Check our homepage for new, visually rich, fast and immersive experiences!

Pain Around Belly Button

Pain around belly button may vary from intestinal problems such irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and appendicitis to infections like stomach flu and UTI.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Feb 3, 2018
Pregnant woman sitting on Wheelchair
Persistent pain around belly button (navel) certainly cannot be ignored and is often related to issues associated with the small and the large intestines. The pain usually worsens when doing stretching exercises. Activities like bending, leaning or jumping while playing basketball and even sneezing hard, put excessive strain on the stomach and abdominal muscles, which can aggravate existing navel pain.
Apart from constipation and intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, following are the medical conditions that are known to cause discomfort around navel area.
A condition that triggers sudden abnormal enlargement of the appendix, is known as appendicitis. The appendix is a 3-4 cm tubular structure, regarded as an extension of the large intestine. This mass of tissue hangs freely and although its function is not known, it can cause pain, if it becomes inflamed due to an infection. As the appendix is located near the belly button and is swollen, the person is bound to experience recurring pain in that region that may aggravate over time. The pain resulting from appendicitis, is moderate that usually starts around the belly button and eventually travels down to the right abdomen. Nausea, loss of appetite and fever are the other symptoms of appendicitis.
Ulcers are basically open wounds that develop on the inner walls of the intestines. Initially, the pain is experienced somewhere around the belly button and with no treatment the pain spreads and affects the whole abdominal area. Ulcers trigger internal bleeding, causing discomfort in the belly button region.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
UTI affects the urinary system that is primarily made up of ureters, kidneys, urethra and the bladder. The infection increases the urge to urinate and is followed by a smelly discharge. The pain is severe while urinating, but even otherwise mild to moderate pain is experienced near the belly button throughout the day. Although UTI can attack any part of the urinary system, it generally affects the bladder.
Crohn's Disease
Belly button pain is common in people affected with this inflammatory bowel disease, a condition in which certain parts of small intestine or large intestine (colon) become inflamed. In this condition, the intestinal wall appears severely swollen, in turn narrowing the intestinal passage and obstructing the flow of contents through the intestine. Crohn's disease impairs digestion and causes discomfort around belly button, appetite loss, bowel dysfunction (diarrhea), which eventually leads to fatigue and weight loss.
Ovarian Cysts
Navel pain in women can occur due to the presence of ovarian cysts. A cyst is a pouch like structure that contains the body fluids. Cysts are regarded as abnormal fluid filled structures because they are not part of any body tissues. The ovaries found near the uterus are an integral part of the female reproductive system. Development of ovarian cysts, initially may not cause any discomfort, but if these fluid filled sacs burst, patients often complain about discomfort around belly button.
This condition is a result of weak abdominal muscles that are unable to hold internal tissues, leading to protrusion of the tissues. The intestinal tissues are seen bulging outwards (as small lumps) through the weak areas of the abdomen. Lifting heavy objects without taking the necessary precautions is the most common reason behind the development of hernia.
Pregnancy news brings the joy of happiness to any women but carrying the developing baby for 9 months has its own set of problems such as it causes discomfort near the belly button. However, navel pain during pregnancy is common and not a cause for worry. This happens because the abdominal wall near the belly button is not thick. On the contrary, it is very thin and so the undue pressure of the fetus on this area, can cause pain.
Stomach Flu
This is a viral infection in which the lining of the stomach and the intestine are inflamed. In this condition, the digestion goes haywire as the patient vomits soon after consuming food. Frequent bouts of vomiting and inability to digest food are the hallmarks of stomach flu. Pain that loiters around the belly button is a common complaint among stomach flu sufferers. Apart from stomach cramps, the onset of diarrhea is also noticed in many patients.
Gallbladder Problems
Gallbladder problems such as formation of gallstones can also cause pain that originates from the upper right abdominal area and remains confined around the navel area. The term gallstones refers to solid crystallized matter that forms gradually over a period of time in the gallbladder. The gallbladder found below the liver collects the bile (digestive juice) from the liver and then empties it, that travels all the way down to the small intestine. The bile promotes breakdown of ingested food, which helps to promote digestion. It is observed that tiny deposits of cholesterol get separated from the bile and begin to accumulate in the gallbladder to form larger structures known as gallstones. When these gallstones get dislodged from the gallbladder and get trapped in the ducts, one may experience sudden pain that shoots from the belly button area to the upper back or shoulder blades. The pain may come and go but in most cases patients feel constant pain lasting anywhere between 1 to 5 hours. Persistent pain is usually a sign of gallbladder issues rather than stomach problems such as ulcers.
In case, the discomfort in the abdominal area is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, decrease in appetite and fever, it is indicating gallbladder infection known as cholecystitis. Jaundice symptoms such as skin turning yellow and dark urine can also occur from gallstones blocking the bile duct.
This condition is marked by inflammation of the pancreas, a glandular organ that secretes enzymes to promote digestion. As the organ is situated to the rear of the stomach, one may experience belly button pain due to medical conditions like pancreatitis. Other symptoms associated with pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, indigestion and radiating belly button pain that aggravates after having meals. The pain associated with stomach flu or ulcers is usually not continuous but tends to come and go.
Heavy Workouts
You might enjoy doing high intensity exercises but after a workout session you may face a hard time dealing with pain around belly button. This is because, exercises that are done vigorously such as crunches or those involving lifting weights can be strenuous to the abdominal muscles. As a result, the undue stress on the abdominal muscles can manifest in the form of navel pain.
Food Poisoning
Consuming food that is not stored properly or prepared in unsanitary conditions is harmful and leads to food poisoning. So, within a few hours of having contaminated food, one is likely to vomit and most importantly experience persistent discomfort around belly button.
Treatment for this stomach discomfort will be given after diagnosing the underlying cause. So, if the pain does not go away, talk to your health care provider and take the treatment accordingly.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.