Belly button pain is a common complaint many experiences at some point. While it may seem like a small issue, belly button pain can be quite uncomfortable and may even be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. This article will explore the common causes of belly button pain, from minor issues like skin irritation to more severe conditions like appendicitis. We will also share tips on how to manage belly button pain and when to seek medical attention.
What is Bellybutton?
The belly button is also known as the navel or umbilicus. When the fetus is in the womb, the mother provides nutrition through the embryo and umbilical cord. After the fetus’s birth, the umbilical cord will be cut off. This will leave a scar, which is the belly button.
15 Common Causes of Belly Button Pain with Symptoms
There are different types of pain around the navel area.
Also called an upset stomach or dyspepsia, indigestion is described as a feeling of fullness or abdominal pain after eating. You may feel burning, pain, or discomfort in the upper abdomen, radiating to your belly button area.
Indigestion is often a sign of ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux, or gallbladder disease. Although this condition is common, every individual may experience symptoms of indigestion slightly differently. Some symptoms include:
- Gas or Bloating
- Fullness after a meal
- Nausea and vomiting
- An early feeling of uncomfortable fullness during a meal
- Bloating or discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Growling stomach or heartburn
- Abdominal pain
- Acidic taste
Mild indigestion is nothing to worry about, but see your doctor if the problem continues for over two weeks.
You can use over-the-counter antacids and acid blockers to treat mild indigestion. You can also use some natural remedies to get rid of indigestion. The treatments include Fennel Seeds, Peppermint Tea, Ginger, Apple Cider Vinegar, etc. For more info, you can read Top 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast
Constipation is a common condition described as having less than three weekly bowel movements. Chronic constipation can interfere with work and may cause straining to have a bowel movement. Other symptoms that you may experience include:
- Hard or lumpy stools
- Excessive straining to have bowel movements
- Feeling like you cannot empty the stool from the rectum
- Feeling like there is a blockage in the rectum that inhibits bowel movements
- Needing help to empty the rectum, such as pressing on the abdomen or using a finger to get rid of stool
If you experience two or more of the symptoms mentioned, this may be chronic constipation.
You can also use some natural remedies to get rid of constipation. The treatments include a FODMAP diet, Consuming more fiber, drinking more coffee, Olive Leaves, Flax Seeds, etc.
Experience severe abdominal pain, vomiting, persistent constipation, or an inability to pass gas. You should see your doctor immediately because this may be a sign of bowel obstruction, a severe issue.
Piercing is one of the most common causes of belly button pain. The pain will not go away until your wound heals.
Suppose the pain remains after your wound has already healed completely. This may be caused by the injury when you put on your clothes. Or it may be caused by an infection in your navel.
The infection should be treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may lead to severe inflammation of your internal organs. You need to visit a doctor to get rid of the infection.
4. Pain after Surgery
The pain around the incision is normal if the surgery was recent. However, after weeks of surgery, pain can be a sign of infection.
This can be serious if not checked by your doctor immediately. If you are experiencing constant and severe pain after surgery, see your doctor as soon as possible.
5. Gastroenteritis (Stomach flu)
The most common way to get stomach flu or gastroenteritis is by ingesting contaminated food or drink or through direct contact with an infected person. When you suffer from gastroenteritis, mild to severe diarrhea accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain will follow. Gastroenteritis is usually not severe; you may only feel discomfort and inconvenience. Healthy people can recover without problems.
But for older adults, infants, and people with suppressed immune systems, this condition can be dangerous. The typical symptoms of gastroenteritis include:
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
- Nausea, vomiting
- Low-grade fever
- Headache or muscle aches
Call your doctor if you have been vomiting for more than two days, have a high fever, have signs of dehydration, or notice blood in your stools.
For more information, you can read 16 Best Ways to Get Rid of Gas and Bloating Fast
6. Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is another possible cause of belly button pain, as it causes radical changes in the body. Due to the changes in hormone levels, most women also experience morning sickness and mood swings.
As the belly starts to grow, it may cause belly button pain. This mild pain is usually expected as the body adjusts to the pregnancy. Sometimes abdominal pain during pregnancy can be severe.
You may feel intermittent sharp pain around your belly button and waist. The pain will increase when you stretch, laugh, cough, or move around.
This type of pain usually lasts for a short time, only a few minutes. However, you should call your doctor immediately if the pain is severe and constant.
7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
The pelvic inflammatory disease occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to other parts of the reproductive system, such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This infection does not usually show signs or symptoms and may be detected later if you develop chronic pain or trouble getting pregnant. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the pelvis and lower abdomen
- Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse
- Difficult or painful urination
- Heavy vaginal discharge with a foul odor
- Uterine bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Fever with chills
See your doctor immediately if you experience extreme belly button pain, a fever higher than 38.3 C (101F), foul vaginal discharge, nausea, and vomiting.
8. Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection can be the cause of belly button pain. This condition can occur anywhere in the urinary tract – kidneys, urethra, bladder, and ureters.
Most UTIs involve the bladder and urethra in the lower tract, but the infection may affect the kidneys and ureters in the upper lot. The common symptoms of UTI include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urge to urinate without passing much urine
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Urine that looks cola-colored, red, or bright pink
- Pelvic pain in women (rectal pain in men)
- Strong-smelling urine
See your doctor if you develop any of the symptoms of UTI.
9. A Hernia
An abdominal hernia occurs when tissue or an organ, such as part of your intestine, protrudes through a weakening spot in the abdominal muscle walls. The bulge can result in pain, especially when you bend over, cough, or lift.
A hernia does typically not hurt. You will just see the bulge on some part of your body when you make a certain movement, but you will not even feel it. Some people have tried to press the bulge, and the bulge falls back into place. Other signs and symptoms of a hernia include:
- Discomfort or pain in the groin area, especially when coughing, lifting, or bending over
- A bulge on either side of the pubic bone
- Pressure or weakness in your groin
- Swelling or pain in the testicles
The pain caused by a hernia can affect the quality of life. It is essential to see your doctor immediately to repair the tissue.
Gallstones are hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder. It can be small, like a grain of sand, or large, like a golf ball. People who experience the symptoms of gallstones usually require surgery. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Intensifying pain in the upper part of the abdomen
- Pain in the center of the abdomen
If you experience any symptoms that worry you, call your doctor immediately. Especially if you have a high fever with chills, yellow sclera (white of the eye), and intense abdominal pain.
11. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. This condition occurs when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing salts and minerals to crystallize and form together.
It is recommended to drink plenty of water to pass kidney stones. Your doctor may recommend pain medication. Other symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Pain that radiates to the groin and lower abdomen
- Extreme back pain and sides below your ribs
- Persistent and painful urination
- Foul-smelling urine
- Cloudy, brown, pink, or red urine
See your doctor if you experience severe pain, blood in your urine, fever, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty passing urine.
12. Stomach Ulcers
Also known as gastric ulcers, stomach ulcers are painful sores in the stomach lining. This condition occurs when the mucus that protects the stomach from digestive acids is decreased.
This lets the digestive juices damage the stomach lining. Stomach ulcers can be treated easily, but this condition can worsen without proper treatment. Some signs and symptoms may include:
- Pain or burning sensation in the abdomen, between your belly button and chest
- Intense pain when the stomach is empty
- Unintended weight loss
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating
- Vomit that looks bloody or coffee grounds
- Acid reflux or burping
- Dark stools
If you develop any symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix and causes pain in the lower right abdomen. In some people, the pain starts around the belly button area and moves to the lower-right side of the stomach.
You may feel a sharp pain if the pain moves to the lower part of your abdomen. Appendicitis pain is so severe that you may wake up when sleeping. Some people may also feel pain in a different area of their abdomen.
The pain or discomfort worsens if you walk, cough, sneeze, or perform other physical activities. This condition may also cause diarrhea or constipation, chills, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever.
If you suspect appendicitis, make an appointment with your doctor immediately, as immediate medical attention is required.
Another possible cause of belly button pain is pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas aids digestion and the regulation of blood sugar.
Pancreatitis occurs when the digestive enzymes are activated while still in the pancreas, damaging the cells of this organ and resulting in inflammation.
Usually caused by excessive alcohol consumption, some symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Upper abdominal pain that may radiate to your back
- Pain that feels worse after meals
- Nausea, vomiting
- Rapid pulse, fever
- Tenderness when touching the abdominal area
The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis may include weight loss and smelly, oily stools. Seek immediate medical help if you have persistent abdominal pain.
15. Chron’s Disease
Chron’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract. This condition results in severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Chron’s disease can affect different areas of your digestive tract, and the pain can be disabling. When active, some signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Diarrhea, fatigue
- Fever for more than two days
- Blood in stool
- Reduced appetite
- Mouth sores
- Weight loss
- Drainage or pain in the anus
If you have any of the symptoms of Chron’s disease, see your doctor for a clear diagnosis and treatment.
Crohn’s disease is one of the ailments in the small intestine. Other common disorders in the small intestine include internal bleeding, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and intestinal cancer. All these conditions can cause pain around the belly button.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can stress cause belly button pain?
While stress may not directly cause belly button pain, it can exacerbate conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastric ulcers, leading to discomfort in the belly button area. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, and counseling can help alleviate symptoms.
2. Are there any home remedies for belly button pain?
Home remedies can provide temporary relief for certain causes of belly button pain. Applying a warm compress, practicing gentle abdominal massages, or consuming herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint may help soothe discomfort. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
3. Should I be concerned if a fever accompanies my belly button pain?
The presence of a fever, along with belly button pain, may indicate an underlying infection or inflammation. It is advisable to seek medical attention, particularly if the fever is persistent, high-grade, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms.
4. Can belly button pain be a sign of pregnancy?
Belly button pain is not typically considered a direct sign of pregnancy. However, as the uterus expands during pregnancy, it can cause stretching and discomfort in the abdominal region, including the area around the belly button.
5. When should I seek medical help for belly button pain?
It is important to seek medical help for belly button pain if the pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by additional concerning symptoms such as fever, vomiting, blood in the stool or urine, or difficulty urinating. It is always better to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
6. Can certain foods cause belly button pain?
Certain foods can trigger belly button pain, particularly in individuals with specific dietary sensitivities or conditions such as lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. Keeping a food diary and identifying potential triggers can help manage symptoms. Consulting a healthcare professional or registered dietitian is recommended for personalized dietary advice.