Why Does My Belly Button Smell?

The belly button, also called the umbilicus, is a scar on the abdomen. We don’t tend to think of it this way since we have had it practically our whole life, but it really is a scar where the umbilical cord was attached. It is divided into quadrants, right and left, upper and lower. You may be wondering why it smells? This article will help you figure out why that might be.

Why Does My Belly Button Smell?

A smelly belly button in most cases is not a life threatening concern. But it can point to certain conditions. Most often it is because of poor hygiene but it is possible for the belly button to produce discharge, poop, itch or be painful.

1. Dirt or Debris

A buildup of dirt or skin debris can irritate skin and cause a smell inducing infection.

2. Inflammation

If the skin near the belly button is inflamed, it can get infected with anaerobic bacteria and the infection can cause a smell.

3. Body Shape

People with large bellies are more likely to develop an infection in the belly button because the belly button is larger and more open to bacteria, dirt, and moisture.

4. Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant and asking why does my belly button smell? You probably have nothing to worry about. One of the changes in pregnancy is increased sweating which can make its way to the belly button and can cause a smell. Clean it twice a day with rubbing alcohol and a q tip.

5. UV Light Exposure

UV light damages the skin so exposure to this kind of light in the belly button area can cause an infection to occur.

6. Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to develop infections, including those in the belly button. These infections can cause a bad smell and a fluid to be released from the belly button.

7. Infections

  • Bacterial Infection: These can develop in an unwashed belly button. If there is a smell and pus like excretion together it is likely a bacterial infection.
  • Fungal Infection: This type of infection is also characterized by smell and discharge. The most common is candida which flourishes in warm and moist places.
  • Patent Urachus: This condition is caused by the tube between the bladder and the umbilicus called the urachus not closing as it is supposed to after birth. This can result in bacterial or fungal infections.
  • Post-Surgical Infections: A post op infection is not uncommon after some surgical procedures. This causes a smell and pus like discharge. The most common reason for this infection is tubal ligation and it can cause redness, swelling, and pain.

8. Rare Skin Conditions

There are a few skin conditions that can add to the smell of the belly button. They are rare though.

  • Sebaceous Cysts: This can cause smell and discharge but is very rare. It is not a serious health risk but an infection caused by the cyst which need attention.
  • Eczema: This can create extra dead skin cells that can flake off and clog the naval cavity. This can get worse if there are bacteria and oils in the belly button as well.

The Right Way to Clean Your Belly Button

A smelly belly button can be embarrassing. Here’s the full run down on how to clean your belly button so you can stop asking why does my belly button smell?

  • Preparation: Gather everything you need before you start the cleaning. Use water, baby oil, rubbing alcohol, or an astringent, and a q tip.
  • Dip and Clean: Dip the q tip into the cleaning solution and swab out your belly button. Repeat until all the dirt is removed and the navel is cleaned.
  • Remove Cleaning Solution: Now swab out your belly button again with a clean q tip to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  • Aftercare: Apply skin care cream or ointment to keep your skin healthy.

Now you know how to properly clean your belly button so you can stop asking why does my belly button smell?

Home Remedies to Care for Your Belly Button

  • Use saline solution to get rid of infections. It absorbs moisture and makes it hard for bacteria to grow.
  • If there is any pain use a warm compress.
  • Tea tree oil is another great remedy to heal infections. It is an anti-fungal and antibacterial so it will aid in healing the infection in your belly button.
  • Rubbing alcohol is also a good solution. If your newborn’s umbilical cord smells, dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and swab the baby’s umbilical cord. Do this twice a day.
  • Avoid putting any soaps, cream, or lotion in the belly button. If you do not clean the area properly it will attract bacteria.
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