T Nation

Training With Umbilical Hernia

I found out yesterday that I have an umbilical hernia. It’s very small, if I brace and squeeze to make it bulge it’s the size of the tip of my index finger, and it doesn’t hurt or even feel like anything is there. The doctor told me it’s nothing to worry about, I can keep lifting weights, if it gets big and starts to hurt then they would operate. He even said that a private doctor (I’m in Canada with public healthcare) would be unlikely to want to operate because it’s so small and not worth any potential risks. I also don’t have insurance beyond public healthcare and don’t have a lot of money to spare.

The thing is that I’m a competitive powerlifter, I’m squatting mid 500s for reps and was planning to squat well over 600 at a meet in a few months. I don’t know if the doctor really understands what I’m doing, and it seems to me like continuing training like that is putting me at risk unnecessarily. If I could just go get it fixed now and move on with life it would be a different story, but I don’t want to push it until I fuck myself up bad before something can be done about it.

Has anyone else on here dealt with this? Or continued to lift heavy with a small hernia and not had any problems? For now it looks like I’m going bench-only and just do some light high rep squats and deadlifts with no belt.

1 Like

Just to be clear Chris, are you talking about your belly button? Is so, I’ve had a herniated belly button/outie my entire life. I even had a double inguinal hernia repair at two years of age and the docs skipped fixing my belly button for some reason. When I was a skinny 160# bike racer it sat slightly below the level of my abs but now that I’m powerlifting and 225# it sticks out a fair amount. It’s never caused me any pain or other problem. I just make sure to keep my belt either totally over or completely off it.

Yeah, it’s the belly button, but it’s not the same thing as an “outie”. Mine is an innie anyway. Are you sure you have a hernia or it’s just an outie? If it’s a hernia then it sounds encouraging for my situation, but I didn’t always have this. I don’t regularly feel up my belly button, but I remember it feeling different before.

Mine is a very minor hernia. The way the doc explained it is that mine is essentially just fluid coming through to the belly button. There is no intestinal protrusion or pain. He said that if I lay down on my back and it self reduces, which it quickly does, it’s no big deal. I couldn’t get my health insurance to cover it because they said it’s cosmetic. He did tell me that if it ever changes/won’t reduce that I need to see a doc ASAP since if any intestine gets trapped it can be quite dangerous.

Also, I forgot to mention that my belly button can look pretty different from day to day depending on training, food intake, etc. I’ve seen other people with outies but mine looks a bit different IMO.

Ok, so that’s the same situation I’m dealing with. The difference is that you had this all your life while mine is a new development.

I don’t really know what to think at this point. There is always a risk of getting a serious hernia no matter what, I’m just at higher risk than most people since I already have a small one. I’m not sure what I’m going to do, maybe just go bench-only for this meet and put squat and deadlift on maintenance until I figure out what I want to do.

I lifted with an umbillical hernia for over 15 years without problems. Mine was a bit larger than yours, but with rare exception was always retractable. I was a 500+ squat/dead for reps lifter. When I first went in to have it looked at the Doctor told me as long as it didn’t bother me there was no rush to repair it. There is a very, very low risk of complications with that type of hernia. FTR…I did have it repaired last August. I could return to cardio and light upper body work at ten days and 100% released at six weeks.


For you and anyone else who comes across this thread, yesterday I checked out the Barbell Medicine forum and Jordan Feigenbaum, doctor and national level powerlifter, said that he has had one for the last decade and it hasn’t stopped him from lifting at all. As long as it’s not entrapped/strangulated and not causing a lot of pain it’s nothing to worry about, but of course it’s a good idea to get that verified by a doctor.

1 Like