Umbilicus is the technical term given for belly button. Umbilical cord consists of tissues that provide nourishment to the growing fetus through the placenta of the mother. Shortly after birth, the umbilical cord is removed by cutting it from the end of fetus skin. This only creates a small scar on the child which grows into belly button later.
In this article you will get to know about the various causes of belly button pain.
Belly button pain can range from mild to severe and sharp consistent pain. Pain arising out of belly button depends on the causative factor. If the root cause is mild like that of indigestion or gastric problem the pain would be mild. In case the pain is arising out of appendicitis the pain is severe and radiating with time. Some serious symptoms with belly pain including blood vomiting, blood discharge in the stool, chest pain and shortness of breath needs immediate treatment.
Belly Button Pain Causes :
Several factors can cause belly button pain and the intensity of pain can range from mild to very severe.
Some of the common causes of abdominal pain are listed below :
1. Hernia – Some fatty tissues of the stomach or intestine can bulge putting pressure in the abdomen causing sharp pain in the belly region. The pain gets severe when you are coughing along with pain in the groin. This condition can be umbilical hernia which can be caused by weakened abdominal walls and chronic coughing.
2. Indigestion – Indigestion is the most common cause for belly button pain. You may feel “full” after eating little food and have discomfort in completing the meal. This can cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and bloated feeling, loss of appetite and black stools. You need to check with your doctor to find out the root cause of indigestion.
3. Ulcer – Ulcer is largely caused by bacterial infection and chronic usage of medications like NSAID. Long term use of medications like ibuprofen and aspirin can trigger ulcer causing dull pain near the navel or belly button. It can cause signs of nausea, vomiting, bloating, heartburn, and loss of weight along with belly pain.
4. Pregnancy – In the second trimester of pregnancy women can feel sharp pain on one side of the stomach. This can be due to expansion of the uterus that exerts pressure on the abdominal wall. Pain increases when you cough or laugh loudly due to contraction of ligaments.
5. Appendicitis – Appendix is a small thumb like organ found at the beginning of large intestine. When some fecal particles get clogged in its path it can develop swelling and in some cases the inflammation is severe causing increasing pain. Initially dull pain starts right below the belly button which increases as time passes and the pain now radiates towards the right abdomen. Appendicitis is described as inflammation of appendix which can cause signs of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
In the United States alone 5% of adults experience appendicitis (mild to severe) at some period. Appendicitis is reported largely in the age group of 10 to 30 years but it can occur later also. Accumulation of fecal particles can occur due to enlargement of lymphoid follicles and trauma. In rare cases appendix gets ruptured inside pouring in the dead cells into the intestine, which is potentially dangerous. On such condition the patient should be admitted immediately and operated to remove the appendix.
6. Celiac Disease – Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that occurs by eating wheat or barley. The body’s defense system develops immunity to gluten over time and causes inflammation of the lining of small intestine. This can cause symptoms of abdominal pain, bloated feeling, anemia (due to mal-absorption of nutrients) and fatigue. There is no definite treatment for celiac disease and the symptoms can be managed by strictly avoiding gluten in your diet.
7. Constipation – Constipation is the most common issue faced by millions of people. The feces become hard in the large intestine and bowel movement becomes difficult. One has to strain hard to pass the stool. For many people bowel movement occurs 3 times a week or even lesser. The fecal particles get hard and dry not allowing it to pass through the small opening of the rectum. Certain medications like antipsychotic drugs, antacids and changes in diet pattern, and eating plenty of dairy products and physically being active can cause constipation.
8. Diverticulitis – Diverticulitis can cause belly button pain, fever and change in bowel movement. It is basically a digestive disorder that causes inflammation of small bag like structure in the stomach. Exact cause of this disease is not known and treatment includes change in lifestyle and diet habit by taking plenty of liquid diet and fiber rich diet.
Pain occurring in the belly button area can actually radiate from other regions as well. This condition is called as referred pain and this can be caused by distant organs in the body.
Other Causes :
Wearing tight clothing around the waist and any tear in the abdominal muscle area can cause belly pain. Umbilical hernia, health issues in the gastrointestinal area, serious infections and urinary tract infections can cause belly button pain.
Pain in the belly region can occur after undergoing stomach or intestine surgery. Gallstones formed in the bladder, pancreatitis, and any infection in the small intestine can cause pain in the upper abdomen.
Testing procedure for belly button pain depends on the intensity of the problem and severity of the pain. Based on health condition and symptoms your doctor may order for blood test, stool test and imaging tests like scanning of abdomen.
- Treatment is based on the root cause of the problem. Your doctor will have to analyze and diagnose the problem before attempting to treat it.
- For indigestion related mild belly button pain including fiber rich diet and drinking plenty of fluids can be a remedy.
- Crohn’s disease can be treated with medications, and diet supplement. In severe cases surgery can provide relief from the symptoms.
- Appendicitis is a serious condition needing surgical intervention.
- Ulcer that causes belly pain can be managed with prescription medications like proton pump inhibitors and suitable strength of antibiotics.
In most of the cases belly button pain can be treated completely if the root cause is diagnosed. Making small changes in eating habit and lifestyle and doing regular exercises can give great relief from most of the symptoms of belly pain.