Water
Use only water to keep your baby’s belly button area clean. If the area gets urine or fecal matter on it, wash the area using a pH-neutral cleaner and clean water.
8. Keeping The Area Clean
Wipe the area around your baby’s belly button carefully with the washcloth. Make sure the umbilical cord stump doesn’t get overly wet. Pat dry your baby and their belly button.
When to Contact Your Doctor
It is advisable to inform your doctor if your baby’s umbilical cord isn’t healing the desired way.
- If the baby’s umbilical cord does not fall off by itself within the first four weeks of birth and forms tissue growth.
- If the area around the stump appears swollen, red, or infected, or the child develops a fever.
While it can be worrisome if your child develops an umbilical granuloma, it is heartening to know that it doesn’t cause pain or a great health hazard to your baby. With proper care and medical procedure by a doctor, you can easily remove it.