Belly button pain can afflict you either consistently or sporadically. This pain should not be too intense but rather will feel like an uncomfortable pressure. It may be heightened when you bend over, lean forward, or stretch. This pain commonly does not go away, even when you are at rest. You may notice it if your waistband accidentally touches your navel. Belly button pain can be quite concerning when the cause is unknown. In this article we will explore some common symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Causes of Belly Button Pain
- Urinary Tract Infection (Cystitis) - Cystitis is a type of urinary tract infection that can spread to the kidneys as it continues to develop. These types of urinary tract infections are more common in women. You may notice pain when you are urinating, bleeding or cloudy urine. Antibiotics will be necessary to clear this infection. See your doctor right away to avoid the infection spreading and causing further injury.
- Viral or Bacterial Infections (Stomach Infections) - Infections in the stomach can cause the area around the bellybutton to become tender. Some bacterial infections can cause the stomach to swell due to the reproduction of the virus or bacteria. This may be accompanied by nausea or flu symptoms including vomiting. If you notice these symptoms, contact your doctor for an examination. You may require antibiotics to clear the infection effectively.
- Certain Medications - Medications given to treat a stomach problem can cause pain around the belly button area. This can be a sign that you are experiencing an adverse reaction to the medication and your body is not properly absorbing the medication into your system. Contact your doctor to determine if your medication is known to cause digestive side effects.
- Overeating and Food Poisoning - As the stomach expands to take on the size of the meal you have consumed, it can put pressure on the abdomen. Overeating can also cause gas to build up in the stomach, putting pressure on the surrounding areas. Food poisoning can also cause the stomach to expand due to the buildup of gas from growing bacterial colonies. As the infection makes its way through your system you can experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Surgery - Those that have recently undergone abdominal surgery can experience pain around the belly button. This pain can be acute or mild and may also be accompanied by diarrhea or constipation. As your body heals from your surgery this pain should fade away.
- Pregnant women - Pregnant women will often experience pain around their abdomen. This pain is not typically constant or overwhelming, but it is important to make note of these symptoms as they can signal trouble with the growing baby. In most cases, this pain is caused by your body adjusting to the growing baby. If the pain is severe it can be a sign of something severe such as a fallopian pregnancy that will require immediate medical attention.
- Hernia - Hernia is another cause of belly button pain, which occurs when part of an abdominal organ (intestines, bowels, bladder, etc.) is pushed outside of where it should be. Pain and tenderness in the affected area is the most common sign of a hernia. This pain will be elevated with activity, such as walking or bending over. Other symptoms include a tender lump, painful bowel movements, urination scrotum pain, and a heavy feeling in the abdomen. Surgical repair of the torn tissue is the primary treatment for a hernia. Before treatment, avoid any activity that may exacerbate the hernia.
- Pancreas Problems - Pancreas problems can cause pain to develop in the area which can center near the belly button. This can also cause fever, nausea or headaches to develop. If you have been showing signs of diabetes or you notice that this pain comes and goes throughout the day, make note of what appears to be causing it to help your doctor diagnose your condition.
- Small Intestine Disorder - The small intestine winds through the abdomen, centering near the bellybutton area. If you develop an infection, kink in the intestines or other disorders it can cause severe pain around this area. Make note if you experience constipation, nausea, fever or other symptoms along with this pain to help your doctor determine what might be causing this disturbance. Some small intestine disorders will require surgery to correct.
- Ulcers - Ulcers can cause a sharp pain in the bellybutton area. Ulcers are caused when the stomach lining is eroded, causing the stomach acid to damage the tissue below. This can cause internal bleeding leading to severe damage. This pain can become worse when you consume items that agitate the damaged tissue such as spicy or acidic foods. Medications can be administered to help replace the lining of the stomach, eliminating these symptoms. Your doctor will also give you a list of ways to modify your diet and lifestyle to avoid developing ulcers in the future.
- Crohn's Disease - Crohn's disease is a disease that causes inflammation of the bowel, but can occur anywhere from the mouth to the rectum. This disease has genetic tendencies, but can also be caused by environmental factors such as smoking or the body's over reaction to normal bacteria. When Crohn's symptoms flare they can cause loss of appetite, fever, cramping in the abdomen, constipation, mouth ulcers, rectal bleeding or diarrhea. There is no cure for Crohn's disease but your doctor can provide medication to help manage the symptoms.
- Appendicitis - Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, a small tube like structure that is attached to the cecum. Belly button pain due to appendicitis can be compared to the feeling of indigestion or constipation. At first, the pain will be dispersed and not localized to one specific area. It will be around the belly button region, with the exact spot difficult to pinpoint. Pain will move to the lower right side of the abdominal region as the condition progresses. This pain will be exacerbated when you walk or cough. Other symptoms include chills, constipation, appetite loss, nausea, fever, and vomiting. These will typically begin after the pain has started. The general course of action after diagnosis is appendectomy. Once the appendix has been removed, the patient will need plenty of rest and fluids.
- Gallstones - The majority of people with gallstones do not experience symptoms. Symptoms will generally only occur when there is a complication. The most common symptom is immense upper abdominal pain, though it may radiate down to the belly button. This pain will occur periodically, occurring every few days, months, or even years. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, bloating, belching, and jaundice. Seek treatment if you are experiencing constant pain, fever, or jaundice. For severe cases of gallstones surgical intervention will be required. Treatment for mild cases includes reduction by avoiding fatty foods, drinking only clear fluids and taking pain killers.
When to Seek Medical Help
If belly button pain persists for more than 3-4 days and interferes with your life, seek medical attention. Moreover, if this pain coincides with vomiting, jaundice, fever, loss of appetite, or chills, it is highly recommended that you consult a doctor to determine if you are developing appendicitis or gallstones.