Pain Around, Above, Below or Behind Belly Button

Pain Around, Above, Below or Behind Belly Button
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Having pain around, above, below, or behind your belly button can be a worrisome experience. Some reasons for aches and pains around your belly button can be fairly harmless and resolve themselves quickly. However, sharp, incessant pains below or behind your belly button could be a symptom of a more serious condition. You might also find that pain above or below your belly button radiates to your pelvic area, legs, or chest.

Some common causes of belly button discomfort and pain are due to issues with your digestive system. For example, trapped gas, irritable bowel syndrome, or Crohn’s disease can all cause aching pains around your belly button. However, some reasons for pain behind the belly button can be potentially serious. Appendicitis pain usually starts off near the belly button before radiating to the right side of your abdomen.

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Because there are many organs behind the belly button, it can be difficult to know the exact cause of the stomach pain. Therefore, it’s important to know the symptoms of pain that originate around or near the belly button. For example, is the belly button pain constant? Does the pain behind your belly button get worse when you move? Or, is the pain below your navel only worse after eating?

In this article, I will look at the most common causes of belly button pain that you feel below, above, behind, or around your navel. In some cases, you will also find out how to get rid of pain in your lower abdominal area.

What Organs are Behind the Belly Button

Before looking at the reasons for belly button pain that can be mild aches or severe stabbing pains, it’s important to know what organs are behind your belly button.

Your lower abdomen contains many important organs in the body that can be painful if infection or inflammation affects them. Dr. Matthew Hoffamn on WebMD explains that all your digestive organs are in your abdominal area.1

If you look at a picture of the area behind your belly button, you will see that most of your digestive system is there. Right behind your belly button is your small intestine and part of your large intestine. Below your belly button to the right of your abdomen is your appendix. Above your belly button are your pancreas, gallbladder, and stomach. 1

Any one of these organs around the belly button could cause varying degrees of pain if they become inflamed or infected.

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Symptoms of Pain Near the Belly Button

Doctors also call belly button pain umbilical pain. Depending on the cause of your belly button pain, you might have other associated symptoms.

The type of pain around your belly button isn’t usually an issue with your navel itself, but is referred pain that occurs in organs near the belly button.

For example, some causes of belly button pain can make your abdominal area feel very tender to touch. Conditions like appendicitis can cause stabbing and burning pains that radiate from behind the belly button to your lower right-hand side. You may also have a fever and nausea if your appendix or intestines are infected or inflamed.

If an abdominal hernia is to blame for your pain above, below, or behind your belly button, you may also notice a bulge. The lump in your abdomen or pelvis may be discolored and cause dull to moderate navel pain.

Causes of Pain Around, Above, Below, or Behind the Belly Button

Let’s look in more detail at the most common reasons that could be causing pain in and around your belly button.

Excess gas can cause pain around the belly button

Excess gas can cause lower abdominal pain after eating that feels like it’s originating around your belly button.

Because your intestines are right behind your belly button, any gas pains will be felt behind or around your navel. Dr. Norton Greenberger from Harvard Medical School says that gas can expand the intestines causing cramping abdominal pains. The aches and pains around your belly button happen as your intestines expand and contract or cause spasms.2

Along with the sharp pain behind your belly button, you might have signs of abdominal bloating.

Usually, gas that causes pain behind your belly button only lasts a short time. Usually, making yourself pass gas gets rid of the abdominal pain fairly quickly. You can also try some of my home remedies for gas and bloating. These are also very effective ways to prevent excess gas causing belly button pain.

Constipation

Another digestive-related cause of belly button pain that can cause severe discomfort around your belly button is constipation.

The journal Pediatric Emergency Care reported that around 25% of patients who attend the emergency department for pain in their lower abdomen have constipation. It was reported that constipation can cause moderate to severe pain in the area behind your belly button. Relieving constipation helped to get rid of the pain around the belly button area.3

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Constipation is just one reason why your digestion doesn’t work correctly. You can try prunes or figs as a natural laxative for constipation relief. Other natural remedies for constipation include castor oil, eating more fiber, and drinking plenty of water.

Appendicitis can cause pain behind the belly button

Appendicitis is a serious cause of stabbing stomach pain that starts off behind the belly button and spreads to your right lower belly.

The location of your appendix is on the right side of your lower abdomen. However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that pain caused by appendicitis usually starts behind or above the navel. As the appendix inflammation gets worse, the pain radiates to the lower right abdomen. Appendix pain can feel like dull or sharp stabbing pains that are felt in the lower back or upper abdomen. You might also have cramping sensation in your rectum.4

Other symptoms of appendicitis that cause pain in your lower abdominal area are constipation or diarrhea, abdominal swelling, and inability to pass gas.

It’s important to seek prompt medical attention if you have symptoms of appendicitis like severe right-sided stomach pain. An inflamed appendix requires surgery before it becomes a more serious, and sometimes fatal, medical condition.

Abdominal hernias

If you notice a bulge near your navel and have stomach pain and discomfort, you could have an abdominal hernia.

That majority of hernias occur above, below, or under your belly button. Dr. Jerry Balentine on eMedicineHealth says that hernias in the abdominal area or groin happen when part of an organ or fatty tissue pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. This can cause a noticeable bulge and slight to severe pain around the hernia.5

Umbilical hernias

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that umbilical hernias usually occur in babies and cause a bulge at the belly button. Sometimes, the bulge near the navel is only seen when your baby coughs or cries. However, umbilical hernias can also affect adults, and if you notice a bulge at your belly button that causes discomfort, then it could be an umbilical hernia.6

If you have a bulge above or below your belly button or your child’s belly button, you should speak to your doctor for advice.

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Urinary tract infections as a reason for belly button pain

Sharp pain near the belly button and a burning sensation when urinating could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect more women than men and are sometimes a reason for pain under the belly button in females. According to the National Kidney Foundation, pain around the belly button, painful sensation when peeing, and discolored urine that smells bad are all symptoms of a urinary tract infection.7

Some women also complain of intense pain in their lower abdomen when they have a UTI.

You can treat the first signs of a urinary tract infection naturally by drinking baking soda and water. Baking soda remedy helps to neutralize the acid in your urine and reduces the burning sensation when you use the bathroom.

Crohn’s disease and pain below the belly button

Suffering from Crohn’s disease is one reason why you might have right-sided stomach pain above, below, or under your belly button.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that causes a lot of discomfort in your digestive system.

According to Dr. Noel Williams on eMedicineHealth, Crohn’s disease usually causes cramping or incessant pains around the right side of your belly button. You may also suffer from chronic diarrhea that contains mucus or have constipation. Other common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are indigestion, bleeding when passing stools, or bloating after eating.8

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that it can be difficult to manage the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. They suggest keeping a food diary to help identify which foods aggravate your symptoms and cause digestive upset.9

Irritable bowel syndrome

Another digestive condition that can cause sharp aching pains behind your belly button is irritable bowel syndrome.

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According to gastroenterologist Dr. William Salt II, the painful symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are usually felt below your belly button. Very often IBS causes sharp stomach pains on your left side, however, they can occur anywhere in our abdomen.10

There are many natural ways to manage the painful discomfort of IBS and get rid of a gurgling stomach. For example, enteric-coated capsules containing peppermint oil can help to treat IBS naturally.

Pregnancy and belly button pain

Belly button pain above, below, or around your navel is common during pregnancy. As long as you don’t have severe abdominal cramping in pregnancy, you usually don’t have anything to worry about.

According to doctors at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, pain around your belly button can start in your second trimester. Sometimes, the area around the belly button becomes very tender and sore to touch. One reason for belly button pain could be an umbilical hernia. Or, your belly could become more sensitive as your abdomen stretches.11

If you are pregnant and start to get sharp stomach pains around your belly button and have nausea and vomiting, you should speak with your healthcare provider. This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Infected belly button piercing and navel pain

You might have a sore belly button if you have had your belly button pierced and it has become infected.

The belly button is prone to infections after piercing, therefore you should take precautions to prevent belly button infections. If you notice redness around your belly button, pus draining from the wound, and have pain below your belly button, you should speak to a doctor.

According to midwife Tekola King, belly button jewelry is safe during pregnancy. However, you should not get a new piercing in your belly button if you are pregnant. You may have even worse belly button pain as your belly stretches and grows.12

Other reasons for pain around, below, above, or behind belly button

Stomach pain around or near your belly button is often the result of gastrointestinal issues. The American College of Gastroenterology reports that acid reflux, heartburn, intestinal infections, and food allergies can also cause pain and discomfort in the middle of your lower abdomen.

When to See a Doctor about Belly Button Pain

If you find that the pain behind your belly button doesn’t go away and becomes more than a dull ache, you may need to see a doctor.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, you should seek medical advice for pain around your belly button area in the following circumstances:13

  • Severe pain that comes on suddenly.
  • Dull aches around your navel or abdominal discomfort that last for more than a few days.
  • Severe tenderness in your abdomen.
  • Unexplained abdominal swelling or weight loss.
  • Nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away.

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Medical References

  1. WebMD. Picture of the abdomen.
  2. MSDManuals. Acute abdominal pain.
  3. Pediatr Emerg Care.2017 Oct;33(10):e75-e78.
  4. WebMD. Appendicitis.
  5. eMedicineHealth. Hernia.
  6. MayoClinic. Umbilical hernias.
  7. KidneyOrg. Urinary tract infections.
  8. eMedicineHealth. Endoscopy in Crohn’s disease.
  9. MayoClinic. Crohn’s disease.
  10. ShareCare. Where to pain symptoms usually occur in IBS?
  11. UTSMedicine. Why belly button pain during pregnancy is still a mystery.
  12. PatientsGI. Functional abdominal pain in children.
  13. MayoClinic. Abdominal pain.
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