Belly button also referred as umbilicus is situated at the center of stomach. It is a dimpled scar left over after cutting the umbilical cord during childbirth. Belly button pain is medically significant because it has many underlying causes, some of which may be serious. Belly button pain can be continuous or it may be occasional.
The pain may be intense or a minor discomfort when you bend, stretch or with any movement of upper trunk. It may even persist while resting or lying down. Sometimes along with pain there may be associated discharge from umbilicus.It may be thick and foul smelling or thin and watery.
Since pain in belly button is just a symptom, it is necessary to find the underlying cause in order to treat the condition.
Common Causes Of Pain In Belly Button
There are several causes which can trigger pain in belly button. To begin with, let us know the most frequent and common causes.
- Tight clothing: Wearing tight fitting pants and apparels is often associated with belly button pain. This is because the tight fitting clothes put lot of pressure on the umbilicus.
- Umbilicus hernia: It is the second most common cause for pain in navel. Umbilicus hernia develops when a part of intestine or bladder seeps underneath the umbilicus. It occurs due to weak abdominal wall muscles. In most cases umbilical hernia is since childhood. Umbilicus increases in size and a bulge is formed. Tenderness and pain are two common symptoms of umbilical hernia besides bulging. Pain becomes severe with movement such as bending and stretching while walking, jumping and other physical activities.
- Belly button piercing: It has become a fashion tread in recent time. Infection after piercing can cause pain in umbilicus.
- Appendicitis: Sharp and shooting pain in belly button is often a symptom of appendicitis. It is radiating pain to the umbilical region. Appendix is a tiny finger like structure extending from colon. It may become inflamed and infected. Appendix is situated in right iliac fossa, but often the early pain begins from the umbilical area and radiates towards the right lower part of abdomen.
- Constipation: Pain in lower abdomen and umbilicus may be one of the causes of constipation. Person often has to strain during bowel movement when he is constipated. It may produce pressure in umbilicus leading to pain.
- Pregnancy: Many pregnant women complain of pain in umbilicus. During pregnancy the uterus enlarges in size. It can stretch the belly button leading to pain sometimes.
Treatment Options For Belly Button Pain
Treatment of navel pain largely depends on the treating the underlying cause.
- If you suspect wearing tight fitting clothes is triggering pain, avoid wearing them. Instead opt for loose fitting clothes.
- If there is a bulge on coughing or on physical exertion, the most probable cause is umbilical hernia. In severe cases surgery may be required to repair the hernia.
- Appendicitis is a surgical emergency. Consult your doctor without delay when you suspect the cause is appendicitis. The condition is accompanied with many other symptoms such as fever, vomiting and excruciating pain in umbilical region which may radiate to right inguinal region after a period of time.
- Constipation can be relieved by intake of more fiber containing food. Eat vegetables and fruits to relieve constipation. However, sometimes patient may required mild laxative to increase bowel motility. But it is not the solution whenever you are constipated. Change in lifestyle and eating habits is much more needed to regularize bowel movement.
- Infection can be treated with antibiotics and local application of antibacterial ointment.