Umbilical and inguinal hernias in children

Could they be a sign of the rare disease known as Hunter syndrome?

The presence of umbilical or inguinal hernias in children alone does not suggest Hunter syndrome, but if your child is also experiencing unusual clusters of common childhood complaints, Hunter syndrome should be considered.

Hernia frequency in Hunter syndrome

There is evidence to suggest that hernias are more common in people with Hunter syndrome than in the general population. Results from a study of more than 200 people with Hunter syndrome showed that 78% of them had experienced a hernia. Hernia was one of the earliest signs of Hunter syndrome, occurring at around 16 months of age on average.

Other signs and symptoms that may indicate Hunter syndrome


The signs and symptoms of Hunter syndrome vary greatly between individuals, but typically start to present between the ages of 2 and 4 years.

  • Particular facial features, such as a prominent brow, broad nose and thick lips
  • Large head
  • Joint stiffness, which may lead to restricted movement
  • Frequent or long-term diarrhoea
  • Delays in childhood development (e.g. delayed walking, delayed speech)
  • Breathing problems, including noisy breathing and snoring

It is important to remember that many of these signs and symptoms are common in childhood, and it is the combination of them that may indicate Hunter syndrome.