What Causes Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain?

Belly Button Pain

Belly button forms when the umbilical cord is cut off after the birth. It is also known as umbilicus. Ever wondered why does my belly button hurt inside? The belly button pain may be due to various reasons such as touching, wearing tight clothes, or with some incorrect body postures.

Pain in the belly button is known as belly button pain or umbilical pain. You would usually tend to avoid this pain because it doesn’t disturb your daily routine.

But if the pain persists for a long duration and causes severe discomfort, it may be an indication of a serious health issue.

Also Read: Lower Left Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Natural Treatments

What Does Belly Button Pain Feel Like?

Belly button pain shouldn’t be a major concern. In some cases, you may not even be aware of the underlying pain, but consider it to be a normal abdominal pain.

Few points mentioned below will help you identify your belly button or umbilical pain.

  • Pain around belly button area – it can be above, below or on sides
  • Pain inside the belly button
  • Belly button hurts when touched or on wearing tight clothing
  • Sharp pulling pain in the belly button
  • Some discharge oozes from the belly button
  • You feel the pain along with oozing pus, and it smells
  • Pain remains for a while, or it persists and does not go away with rest
  • The severity of the pain – is it mild or sharp? Sharp pain will prevent you from doing normal activities
  • The pain radiates between sides of the belly button
  • You feel the pain while bending or leaning forward or stretching.

Different symptoms of belly button pain can be due to various underlying causes. Observe these symptoms carefully to help your doctor to diagnose the cause easily.

What Causes Belly Button Pain?

Pain in belly button is irritating because it gives you a feeling of unwanted pressure. Although the pain can be mild to sharp, it doesn’t go away even after you take rest.

Here are ten leading causes of pain in belly button:

1. Surgery

If you have recently undergone an abdominal surgery, you may experience the belly button or umbilical pain. It may accompany other symptoms like diarrhea or constipation.

The pain may be mild or sharp. In most cases of post abdominal surgery, belly button pain is a common symptom. It goes away as the operated area heals.

2. Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, it is normal if your belly button hurts (1). During pregnancy, your body adjusts to accommodate the growing baby. Pregnancy will give you many different sensations, one of which is belly button pain. It is usually mild.

If your belly button hurts severely, you must seek medical attention. It may be a sign of fallopian pregnancy, and you should seek medical advice immediately.

3. Ulcer

Ulcers in the stomach can be a reason of your belly button pain (2). An ulcer is an irritation, tearing or erosion of the internal body surface.

Excess stomach acid causes stomach ulcers. Irritation of stomach wall may also lead to internal bleeding and belly button pain. You may experience that the pain aggravates on consuming spicy or acidic foods.

4. Gallstones

Gallstones usually go undetected. You will come to know about gallstones when they cause severe pain in the upper abdominal area which slowly radiates to the lower area around your belly button (3).

The pain occurs periodically, recurring in few days, or months. Along with the belly button pain, you may also see other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, fever, bloating, and jaundice.

In severe cases of gallstones, you may even require surgical intervention.

5. Hernia

A hernia refers to an uncontrolled pain near your left abdomen due to torn tissues or organs of the abdomen. A hernia also causes painful bowel movements, urination scrotum pain, a visible tender lump and a heavy feeling in the stomach (4).

The pain around your belly button will elevate with body movements like bending or leaning forward.

6. Cystitis

Cystitis is a type of urinary tract infection. Unlike other urinary tract infection, cystitis infection can spread to other parts of the body (5). The primary victims are your kidneys.

In cystitis, you experience a mild pain near the belly button area. Cystitis progresses quickly and spreads to other body organs.

7. Microbial Infections

Microbial infections, mostly bacterial infections in the stomach can generate pain around the belly button. Such belly button pain is experienced when pressed.

Bacterial infection can make the stomach swell or become sore. Pain in belly button accompanies other symptoms like nausea, flu or vomiting when you have a microbial infection in your belly.

8. Pancreatic Problems

Pancreas control the amount of sugar present in the blood according to the body’s energy requirement. Pancreatic problems may include symptoms similar to diabetes and nausea, fever, or headaches.

They can also cause pain near belly button area that occurs sporadically throughout the day.

9. Small Intestine Disorder

The small intestine is present in your abdomen where it folds many times centering around belly button area.

Since your abdomen is involved in major body movements, any disorder in your small intestine will cause mild to severe pain. Such pain can occur due to infections in the small intestine or other serious issues.

10. Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed. The pain will be difficult to locate but will be around your belly button area (6). The pain then moves to the lower right side of the abdominal region.

If you are suffering from appendicitis, you may also experience, indigestion, constipation, loss of appetite, nausea, fever, and vomiting.

The pain increases if you walk or a cough. Appendicitis can be fatal, and you must not ignore its symptoms.

Due to such serious deep rooted health causes, belly button pain must not be ignored. Correct diagnosis of the cause of belly button pain can help the doctor to give appropriate medical treatments.

Belly Button Pain Treatment Options

Treatment for your belly button pain or umbilical pain solely depends on the underlying cause. If you have correctly diagnosed the cause of your umbilical pain with doctor’s help, you will be prescribed medications, dietary changes and in some cases surgery.

Discussed below are some treatments advised for pain in the belly button.

1. Surgery

If your belly button pain is due to abdominal surgery, it fades as your body heals. Consult your doctor if the pain persists for a long time.

2. Pregnancy

In most cases of pregnancy, the belly button pain is caused due to your body adjustments for the growing baby.

If the pain is severe, it requires immediate medical attention as it can be a sign of something serious such as a threat to the baby or a fallopian pregnancy.

3. Ulcer

Because the pain aggravates with eating the particular foodstuffs, your doctor will suggest dietary and lifestyle changes.

In severe symptoms, medications will help replace and heal the inflamed stomach lining.

4. Gallstones

In mild symptoms of gallstones, dietary changes like avoiding fatty foods, consuming fresh fluids can help.

Medicines like painkillers may give relief from the pain. In severe cases, you may need to undergo a surgical intervention.

5. Hernia

In mild cases of a hernia, you may be asked to apply an ice pack to get relief from the pain and to suppress the swelling.

Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and opioids (painkillers). In severe pain, surgical treatments like laparoscopy or open exploratory surgery are useful.

Surgery can help your doctor examine a hernia affected tissues or organs, and perform the further surgical intervention.

6. Cystitis

If you are diagnosed with cystitis, antibiotics will help clear the infection and prevent it from spreading to the other parts of the body.

Some effective natural remedies for cystitis include:

  • Avoid sugar
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin A and C
  • Drink plenty of fluids

7. Microbial Infections

Infections in the stomach are treated with appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection. If you have external skin infection around the belly button, topical application of antibiotic cream can help.

Antibacterial medicines with antifungal, antibacterial or antiviral properties may be prescribed after identification of the infectious agent.

8. Pancreatic Problems

If a diabetic experiences a sporadic belly button pain, seek doctor’s advice to determine the presence of other pancreatic problems.

9. Small Intestine Disorder

Pain in belly button due to microbial infection in the small intestine is treated with antibiotics. In some severe conditions, surgical intervention is needed.

10. Appendicitis

Mild appendix infections are treated with antibiotics along with analgesics to relieve belly button pain. In the case of severe appendicitis, laparoscopy is performed to remove severely infected or ruptured hernia.

Apart from above medical treatments, avoiding the consumption of food that triggers the pain or worsens the symptoms is the best home remedy.

If movements like bending, stretching and vigorous exercise cause pain, it is better to avoid them. Consult your doctor in case of confusions or severe symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Help?

You should not ignore the belly button pain or umbilical pain and expect it to fade over time. The pain may decrease with time but it few cases it may also get severe.

If you experience a persistent or sporadic pain for more than three days and it gets worse over time, then you must contact your doctor.

An ignored mild pain can lead to severe health consequences which otherwise can be avoided by medical attention at earlier stages.

Note the other symptoms that you experience along with pain and consult it with your doctor to avoid complications.

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Madhvi Bhosale, Microbiologist

Madhvi Bhosale is a microbiologist (M.Sc.) and has experience of research in the field of molecular biology of malarial parasite P.falciparum. She has contributed in the research about P. falciparum epigenome. With the background of research about microbial diseases, she aspire to write health related articles which can help the readers to be aware and stay healthy. She also writes biology educational contents and story boards. With her creative mind, she produces a clear and refined audio-visual biology concepts. The sound knowledge of microbiology enables her to contribute significantly in writing all-inclusive health articles.