Pain in Belly Button Area

Pain in belly button can occur due to a variety of causes. Some of the common causes, associated symptoms, and relevant treatment options are discussed below.

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Causes of pain in belly button

Pain in belly button may be caused due to:

  • Stomach flu: A common cause of pain in belly button, stomach flu occurs due to viral infection and subsequent inflammation of the stomach wall and intestinal linings. Patients tend to vomit immediately after meals and suffer from impaired digestion, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
  • Wearing ill-fitting clothes: Wearing pants that are too tight, especially around the belly area, can cause a lot of discomfort and eventually result in pain around the belly button area.
  • Infected belly-button piercing: Pain in belly button can occur due to infection of a navel piercing. Patients may also experience swelling, redness of the area, buildup of pus, and foul discharge. It is treated with antibiotics. Doctors may also recommended removal of the belly-button jewelry.
  • Crohn’s disease: It is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by severe swelling of the intestinal wall, inflammation of certain sections of the large and small bowels, constriction of the intestinal tract, and subsequent obstruction in the free flow of contents across the intestine. In addition to pain in belly button, patients may exhibit impaired digestion, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, diarrhea and other bowel problems, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
  • Vigorous exercising: Different kinds of strenuous exercises, including lifting heavy weights and crunches, can place a lot of stress on the muscles of the abdomen. This can then trigger a case of pain in belly button.
  • Appendicitis: The appendix is a pouch like organ situated in the abdomen. Inflammation, enlargement, and swelling of the appendix, often due to infection of the organ, is known as appendicitis. It can result in mild to severe pain in belly button, particularly after a meal. The pain and discomfort begins in the navel area and then gradually travels down. The pain is generally mild/moderate at first, but with time it can become intense and quite intolerable, requiring emergency medical care, including surgery. Additional symptoms of appendicitis include loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation, nausea, low fever, gas retention, diarrhea, and abdominal swelling.
  • Cystitis: It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) marked by inflammation of the bladder. It is a common cause of pain in belly button. More women are affected by it than men. Additional symptoms include strong desire to pass urine, burning sensations when passing urine, bloody urine, mild fever, and increased pressure in lower part of the abdomen. Non-treatment of cystitis can result in spread of the infection to the kidneys which is a very serious condition that requires surgery and extensive recovery period. Other forms of UTIs can also cause pain in belly button.
  • Umbilical hernia: Hernia is a condition marked by abnormal protrusion of an organ through a weak spot in the surrounding muscles, thereby damaging the related muscle tissues in the process. When a hernia affects the navel region, then it is known as umbilical hernia. In umbilical hernia, the intestines protrude out from the weak abdominal tissues present near the navel and cause a characteristic bulge. It is more common in children and infants. Patients may experience mild, sharp, and/or persistent pain in the belly button; the pain often aggravates when coughing or vigorous crying. Visit a doctor for treatment options.
  • Pancreatitis: The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach; it produces digestion promoting enzymes. Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of this organ. Patients may suffer from radiating pain in belly button, vomiting, nausea, and indigestion. The associated pain typically intensifies after eating.
  • Candidiasis: Infection of the belly button by the Candidiasis albicans yeast can cause pain in belly button as well as discharge of yogurt or cottage cheese-like matter from the navel. The belly button may also emit a foul odor. The infection is treated with antifungal medications.
  • Ulcers: Occurrence of ulcers, i.e. erosion of small tissue in the gastrointestinal tract, can also cause pain in belly button. The condition is caused due to infections by H. pylori bacteria, smoking, irregular diet, and alcohol abuse, etc. Additional symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, inexplicable weight loss, burping, bloating, bloody stools, and pain throughout the abdomen. Treatment involves lifestyle changes, painkillers, and ulcer treating medications.
  • Debris accumulation in belly button: Buildup of debris in the navel can irritate the skin and create the right conditions for attack by varied pathogens. Resultant infection can then cause pain in belly button.
  • Pregnancy: Pain in belly button during pregnancy is common and typically harmless. It is caused due to the pressure exerted by the growing fetus. The pain often begins in the lower abdomen and radiates around the navel area. It typically begins during the sixth month of pregnancy, slowly keeps intensifying, and finally alleviates after delivery.
  • Overeating: Intake of excess amounts of food can also cause pain in belly button along with abdominal pain, acidity, and gas problems.
  • Gallbladder disease: The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ located below the liver; it aids fat digestion and stores bile. Any kind of inflammation, blockage, infection, obstruction, or stones affecting the organ can be classified as gallbladder disease. Patients may experience pain in belly button which can sometimes radiate across the abdomen. Additional symptoms include severe navel pain when passing urine, feeling of stomach fullness, nausea, fever, chills, vomiting, chest pain, and heartburn, etc. Treatment involves changes in diet, exercising, and surgery if needed.
  • Food poisoning: Intake of adulterated or contaminated food or that prepared in unsanitary environments can result in food poisoning. Affected individuals are most likely to suffer from pain in belly button, persistent abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Other causes: Pain in belly button may also occur due to internal bleeding, patent urachus, sneezing too hard, previous surgeries of the abdomen, ovarian cysts, acute/chronic diarrhea or constipation, stress, very dry atmosphere leading to an excessively dry navel, and urachal cyst.

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Most cases of pain in belly button are mild and often resolve on their own. Patients should avoid the buildup of excessive moisture in the belly button so as to prevent any navel infections. Intake of a healthy and balanced diet and regular exercising can help boost the immune system and hasten the process of natural recovery.


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