Pain in Belly Button: Causes and Natural Treatments

Pain in Belly Button: Causes and Natural Treatments
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Pain in the belly button or navel area can cause discomfort and worry for many people, especially if the pain is severe and doesn’t go away. Some people feel a constant sharp pain in the belly button whereas others only feel pain around the belly button area while doing certain movements, for example, bending over and coughing. Sometimes, belly button pain can be a sign of a serious condition like appendicitis or a hernia. However, many times sore belly button is caused by digestive problems and the pain seems to come from the belly button. Many women also experience belly button pain while pregnant.

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Because belly button pain can have many different causes, it is important to know exactly what your symptoms are. For example, your doctor may want to know if your navel is sore when you touch it or press on it. Do you have a constant pain around your belly button? Is the belly button pain sharp or dull and does the pain only happen when you move? Other factors such as belly button pain just after eating, or when it occurs during the day can help to find the exact cause of the pain.

This article looks at the many different causes of pain in the belly button.

Causes of Belly Button Pain

Most belly button pain, or sometimes called umbilical pain, is what doctors describe as referred pain or radiated pain. This type of pain occurs somewhere else in the body, not in the actual organ.

Appendicitis

If you experience pain that starts at your belly button and then moves towards your right side it could be the first sign of appendicitis. Most people usually only associate appendicitis with a sharp pain in the right of their abdomen. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, the pain associated with appendicitis usually begins around the belly button and then moves towards the lower right abdomen.1 The pain then becomes more intense and severe.

The other symptoms of appendicitis are pain when you move or cough, nausea and vomiting, fever, diarrhea or constipation, and bloating. In all cases of severe abdominal pain, you should visit your doctor.

Appendicitis can’t be prevented. However, according to Dr. Varnada Karriem-Norwood on WebMD, appendicitis is less common in people who have a diet high in fiber and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.2

Umbilical hernia

If you have stomach pain and discomfort around your navel and especially if you notice a bulge there, you could have an umbilical hernia.

The pain around the belly button occurs because part of the intestines or fluid gets through part of the abdominal wall. A lump or bulge usually, but not always, develops in the belly button as the internal organs or fluid pushes through. Very often, the pain will be more severe when you cough or strain the abdomen. Umbilical hernias often affect babies, but they can occur in adults too.

Umbilical hernias in babies

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Umbilical hernias are very common in babies. The UK’s National Health Service says that umbilical hernias in babies are usually painless and you may only notice them when your baby cries or coughs. However, often there is a pronounced bulge at the belly button. They usually disappear before the baby’s first birthday.3 You should visit your doctor if you notice that your baby is in discomfort, the hernia is swollen or discolored, or your baby begins to vomit.4

Umbilical hernias in adults

In adults, umbilical hernias are not uncommon and can cause some discomfort and pain in and around the belly button area. John Hopkins Medicine says that risk factors for adults are health conditions which put a strain on the abdomen. Some of these factors are being overweight, having a chronic cough, weightlifting, or excessive straining during childbirth.5 Usually, surgery is required in adults to fix an umbilical hernia.

For more information, read the article on hernia vs. pulled abdominal muscles.

Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy

One of the most common reasons why you get pain in your belly button during pregnancy is because of changes in your body. Pregnancy can cause female lower abdominal pain, and discomfort around your belly button region and you may notice some swelling. Pregnancy can also cause your belly button to itch as your tummy stretches.

There can be a number of reasons for having a belly button pain during pregnancy. For example, when your tummy skin stretches and gets bigger, the belly button can protrude outward. This in itself can cause pain, but the belly button can become irritated if it chaffs against clothing.

Midwife, Tekola L. King says that belly button rings are safe during pregnancy; however, it is not recommended to get a new belly piercing done while pregnant. This can cause navel pain and irritation as the tummy grows and stretches.6

If you are pregnant and start to experience severe pain around your navel or middle abdomen along with vomiting and diarrhea, you should call a doctor because this could be a sign of an intestinal infection.

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Pain when urinating

Some people experience pain around their belly button or middle abdomen area when urinating and this could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI is also one of the causes of lower pelvic pain.

UTIs can cause pain in the lower abdomen region and the National Kidney Foundation reports that many children experience pain around their belly button.7 The other symptoms of a UTI are burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent small amounts of urine, cloudy urine, and strong smelling urine.

If you catch UTI in its early stages you can use some home remedies to treat this successfully. If you would like to know more about how to treat urinary tract infections naturally, please read my article.

Crohn’s Disease

Another cause of pain around your belly button is Crohn’s disease. The British Medical Journal says that often belly button pain is a symptom of Crohn’s disease. This inflammatory digestive problem causes people to also experience symptoms like frequent diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain, fatigue, and possible weight loss.8

Crohn’s disease is a complicated condition which is difficult to cure and prevent flare-ups. The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping a food diary to see if certain foods cause your symptoms to become worse. It is also a good idea to eat smaller meals more frequently during the day.9

Crohn’s disease is also one of the causes of stomach pain after eating.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Pain in the abdomen region, including around the navel area is one of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Dr. William B. Salt says that IBS can cause a dull, sharp, cramping, or constant pain in the lower abdomen just below the belly button.10

As with Crohn’s disease, it can be difficult to manage symptoms of IBS. Some people have found that taking peppermint oil enteric-coated capsules can help to relieve some of the symptoms, and there is some scientific evidence to back that up.11

I’ve already mentioned that the FODAMP diet can help you to relieve some of the symptoms of IBS.  There are also other natural ways to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Other Gastric Disorders

In many cases, gastric disorders can cause mild to severe pain in and around the belly button. This is because the small intestine is located in the in the area behind the belly button. The American College of Gastroenterology says that often pain around the belly button is experienced in children who have conditions like acid reflux, intestinal infections, constipation, and food allergies.12

Many people who have Celiac disease also complain of sharp pains around the belly button.

Constipation can also cause pain and swelling in the abdomen.13

Belly button piercing

One cause of belly button pain is having your belly button pierced. You should always ensure that the salon uses sterilized equipment and you should follow their advice on after-piercing care. This will help to avoid infection and complications in the belly button piercing.

Read these related articles:
1. Burning Sensation in Stomach – Causes and Treatments
2. The Most Effective Home Remedies for Gas and Bloating
3. Lower Left Abdominal Pain – Causes and Possible Treatments
4. Stomach Spasms: Causes and the Best Natural Treatments

Resources:
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2 Responses to Pain in Belly Button: Causes and Natural Treatments

  1. michael says:

    Is there any natural way to cure navel swell with ( herbs) at least to reduce the swollen navel and discomfort.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Michael, it really depends on the cause of the navel swelling, and as I’m not a doctor, I cannot give specific advise or diagnosis. I don’t know how long you have the swelling or if you have other symptoms, so I think the best thing to do is to see your doctor if you have any concerns.

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