The thing about your belly button is that it is the perfect spot for bacterial growth. It has been found that the tiny area on your otherwise large body hosts as many as 70 different types of bacteria. And yes, that is a lot. So it’s only natural that the small nook in your body which is otherwise a warm area, sometimes even moist and dark, becomes the perfect spot for dangerous bacterial growth and sometimes even fungi. When that happens, there’s a higher chance of one contracting a belly button infection.
A belly button infection is caused mostly due to the growth of bacteria like yeast. It is a surprisingly common problem and a lot of people catch these. That said, people with poor hygiene in the navel area or people who have had their belly button pierced are more likely to get these infections. Except this, touching your belly button frequently, especially if your hands are not clean will also have a higher than normal chance of getting an infection.
If you happen to notice a bloody discharge from your belly button or see a discharge that is yellow, white or brown in colour, this can be a first indication of an infected belly button. The discharge may even have a foul smell. This is what happens when the germs and bacteria trapped in your belly button begins to multiply.
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Symptoms of Belly Button Infection
The symptoms for a belly button infections vary in every different stages of the infections. At the same time, the symptoms also vary on the basis of what caused the infection. Every infection is different and it’s quite possible for people to have the same symptoms but on different stages of the infection.
While it is difficult to list out exact symptoms for every stage, for the general understanding of the readers, we have listed a few common symptoms:
- Itching or burning sensation.
- Pain and tenderness.
- Tingling sensation.
- Redness or change of colour of the skin.
- Collection of pus.
- Green, yellow or brown discharge with a bad odour.
- Stomach problems, dizziness, fever or vomiting
If you see one of some of these symptoms it is best to seek treatment, whether through some basic remedies or with a physician. Later in the article, some home remedies you can use will also be discussed.
Types of Infection
A belly button infection may be of various types, depending on what caused it. We will discuss some common types of belly button infections that a person may contract.
Bacterial Infection: Bacteria presence is one of the biggest reason for a person contracting belly button infection. While the presence of healthy bacteria in normal amounts does not cause any problems, poor hygiene caused by presence of lint or sweat can be a contributing factor. These act as food for the bacteria and create the perfect environment for them to grow and develop into dangerous infections. A discharge is the best symptom of a belly button infection caused by bacterial infections.
Sebaceous Cysts: When a sebaceous cyst develops in the area around the belly button, it could contribute to the pain, maybe even cause a swelling or infection. Excessive scratching leading to exposure is the biggest cause for infection is this case.
Fungal Infection: Candida is the cause for most common fungal infections, and the navel is yet another part of the body that it can cause an infection in. If the area around your belly button is tender and turning a slight reddish shade, then it might be an infection caused by candida. Flaky skin combined with redness and tenderness is the best symptom of a fungal infection.
Urachal Cysts: A duct located within the umbilical cord, the Urachus caters to draining the urine from the fetus. Usually, the duct closes after the delivery and rarely remains open in adults or kids. However, if for some reason, an infection is contracted in the canal, it is called a Urachal Cyst and the symptoms of this cyst are very similar to that of a general infection.
Diabetic Infection: Diabetics are more likely than most people to experience infections. In such cases, the discharge will resemble cottage cheese as is the typical symptoms of infections for people with diabetes.
What Causes an Infected Belly Button?
While infections can be caused by any number of things, the most common reasons are discussed below:
Belly Button Piercings: For those who have had their belly buttons pierced, maintaining roper hygiene and taking due precautions is necessary since these are very easy to get infected. A piercing is essentially an open wound. Therefore it remains at high risk to catch an infection if instructions aren’t followed and caution not exercised, at least until it heals.
Poor Hygiene: Poor personal hygiene can cause just about any body part to suffer from infections and complications. It is important to clean yourself up regularly and properly since sweat buildup and collection of dirt in the navel puts one at a higher risk of contracting an infection. Also remember to clean out soap and moisture from the belly button, since that can help the bacteria to grow and eventually cause infections. Ensure that the water you use on your body, for bathing or cleaning purposes, is clean and not dirty since that too increases chances of infections.
Frequent touching of the belly button: Our hands are the biggest reason behind the spreading of most bacteria; they survive on our fingertips. Therefore touching your belly button or your piercing in the area frequently can cause more and more bacteria to grow in the area and thereafter cause an infection.
Recent abdominal surgery: Surgeries, while necessary also open up your body to the possibility of contracting an infection. Therefore it is common for people to contract infections in their belly button after surgeries in the abdominal area.
Cuts and wounds: Any sort of cut or wound increase a person’s chances of infection. Any injury can easily get infected. Watch for redness and swelling since those are the first signs of infections.
Clothing choices: Wearing tight fitting clothes or clothes made from synthetic fibers increases chances of infections. These types of clothes reduce the amount of air that the skin gets which in turn increases chances of infection. Elastic bands in tights and joggers can also cause infections since they apply pressure on the skin and can rub against the skin.
How Do You Clean An Infected Belly Button? – 10 DIY Remedies
The first thing to do when you’ve realized that you’ve got a belly button infection is to clean it up. The best way to clean one up is with saline water and cotton. You can prepare saline water by adding half a teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water. You can use cotton balls or Q-tips. Simply dip the cotton balls/Q-tips in the saline water and clean any discharge or pus that may have collected. Once it’s clean, wipe the area dry with paper towels or cotton towels. His cleaning should help to prevent the infection from recurring. However, if it doesn’t help, yu can use the home remedies given below.
- The best way to tackle any infection is by keeping the area clean.
- Use anti-bacterial soap to clean and keep the area dry.
- At most use anti-bacterial lotion to treat it.
- Repeat the process only 2-3 times a day.
Sometimes the infections hurt. If the infection you have is also painful, then you can use a warm compress to ease the pain.
- Tae a washcloth and dip it in warm water.
- Wring it to remove excess water.
- Place the cloth on your belly for a little while.
- Repeat the process a few times a day for maximum effect.
- Always dry the area afterwards so as to prevent the infection from worsening any further.
Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is known for its anti-bacterial anti-fungal properties and therefore works wonderfully as an antiseptic.
- Take a teaspoon of coconut oil or olive oil and mix a few drops of tea tree oil to it.
- Apply the mixture onto the affected area with a cotton ball.
- Leave it on the affected area for about 10 minutes and clean with a fresh tissue.
- This should be done 2-3 times every day for best result.
Rubbing alcohol also has antiseptic properties. It helps by disinfecting the area and preventing it from spreading any further. At the same time, it also helps to reduce any pain or irritation you may be experiencing on account of the infection.
- Put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
- Use this cotton ball to rub on the affected area.
- Leave the alcohol on the affected area and reapply after a few hours.
- Yu can reapply several times in a day till the infection is healed.
White vinegar is acidic in nature and will help to fight the infection and keep it from spreading further. Vinegar is even more effective when used against any discharge that may be caused by the infection.
- White vinegar must be diluted with water while using it for any home remedy. Therefore, mix one part vinegar with 2 parts water.
- Take a cotton ball and soak it in the solution.
- Apply the solution onto the affected area with the cotton ball and leave it on for 0-15 minutes.
- Rinse the area with fresh water and dry it.
- The process can be repeated 2-3 times a day till the infection is cured.
Turmeric is known as the wonder herbs. It has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties which make it the perfect healing solution.
- Take some turmeric and add water to it.
- Make the paste with the turmeric powder and water.
- Apply this paste onto the affected area and leave it to dry.
- Once dried, clean it with a washcloth and dry it.
- This can be repeated 2-3 times a day till the infection disappears.
Neem is yet another wonder of nature when it comes to healing. Neem is a great antiseptic and kills bacteria when not needed.
- Take some neem leaves.
- Add some water and grind to make a paste out of it.
- Apply the paste onto the affected area and leave it to dry.
- You can also add turmeric powder to it to make it stronger.
- Once dried, clean the paste off with a washcloth and dry the area.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day.
Coconut oil can also be used to slow down the growth of bacteria and eventually heal it.
- Apply the coconut oil on a cotton ball.
- Rub the affected area with the cotton ball and leave to dry.
- Repeat a few times a day.
- This should also help with reducing redness and pain.
Aloe Vera is known to be anti-inflammatory and also contains soothing properties which make it an ingredient in most home remedies.
- Extract the fresh gel of an Aloe Vera leaf.
- Apply the gel onto the affected area.
- Leave it to dry.
- Clean with a wet tissue and dry.
- Repeat till the infection is healed.
- Be sure to clean the aloe vera leaf and remove the yellow liquid which comes out when you cut the leaf since that can cause itchiness.
Calendula is a hydrating herb that is both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. This helps with healing as well as relief from itching and irritation.
- Take 2-3 Calendula flowers.
- Crush the flowers and the leaves to extract the juice.
- Apply the juice onto the affected area with a cotton ball.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day for best effects.
- In case the fresh flower isn’t available, you can use lotions containing its extracts.
- Don’t scratch at the infection since it will only make it worse.
- Be sure to avoid any contact to keep it from spreading any further.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach till the infection heals.
- Rinse the area with saline solution regularly.
- Keep the area dry and clean. Therefore bathe regularly but dry yourself properly after bathing.
- If you’ve had your belly button pierced recently, avoid using a public swimming pool.
- Avoid sing lotions and moisturizers in your navel.
- Be very careful with the after instructions in case of any piercings.
- Use loose clothes made from natural fibers.
- While home remedies are a simple and inexpensive solution, if the symptoms don’t go away or get any worse, consult your doctor.