The umbilicus, also known as navel, belly button or tummy button it is a constant reminder of the connection we once had with our mothers. It is a hollow or raised site where the umbilical cord was attached to the placenta.
Some men and women also find it sexy, I know of a guy who can go mad on the sight of a pierced tummy button. Most ladies have pierced theirs, and they adorn it with different kinds of rings. For me, it is always a sight to behold whenever I see a beautiful pierced navel. But when it begins to oozing can make the naval region an unsightly area, it is also ugly and embarrassing.
Smelly discharge – white, yellow or green
The Being in a warm and moist area and therefore susceptible to many bacterial and fungal infections which can cause discharge that can at times have a foul odor. Besides infections, there are many other problems that can cause navel discharge.
The belly button discharge could be bloody, white, greenish, brownish, yellow or at times clear. The specific color will depend on the actual cause. As we look at the causes, we will discuss more on the kind of discharge you may end up with. It is normal to experience some pain in the affected area and in severe cases, you might have pain under your belly button.
The following are some of the reasons why you could be experiencing discharge from your tummy button:
1. Bacterial infections
If there is a pus discharge from your umbilicus, then you probably have a bacterial infection.
An infection caused by bacteria is often because of poor hygiene. If you don’t clean sweat, dust and any foreign components from your navel, then you are on the road to getting a smelly navel infection which will be characterized by belly button leaking.
Bacterial infections often result in green and yellow discharges and can also cause pain and sores around or near your tummy button.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect this region. Candida loves warm and damp areas like the naval cavity. Candida infection is characterized by red itchy sores around this area. Candida infections are triggered by several things among them a low immune system and use of certain antibiotic drugs.
3. Infected belly button piercing
Navel piercing is a very popular form of body art. What most people don’t understand is that the piercing should be performed by a professional under a clean environment. Unhygienic conditions and use of the wrong needle can lead to infections.
Also, poor aftercare or general lack of knowledge on the proper way of cleaning the piercing is also among the leading causes of fungal and bacterial infections near your piercing.
Piercing infection symptoms from a piercing may include a smelly yellow, green or brown discharge. The pierced site or hole may also enlarge, and one may end up a sharp stomach pain under the belly button for serious infection causes. You may also have an inflamed navel due to an infected piercing in this area.
In extreme cases, you may experience chills, dizziness, and an upset in your stomach.
4. Urachal cyst
The urachal is a small duct that connects the fetus bladder to the umbilical cord. This tube is used to drain urine from the baby while in the womb. It usually closes before birth, but sometimes it doesn’t. It can, therefore, become infected leading to belly button cysts.
These cysts are characterized by a sharp pain under the belly button and fever. If it raptures, urachal can cause persistent weeping of the navel. On rare cases, mucus and urine can also leak from this opening causing the presence of fluids around the umbilicus.
5. Umbilical hernia surgery
An umbilical hernia is a state when the umbilicus is protruding to the outside of the body due to the weaknesses of the abdominal muscles around it. In such cases, an umbilical hernia repair can be done to push back it and strengthen the abdominal walls.
Some patients who have undergone this operation have complained about blood discharge in the belly button after the surgery. Some patients said they could see dark or black stuff in their umbilicus some two weeks after the surgery. Medics say that pain around the naval area after a hernia surgery is normal.
Patients should take good care of their wounds after the surgery to avoid infections after surgery.
People with poorly treated or controlled diabetes are at a higher risk of severe yeast infections. This is because yeast feeds on sugar and higher blood sugar means higher food for yeast infections. Yeast is responsible for infections such as candidiasis which cause navel infections in adults or children with this condition.
7. General poor hygiene
When you don’t practice good general hygiene, you may develop naval stones. Naval stones are masses made of Keratin and sebum deposition that oxides into a solid black accretion. When these stones become infected, they can lead to a sore navel and ooze. Belly button wax is also a discharge associated with people who don’t clean their navel or those who don’t do it more frequently.
8. Injury – clear discharge
Injury especially if it damages the skin layer can cause the belly button oozing clear liquid especially after you have been injured. However, this should stop once a scab has been formed.
Belly button discharge in children, babies, and newborns
The inflammation of the umbilical cord in newborns is referred to as omphalitis of newborns and is often associated with a bacterial infection. After the baby’s birth, the umbilical cord is cut leaving a wound that takes some time to heal. This wound can get an umbilical infection if not given proper care before healing. The newborn baby’s navel will swell and turn reddish if infected. You may also see a discharge of pus from the umbilical stump.
If not treated, Omphalitis can progress into Sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its tissues and organs.
Belly button discharge during pregnancy
In rare cases, a pregnancy can increase the chances of getting yeast infections, and that is how pregnant women end up experiencing some discharge and pain. Medics are still studying the relationship between navel discharge and pregnancy. But for now, there is no reason that explains this occurrence. Dr. Jeff Livingston, Obstetrics & Gynecology while answering a related question on healthtap.com says that there is no direct relationship between navel discharge and pregnancy.
Treatment for belly button discharge is dependent on what is causing the discharge.
Treatment for a candida
Navel fungus can cause clear and sticky or yellow discharge or pus from depending on severity. It can also cause pain in this area. You expect to have a red itchy belly button if you have a fungal infection. Here are some ways you can get rid of the fungal infection.
- Practice good hygiene – Good hygiene is essential if you want to get rid of a yeast infected belly button. Keeping the area clean and dry should be your priority. Wash the area with mild soap and pat it dry to keep infections at bay.
- Avoid tight clothes – tight clothes will aggravate the infection and make the area intolerable. Tight clothes can also accumulate sweat and dirt in the infection area and worsen the infection. An inflamed tummy button needs you to wear cotton clothing that absorbs sweat.
- Cut off on sugary foods- yeast feeds on sugar and therefore eating sugary foods will aggravate the fungal infection. Avoid foods that are high in sugar for faster healing. Diabetic patients should also know how to manage their condition to avoid getting fungal infections.
- If the above remedies don’t see a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics
Treatment for urachal cysts
The treatment of Urachal cysts involves primary excision of the cyst. There are also some concerns about urachal cysts becoming cancerous. In this case, surgery is recommended to remove the cysts. You can discus all the viable options for you in case you have the cysts.
Treatment infected piercing
You need to know the proper piercing care to avoid infections and pain around the belly button. But if you already have an infection, then the quickest way to heal is to wash it with salty water (saline solution). Gently swab the piercing site with salty water and leave it in place for 10 minutes before rinsing it clean.
While in the shower, wash your piercing with antibacterial soap to avoid any infection.
Medics have warned against using hydrogen peroxide on an infected piercing because this can dry out the area and worsen the situation.
You can avoid pain below the belly button due to an infected piercing if you get a professional do the piercing for you. The professional will use sterile piercers and will also perform the operation in a clean environment.
When to see a doctor
Whether your navel is oozing clear or colored discharge or if you are constantly asking yourself the question ‘why my belly button is wet and smelly?’ you need to see a doctor immediately because all these are signs of infection; an infection whose because you probably don’t know.