Some people visit their dermatologists to ask common questions like, why does my belly button smell, or how to properly clean my belly button? If you are think that there is a bad odor coming from your navel, this article will tell you the causes of smelly belly button and the proper ways to treat it.
The most common causes of smelly belly button are fungal infections, obesity, yeast infections, piercings and belly button discharge. In some cases, this condition can be accompanied by bleeding. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat the infection. Making an action right away can prevent it from getting worse.
Common Causes of Smelly Belly Button
Do you ever wonder why sometimes, your belly button produces foul odor? This can be a simple discharge or already a medical problem. Your hygiene is also another factor that leads to smelly belly button. Dirt, sweat, lint and bacteria can start building up in your belly button that leads to unpleasant smell. This part of the body is warm and damp. Any residue of soap, dirt or sweat, along with other substances, allows any infection to start.
Like what we have mentioned before, smelly button can be a sign of poor hygiene or an infection. Because the belly button is moist and warm area, it is vulnerable to growth of bacteria that leads to different types of infection. This causes the belly button to produce unpleasant odor and discharge. Here are the common causes of smelly belly button.
1. Yeast or Fungal Infection
Yeast infection, also called fungal infection, often affects adolescents and children. Newborns can also develop this condition when exposed to mother’s vaginal yeast infection. The most common sign of yeast infection in the belly button is foul odor. Candida albicans, a fungus that survives in damp and warm places like the navel, can cause the unpleasant smell coming from your belly button. Aside from the navel hole, this fungus can also live in the mouth and cause bad breath. Other symptoms of yeast infection in the belly button include:
- Foul odor that does not disappear after cleaning.
- Yellow discharges from the navel hole.
- Pain with liquid discharge.
2. Bacterial Infection
This condition usually occurs to people who have deep belly buttons. Leaving your belly button unwashed allows bacteria to live and develop. The navel hole is warm and moist, which is the perfect place for bacteria to strive. Leaving it unattended can make the condition worse accompanied by pain. You will feel uncomfortable and the affected area becomes a wound. Aside from the unpleasant smell from the belly button, you may also have liquid discharge. Here are some tips to prevent bacterial infection that leads to smelly belly button:
- Always clean your belly button with soap to prevent the growth of bacteria.
- After sweating, clean your navel hole to keep the sweat from accumulating inside. Sweat promotes the growth of bacteria and leads to unpleasant smell.
- Always keep your belly button dry after showering or exercising to prevent it from staying moist.
3. Pregnancy or Period
Many people have reported that their navel area smell like stool during period or pregnancy. Why does it happen during period or pregnancy?
- During ovulation or period, or during pregnancy, the level of the body’s metabolism increases. This means that the body releases more sweat and not cleaning the belly button properly may result to unpleasant odor. An infection may also develop if not washed properly.
- If you are pregnant and you have smelly button accompanied by soreness or bruise around the area, see a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Diabetes is also a condition that can lead to smelly belly button. According to studies, diabetes makes the health of the navel worse and leads to unpleasant-smelling discharge that may smell like fish or rotting cheese.
Smelly belly button can also occur because of surgery. This happens because surgical procedures may leave scabs during the healing process. In addition to that, infections or discharge may also follow belly button surgeries such as laparoscopy and tummy tuck. Other surgeries that may also lead to unpleasant smell of the navel hole include gall bladder surgery and tubal ligation.
After abdominoplasty, or plastic surgery of the abdomen, the scars around the belly button contract and cause the skin to shed. The debris can accumulate in the navel hole and promote the growth of bacteria. In this case, bacterial growth or infection is actually the cause of the foul odor from your belly button.
If you are experiencing smelly belly button after a few months of surgery, there could be stiches left and has to be removed. You will need to visit your surgeon immediately for proper treatment.
6. Patent Urachus
Another cause that leads to unpleasant smell of the navel hole is an urachus cyst or patent urachus. During the first trimester of pregnancy, urine from the fetus is drained through urachus, a channel or tube that connects the umbilicus and the bladder for waste excretion.
Urachal problems develop after birth. In most cases, the remnant cyst is located between the belly button and the top of the bladder. One of the symptoms of patent urachus or urachus cyst is a foul-smelling discharge from the umbilical. Other symptoms also include:
- Pain when urinating.
- Abdominal pain.
- Visible navel discharges.
- UTI infections.
Newborns may have different symptoms compared to adults. Some signs of urachal cyst in newborns include:
- A lump can be felt in the abdomen.
- The belly button is always wet due to continuous discharges.
- Belly button drainage.
- Urinary tract infections.
It is important to treat this problem immediately as it can show more symptoms around the area of navel. Treating umbilical urachus infections can be done with two-stage procedure. Your surgeon begins with initial incision to drain the cyst, then elective excision. There are also recent reports that the infected cyst can be removed with one-stage procedure.
Some of the signs of infected navel piercing are unpleasant smell and yellowish discharges out of the hole. The wounds from the pierce turn into scabs. The debris stays in the hole and can lead to bacterial growth. Aside from the unpleasant odor, you may also experience pain, itchiness, bumps and also bleeding. You can prevent the infection from spreading by cleaning the affected area with antiseptic or rubbing alcohol.
Bleeding and Foul Odor Discharge from Belly Button
Is your navel releasing smelly liquid? This can be due to skin infection around the umbilicus that leads to discharge and drainage from your belly button. If you are experiencing itchiness and your belly button releases a foul-smelling discharge, it is best to seek medical attention to get proper treatment. You may experience bleeding navel hole when:
- After laparoscopy
- During pregnancy
- Babies always scratch themselves
Home Remedies for Belly Button Infection
Here are some ways to treat belly button infection:
- Warm Salt Water
You can treat the infection with warm salt water. Simply add 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water. Use a cotton ball to clean the affected area. You can also apply an OTC water-based antibacterial cream. Repeat this treatment once or twice a day.
Another effective natural remedy for belly button infection is tea tree oil. It contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. Simply mix 4 drops of tea tree oil in 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil. Dip a cotton ball and apply the mixture on your belly button. Allow it to sit for at least ten minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth or tissue. Repeat this treatment two times a day.
- White Vinegar
You can stop the discharge from the belly button with white vinegar. Its acidic nature can combat the infection. Simply mix 1 part of vinegar with 2 parts of warm water. Use cotton to apply the solution on your navel. Leave it for at least ten minutes before washing it off with warm water and pat dry. Repeat this treatment two times a day.
Aloe vera can also be used for treating infection in belly button. It contains soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply cut a leaf from aloe vera plant and apply the gel on your belly button. Let it dry before cleaning the navel with a wet cloth or tissue.
- Indian Lilac or Neem
This plant contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can alleviate the pain and itch. It can also prevent the infection from spreading. Simply get few leaves of Indian Lilac and make a paste. You can add turmeric powder and apply it on your belly button. Let it sit for at least twenty minutes before washing with warm water. Repeat this treatment two times a day.
- Keep the Belly Button Clean
You can speed up the healing process of the infected belly button by keeping it clean. This prevents the growth of bacteria. Use antibacterial soap to clean the area and dry.