A lump or a mass can develop on the left or right side of the stomach. It can also occur just above the belly button (navel). Depending on the cause, such a lump can be left alone with close monitoring, or be treated medically.
Lumps are closely related to tumors, including malignant tumors. It is for such reasons that you are advised to seek medical attention if such a lump occurs.
Lumps on the stomach mostly feel soft and firm. Some may be hard or fluid-filled. The most dangerous ones are malignant cancer cells, which keep growing in size. Note that a lump in the stomach doesn’t necessarily mean that it will develop inside the stomach. It could be on other organs such as liver, kidneys, spleen, bowel or blood vessels. This article discusses Lump on Left and Right side of Stomach and above the Belly Button. It also slightly touches on the available treatment options. Your doctor will advise you on that in detail.
Lump in stomach above belly button: hernia
A hernia develops when a mass or an organ pushes through a weakened part of the tissue in which it is held. It is very common in the lower abdomen. Hernias do not resolve without treatment. Even so, most are not dangerous especially in the initial stages.
- Inguinal hernia – Inguinal hernias develop in the lower abdomen. This happens when a part of the abdominal wall is weak and thus allows a part of the intestines or another soft tissue to push through and protrude. When a baby boy is developing in the womb, the testicles drop through a canal known as the inguinal canal. It is for this reason that inguinal hernia is mostly reported in males, since the canal may fail to close as it should. A lump in the scrotum after a vasectomy can be mistaken for inguinal hernia.
- Umbilical hernia – a lump in stomach above the belly button can be due to an umbilical hernia. It forms through the same process that gives rise to any typical hernia but is most common in babies. As babies develop, their abdominal walls heal, thus preventing from umbilical hernia. It is for this reason that this type of hernia is not common in adults. A baby with umbilical hernia will form a bulge around the belly button when crying.
- Incisional hernia – after recovery from a surgery such as after C section, the abdominal wall may fail to regain enough stamina or generally become weakened. This will encourage parts of the bowel to push through the weakened spot, leading to an incisional hernia.
- Surgery or after C section
- Injury or accidents
- Birth defects
- Chronic cough
- Hereditary factors
Most hernias are observable. Inguinal hernias form a lump on the groin area. Hernias protrude when standing, coughing or lifting heavy weights. They retract when one is lying on their backs. You may also experience some pain in the area where the hernia has developed.
Diagnosis and treatment
Your doctor will likely identify a hernia after physical examination. To confirm the diagnosis, X-ray or ultrasound imaging can be used.
Hernia can only be corrected through surgery. Painkillers may be prescribed if the condition is painful. Medications to reduce stomach acidity are also commonly prescribed.
Other possible causes of lump on left or right side of stomach
Hematomas when blood collects outside a blood vessel. This is common after an injury, accident or trauma of some kind. Hematomas can develop anywhere in the body. They in most cases resolve without treatment as the blood gets reabsorbed.
Lipomas are fat nodules that form under the skin. They feel rubbery, soft and movable. Lumps due to lipoma form gradually but slowly. They are typically harmless and require not treatment. If need be, they can be removed surgically.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
This is a condition that develops due to inflammation or rupturing of the aorta in the lower abdomen. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. Its size is like that of a garden hose. Factors such as smoking, obesity and hereditary predisposition can lead to inflammation on the lower part of the vessel, just before it branches at the pelvis. This can be felt as a lump deep in the abdomen. In most cases, no much noticeable symptoms will occur. In fact, the condition is usually discovered during medical checkups.
Testicles need to descend to below the penis during embryonic development. Sometimes, one of the testicles may fail to descend. This can be felt as a lump in the affected side of the stomach. It will be accompanied by a missing testicle in the scrotum.
Crohn’s disease leads to formation of a soft lump in the abdomen. The lump is usually shaped like a sausage and not tender.
There are about 5 types of cysts that can develop on or around the ovaries. Since the ovaries are located inside either side of the abdomen, cysts will be felt as lump in that region. Cysts are in most cases harmless. If need be, they can be removed through surgery. Lump in the groin in a female symptoms can indicate infected ovarian cysts but are very rare.
Fibroids develop in the uterus. They can be felt as lumps in the lower part of the abdomen where the womb is located. They require medical treatment for they cause infertility.
Diverticulitis is felt as a lump on left side of the stomach. It develops due to formation of pouches or bulges in the lower colon. The pouches often get infected with bacteria or get inflamed. The condition causes mild pain. Patients are advised to stay clear of foods with high fiber content and a lot of fluids.
A number of cancers can cause lumps in the stomach. For example, hard lump on left side of stomach no pain symptoms may indicate cancer of the kidney, ovary or colon. Another on the right upper side of the stomach could be a sign of cancer of the liver or gallbladder. Cancerous lumps are in most cases painless and keep gaining mass indefinitely. They also have a tendency of spreading to other body parts. For this reason, you may also notice a hard lump on the roof of the mouth or a hard lump in the breast.
- Bladder distention
- Bowel obstruction
Symptoms of lump in either side of stomach or above navel
Specific symptoms will depend on the actual cause of the lump on side of stomach above the belly button. General ones include:
- Protruding stomach wall
- Pain in the stomach area
- Irregular or changing bowel habits
- Bowel discomfort
- Lack of appetite
- Tendency to get full on light meals
- Frequent urination
- Abnormal weight gain/loss cycles
- Blood in stool
Symptoms of cancer lumps
- Formation of a hard lump with no apparent cause
- Lumps that continuously grow with no pain
- Hard, irregular and immovable lumps
- Swollen lump behind ear, in groin area, in armpit and on throat
- hard lump in earlobe or any other part of the body
Diagnosis for lump in stomach
- Physical examination – a doctor can identify lumps such as hernias or lipomas through physical examination.
- Blood tests – they can be used to check for signs of infection such as infected diverticulitis pouches. Blood tests are important if signs such as a sore lump behind the ear or abscess are also present.
- Urine, stool or pregnancy tests – commonly used for bowel disorders and ovarian cysts.
- CT scan – uses a computer and X-rays to produce cross-sectional images. CT scan images allow a doctor to learn the location, size and changes occurring in a lump in the stomach.
- MRI – MRI scan relies on computers, radio frequencies and magnetic fields to produce images of parts of the body. It can penetrate almost all body structures and organs.
- X-rays – x-rays are mostly used for a complete checkup or when the specific location of a lump is not known.
- Ultrasound scan – it relies on high frequency sound waves to produce images of a lump or other body structures.
- Biopsy – a biopsy is only necessary when diagnosis has not been confirmed. It involves cutting a tiny piece of the affected organ and testing for infections. Cancer cells are often confirmed through biopsies.
Treatment and removing a lump in stomach
If you have a lump in stomach above the belly button due to a hernia, it can only be corrected through surgery. Medications to improve the condition are available.
Most types of stomach tumors are either left alone and closely monitored or corrected in surgery. Your doctor will discuss the best option available.
At home, avoid activities that will require you to exert a lot of pressure in the stomach. If you have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, avoid heavy meals and a lot of fiber in your diets. Some exercises will keep from constipation.
When to see a doctor
Chances are that a lump you have in the stomach area is not cancerous. Even so, the chances should not be taken. Always report to your doctor if symptoms of such a lump are to persist, cause other symptoms or being of some form of discomfort.