What causes an itchy belly button? The belly button also known as navel is the remnant of umbilical cord. It is that central scar that forms at the base of umbilical cord once it falls off. Many times the navel may become itchy and discomforting.
There are many things that could cause the belly button to itch including yeast infection, eczema, hives, contact dermatitis from piercing, lotions and soaps, or the stretching of skin in pregnancy. Another possible cause may be an infection by bacteria.
Some people who have umbilical hernia may experience itching. Treatment is based on the cause of the itching. This article will provide the most common causes that can cause belly button infections and the remedies as well.
What Does an Itchy Bellybutton Mean?
When your belly button becomes itchy it means that you feel a tingly sensation in the navel, it may also be tender and sore and this may warrant you to scratch the area of soreness.
What Causes an Itchy Bellybutton/ Navel?
An itchy navel can be caused by many things, and the different causes will also give rise to the methods of treating the itch.
1. Belly button infection.
The navel or belly button tract can have an infection. Foreign substances such as lint that detached from clothes and body hair could enter the umbilicus thereby causing inflammation or swelling. An infection may also occur, and it is mainly accompanied by foul odour, itching, and fluid coming out of that umbilicus canal.
Since the belly button is deep, damp and dark, it is a favourable breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Sweat, soap and other substances deposited in the navel cavity can aid bacterial growth and cause an infection.
Its symptoms are redness, mild pain, and green or gray discharge. A yeast infection in the belly button occurs as a result of overgrowth of yeasts that leads to symptoms like redness, swelling and discharge.
Other causes and contributing factors that may be responsible for belly button infections include poor hygiene habits, surgery involving the belly button, belly button piercing, diabetes, sebaceous cysts, exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays, and obesity.
2. Rash around belly button
The fungal infection is caused by the yeast Candida. The risk factors that contribute towards this infection include:
- regular touching
- bad hygiene
- moist skin
The symptoms of a fungal infection around the belly button are:
- a red, smelly, itchy, tender and mildly painful belly button surrounded byflaky skin and pus-filled blisters (pustules)
- dark, yellow or white discharge or occasional bleeding
Another cause for discharge around the navel is a bacterial Infection.
It is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or Streptococcus pyogenes (strep)
- The causes of this bacteria on the belly button are:
- Bad hygiene
- Scratching or rubbing, a cut
- Piercing, A sebaceous cyst
- A foreign object, steroids or immunosuppressant drugs (in Crohn’s disease)
- A wound after surgery or laparoscopy
Symptoms of a bacterial infection include:
- Folliculitis:red, itchy bumps with occasional white centers filled with pus
- Cellulitis:red, thick, tender and warm skin in and around the navel, possibly mild fever
- Abscess:a soft lump up to a size of a golf ball, occasionally draining/oozing
3. Itchy rash around belly button.
Bacterial infections: Different types of bacteria can infect the belly button and result in soreness, redness, and pain along with discharge of white matter or bleeding. People with severe instances of bacterial infection of the belly button may suffer from nausea and vomiting.
- Belly button rash may also be caused by fungal infections which typically arise if the belly button remains moist.
- Bathing in polluted or impure water and/or touching the belly button with dirty or unwashed hands can increase the risk to pathogenic infections and eventual formation of belly button rash.
- Allergic reactions:Belly button rash can also form due to exposure to varied allergens. Some people tend to have extra sensitive skin and can suffer from allergic reactions after contact with metals such as nickel, etc., or with foreign matter such as a new laundry detergent or a new skin cream. Contact dermatitis is the most common type of belly button rash that develops due to allergic reactions. Patients need to consult a dermatologist or a skin specialist for diagnosis and treatment of this belly button rash. Avoiding contact with allergic agents is the best way to prevent the development of belly button rashes.
- Psoriasis:It is a skin condition characterized by formation of discomforting, prickly, itchy, red patches on the skin. Such abnormal patches can be thick or thin. Mild cases of psoriasis-associated thin belly button rash-patches can be treated with varied creams. Thick patches of belly button rash are treated with topical medications containing vitamin D and anti-inflammatory content. Doctors may also sometimes prescribe injections to treat the condition.
4. Infected navel piercing.
Another common cause of belly button rash/infection is piercing of the navel, typically carried out as a fashion statement. Incorrect aftercare or improper piercing of the belly button can make it vulnerable to infections.
Additionally, lack of proper care of the wound after piercing can cause a potential breeding ground for bacteria which would subsequently cause infection characterized by severe itching. An infected belly button due to piercing will initially cause bleeding and then discharge of pus. Patients are also most likely to experience pain in the region.
5. During pregnancy, early, late; sign of pregnancy and after delivery.
Although a number of women report experiencing an itchy belly button prior to finding out that they were expectant; it is not a definitive way of testing for pregnancy. If you suspect that you could be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant, using a pregnancy test would provide a more concrete answer.
An itchy belly especially during pregnancy may be caused by stretching of skin. When the skin expands, it is deprived of moisture. Usually dry skin can feel itchy and quite uncomfortable. The butt may also have similar experience if it is expanding alongside the belly. Moisturizing the skin using gentle products can help relieve the itching. An individual should refrain from scratching the itching belly button because it could open it for bacterial infection.
Additionally, the itchiness around the bellybutton should cease after pregnancy. If the itchiness (oftentimes accompanied by redness and soreness) persists. It is prudent to see a healthcare provider immediately.
6. Discharge from belly button
The belly button can easily become infected by Candida, or other fungi – it is just the sort of warm, moist crevice that fungi like. If you have a fungal infection the belly button will look red, and the redness may extend to the surrounding skin for a few millimetres. It may be itchy.
Bacteria may also infect the belly button, often taking advantage of the damage already done by the fungi. This leads to scabbing and a yellowish discharge.
7. During period.
Pain in the bellybutton during a woman’s monthly period is caused by Pemphigoid Gestationis. Pemphigoid Gestationis is a rare skin blistering disorder that occurs in pregnant women. It usually starts in pregnancy but can also come back in women when they take oral contraceptive therapy or have their periods for some time after the pregnancy.
Female hormones (particularly oestrogen) are thought to aggravate the reaction and this may be why it starts during the stage in pregnancy when oestrogen levels rise. It may come back in further pregnancies and also may also come back in some women who take oral contraceptive therapy or with their periods following pregnancy, but later on there is usually no problem.
8. Itches After Cleaning.
The belly button can feel itchy and even tingly at times after cleaning. This may be caused by the cleaning agent you have used to clean the area. It is highly discouraged to use alcohol or any alcohol based product to clean the area as this may cause severe itchiness or even an infection.
The area can also feel itchy if you do not make sure that it is completely dry after washing. It is imperative to make sure the area is dry after cleaning to avoid making it a breeding ground for bacteria.
9. Belly button itching After Eating.
The area in and around the belly button can itch after eating. This is mostly after one has overeaten. The skin around the stomach stretches as a result of your stomach expanding in order to accommodate the excess food you have consume.
10. Crust and Scabbing.
These are caused by bacterial infection around the belly button. As part of the healing process of the infection, a scab is formed where the infection had formed.
Many times the scab or crust causes an itchy and tingly sensation around the area. It is highly discouraged to itch the area as the scab will come off, thus delaying the healing process.
Umbilical or paraumbilical hernia is a protrusion of the small intestine between the muscles in or near the belly button.
Risk factors causing the umbilical hernia are; pregnancy, obesity, persistent coughing, abdominal surgery, a large abdominal tumor, accumulation of the fluid in the abdomen in liver or kidney disease (ascites)
Symptoms: a soft bulge–of the skin color, red, grey or blue and up to few inches big–near the belly button; coughing and straining can cause discomfort, pressure, pain, tingly feeling or burning feeling in and around the belly button.
12. Urinary Tract Infection.
Urinary tract infections in children can present with pain around the belly button, frequent urination and cloudy and smelly urine.
Red Itchy Bellybutton.
The most common symptom of a fungal infection in the belly button is discharge and pain. The most common cause of pain and discharge in the belly button is due to candida. Candida albicans thrives in warm, moist areas such as the urinary tract, mouth, and nose as well as the belly button. An overgrowth of fungus results in a red, swollen belly button and discharge. Scratching the infected area may cause bleeding and further aggravation.
Additionally, smelly belly button with a curd-like discharge may also be due to infection following a surgical procedure. The most common cause is tubal ligation. This causes redness, itchiness, swelling and pain in the navel.
Itchy Belly Button Superstitions and Old Wives Tales.
Many old wives tales state that if your belly button itches constantly the there is a good chance that you are pregnant. While this may provide hope for women who are hoping to get pregnant, it is not a scientifically proven symptom of pregnancy.
Relief and Treatment for Belly Button Itch.
There are various methods of treating belly button infections depending on the cause.
- Those suffering with belly button discharge and odour resulting from patent urachus can find relief through surgery. This reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, cancer of the urachal tube and leaking urine.
- Belly button secretions resulting from diabetes may be avoided through control of blood sugar levels. Odour and discharge resulting from bacterial infections may be treated by washing the infected area with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap, and drying the navel thoroughly.
- An antibacterial topical cream applied after washing the area may solve the problem of an infected belly button. Antifungal creams and various foam treatments may help control fungal infections.
Home Remedies for Belly Button Itch.
- Tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is an effective natural remedy for belly button infection. With antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties, it can help in treating yeast or bacterial infections of belly button. We highly recommend Essential Oil Labs Tea Tree Oil (Check price on Amazon)
- Salt Water.
Salt is very effective in treating the infection. It helps in reducing the moisture problem and ultimately reduces the problem. Prepare a mixture of salt and warm water and put a few drops of it around the belly button. This remedy improves the blood circulation and prevents the growth of infection causing organisms.
- Aloe vera gel.
Aloe vera is used to treat the problem of belly button infection. It helps in reducing the problem of itching and inflammation very effectively. Apply some fresh gel over the belly button 3 to 4 times in a day to reduce the problem. A great choice would be organic cold cressed Aloe Vera (Check price on Amazon)
- Tumeric paste.
The anti septic and healing properties of turmeric are used to treat the belly button infection. Turmeric reduces the pain, itching and rashes. Not only this, the anti inflammatory properties prevent inflammation and reduce the severity. Apply a paste of turmeric powder over the belly button to get relief.
- Neem Oil.
Neem is rich in anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties and effective stops the growth of infection causing organisms. The use of neem oil is also very effective in reducing the problem of itching and pain. Just apply a few drops of it around your belly button to treat the problem completely.
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