Sometimes, it is difficult to identify the reason behind sharp belly button pain, as a number of organs are located in the abdominal cavity. Dysfunction of any organ from the abdominal cavity can lead to pain behind navel. The pain can be sharp or mild, it can be intermittent or consistent. It may radiate towards upper abdomen and/or groin. In case of extreme pain, the person may not be able to move. Symptoms play an important role in determining the cause of the pain. Pain behind belly button can be lowered, if the cause is known. There are various factors that may contribute to such pain.
What Causes Pain around Belly Button?
✦ Appendicitis: One of the most common causes of pain behind the belly button after eating or while walking is appendicitis, which is an inflammation of the appendix. Appendix is a four inch long piece of intestine that is present at the junction of the small and large intestines in the lower right abdomen. It can get inflamed or infected due to various reasons, and can lead to mild to intense pain around the navel area. Besides belly button pain, some other symptoms of appendicitis are nausea, loss of appetite, low fever, constipation, gas retention, abdominal swelling, diarrhea, etc.
✦ Medicines: Interaction of certain medicines or excessive consumption of medicines can affect the function of the digestive system, and can lead to abdominal pain.
✦ Crohn's Disease: Swelling of stomach and intestines due to Crohn's disease can also interfere with the ability of the digestive system to function effectively.
✦ Pancreatitis: Inflammation of pancreas is called pancreatitis. Diabetes mellitus and pancreatic cancer can result in damaged pancreas and abdominal pain.
✦ Ulcer: Belly button pain is another common symptom of stomach or intestinal ulcer, a small tissue erosion in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Smoking, alcohol abuse, or H. pylori infections, consumption of acidic and spicy foods, etc., are some common causes of ulcers in the GI tract. Vomiting, nausea, frequent burping, and hiccuping, loss of appetite, are few other symptoms of this health disorder, along with pain behind the belly button.
✦ Pregnancy: During pregnancy, women may experience belly button pain due to the pressure created by the expanding uterus. It is quite normal. However, if the pain is unbearable, the woman should contact her doctor immediately.
✦ Gallbladder Disease: Infection and inflammation of the gallbladder (a tiny pear-shaped organ below the liver), formation of gallstones, and blockage of the gallbladder can lead to abdominal pain. This organ is used to store bile produced by the liver. It helps in digestion of fat. Inflammation of gallbladder primarily occurs due to slow or obstructed flow of bile out of the gallbladder. Common symptoms for gallbladder disease include pain behind the belly button when urinating, abdominal pain, abdominal fullness, fever, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, chills, chest pain, etc.
✦ Umbilical Hernia: Umbilical hernia, also known as belly button hernia, is a kind of abdominal hernia that occurs in the navel region. In this type of hernia, the intestines press through the abdominal wall behind the navel, causing a characteristic protrusion to appear. The main cause of this disorder is weakness in the abdominal muscles, hence the condition is more common in infants and children. Hernias of the bladder, stomach, or intestines can lead to pain in the navel region.
✦ Eating Disorders: Excessive consumption of food can lead to excess gas and abdominal pain. Eating very little food results in acid reflux and pain. Food contaminated by bacteria, parasites, and viruses can make you sick, and can lead to pain. Food poisoning is one of the common causes of abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea.
✦ Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Pain from kidney stones is usually experienced below the ribs on your side and back. However it can spread to the lower abdomen. Bladder infection, cystitis, pyelonephritis, and gonorrhea can also result in abdominal pain. Painful urination is one of the major symptoms of UTI. One may experience pain in belly button when urinating.
✦ Injury: Injury to any organ like stomach, spleen, liver, etc. can result in pain. A surgery or a car accident can lead to such pain.
As mentioned above, any digestive / excretory / reproductive system disorder can lead to abdominal pain. Pain of any kind is always an indication of some health problem. Hence, no matter how mild it is, it shouldn't be ignored. If you experience pain behind the belly button, and are unsure of the reasons for its occurrence, it is advisable to consult a doctor as early as possible to avoid any further complications. However, just saying, "I have pain behind my belly button" would not help detect the cause. You will have to observe your symptoms minutely, and would have to provide detailed information to the doctor.
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.