Pain around the belly button is not something to be taken lightly, the pain of any kind for that matter. Of course, in most cases, the pain is benign, but there are cases when it can turn into something a bit more serious.

So if you find yourself experiencing pain in this region, you should seek out medical help just for the peace of mind; especially if your pain intensifies after common daily activities such as bending, leaning, stretching, running, playing sports or even sneezing.

In the following paragraphs, we will be discussing the nature of this type of pain, its most common causes and offer some actionable suggestions for treating it.

The Type Of Pain


One of the first things you need to take into consideration is the intensity of the pain itself. Does it increase when moving, and what movement causes the most intense pain? Also, is the pain sudden and intense or would you characterize it as mild and annoying? The exact location of pain is also incredibly important, and we will discuss it as we go over the most common causes.

Noting these little things and telling your doctor know might speed things up and help them make the correct diagnosis.

Facts On Pain Around The Belly Button

  • Health problems such as appendicitis, ulcers, and Chron’s disease can cause pain around the belly button.
  • Women can experience belly pain during pregnancy, due to menstrual cramps or as a result of an ovarian cyst.
  • This type of pain can also be present if a patient is suffering from urinary tract infection, has gallbladder problems or a stomach flu.
  • Pain around the belly button can also be caused by a benign condition such as constipation, food poisoning or a hernia.
  • Anyone taking medication can experience belly button pain due to its side effects. Also, this pain will often be present in those who undergone abdominal surgery.

1. Constipation

Constipation is a common condition, affecting people of all ages and both genders equally. Being constipated means, you can’t pass a stool regularly or be unable to empty your bowel completely. Medically speaking, constipation is “diagnosed” when a person has three or fewer bowel movements per week.

You will also notice some changes in your stool, it will become hard, lumpy, unusually small or large, and may smell bad.

Fortunately, people experience acute constipation(a short lasting constipation); but there are those who are suffering from chronic constipation as well. Chronic constipation can cause significant pain, discomfort and affect your life in a negative way.

What Causes Constipation?


In most cases, being constipated means there is something wrong with your diet:

  • You are not eating enough fiber – fruits and vegetables
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Resisting the urge to pass a stool may also cause this problem
  • Constipation may also be a side effect of certain medication
  • But it can also be caused by anxiety or depression

How To Prevent And Treat Constipation

Treatment usually involves some lifestyle changes such as increasing your daily fiber intake, drinking plenty of water and exercising.

Your doctor might also prescribe some laxatives and, though they will give you an instant relief, know that establishing regular bowel movement may take months.

As for prevention, it mostly revolves around correcting your diet and make sure you don’t resist the urge to go to the bathroom when you feel it.

2. Pain Around The Belly Button After Surgery

Pain around the belly button following an abdominal surgery is not at all uncommon. After all, surgery is an invasive procedure, and our body needs some time to fully recover from it.

The pain itself might range from very mild to an intense, sharp sensation; but the most important thing to note here is that the pain will go away on its own after your body recovers fully. Until then, you can take pain medication should you require any.

So should you seek medical help? If the pain is bearable, you might want to steer clear of doctors (besides regular checkups) but you should definitely consider paying them a visit if you also experience:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain that is becomming more and more intense

3. Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a painful swelling of the appendix and is one of the most common causes of pain around the belly button. At first, the pain will manifest itself in the middle of your abdomen and then “travel” to the lower right-hand side, so the pain is actually felt under the belly button.

When should you call your GP? Generally, most people avoid contacting their GP at the first sign of pain, but if you feel the pain starting to get worse, you should seek medical help.

Other Common Symptoms Of Appendicitis:

  • Fever – fever alone is not a reliable enough to diagnose appendicitis on the spot, but if it’s combined with a severe abdominal pain, it may serve as a solid indication.
  • A pain that is getting worse – most patients agree that the appendicitis pain is unlike anything they ever felt before; it is strong enough to wake you up in the middle of the night! On top of that, the intensity of the pain is rapidly increasing.
  • Bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation – we all get bloated from time to time (especially when we don’t pay much attention to what we eat), but if you experience bloating in the morning as soon as you wake up, something might be wrong. Bloating can also become worse as the time goes by, and also cause pain around the belly button.
  • Pain to touch – since appendix is located in the lower right area of your abdomen, you can press it and gouge your reaction. Intense pain should be a clear indication something is wrong

The exact cause of appendicitis is not yet fully known, but it is considered to be some blockage at the entrance of the appendix.

Most common treatment is appendectomy – surgical removal of the appendix.

4. Ulcers

According to the statistics, about one in every 10 American develops an ulcer during his/her lifetime. Ulcers commonly appear in the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) and up until the mid 1980s the conventional wisdom was that they are caused by stress, excessive stomach acid secretion, and poor lifestyle.

Recent theories suggest that the number one culprit is a certain bacteria, along with other factors:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and
  • Caffeine
Coffee
Excessive coffee drinking might cause ulcers

As for the symptoms, there are cases where ulcers do not cause any symptoms at all. Having said that, the most common of an ulcer is a pain felt between the navel and the breastbone.

They are usually treated with medication and changes in the lifestyle.

5. Indigestion – Upset Stomach

Also known as dyspepsia, is a common clinical condtion seen in patients with gastrointestinal problems. It commonly occurs during or after eating and it can range from mild discomfort to an intense pain. Its symptoms are:

  • Burning sensation or pain in the area between the navel and the breast bone.
  • Unpleasant feeling of fulness after the meal is done

Indigestion may be caused and triggered by a number of different factors, some of which are:

  • Weight loss
  • Drinking too much alcohol or smoking tobacco
  • Eating too much/too fast
  • Greasy, spicy foods
  • Stress can also cause indigestion
  • Gallstones
  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers etc.

When To See A Doctor?

Though indigestion is not a serious problem in itself, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately:

  • Jaw pain
  • Chest pain
  • Heavy sweating and anxiety
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Intense, sharp pain around the belly button
  • Vomiting or passing blood in the stool

6. Can Hernia Cause Pain Around The Belly Button?

A hernia occurs when soft tissue protrudes through a weak point in the abdominal muscles. It usually presents itself in a form of a bulge on either side of the pubic bone.

A hernia is not dangerous by itself, BUT if it does not go away on its own, it can lead to specific complications. If it does not go away on its own, your doctor will likely recommend surgery.

The pain is usually felt under the belly button, commonly in the groin area and it can intensify when bending over or coughing.

7. Crohn`s Disease


Crohn`s disease is a condition that causes the inflammation in the lining of the digestive system. Though, the exact causes of this disease are not clear, there are some contributing factors:

  • Genetics
  • Previous infections
  • Smoking and
  • Various environmental factors

Most common symptoms might include diarrhea, mucus, and/or blood in the stool, fatigue and abdominal pain around the belly button. It is important to note that there will be times when the disease will present with only mild symptoms, but it can then flare up and cause serious health problems.

8. Ovarian Cysts

A cyst is a fluid-filled sack basically, and an ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sack located on the ovary. In most cases, these cysts are benign and most women have them at some point in their lives. Of course, there are cases where the cyst turns out to be malignant (cancerous) but these cases are rare.

These cysts are usually small in diameter and may not present with any symptoms. But larger ones might cause some twisting in the ovaries and cause pain. Of course, the pain will be felt in the area under the belly button.

9. Urinal Tract Infections

Urinal tract infection, or UTI, is an infection involving kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. If the infection affects kidneys or ureters, the patient might experience severe symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and
  • Pain

The infection in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra) will present itself with less severe symptoms.

The infection is usually treated with antibiotics, but you should always seek medical help, rather than trying to deal with it yourself!

10. Gallbladder Problems

Problems with gallbladder are usually caused by some infection or passing stones. And even though passing stones might cause excruciating pain, you will be happy to know that as much as 90% of all sufferers rarely feel pain at all.

If the patient does experience pain, it is usually located under the rib cage on the right-hand side. Some other symptoms are:

11. Pancreatitis

The pancreas is a gland located behind your stomach, and its main role is producing the digestive juices which facilitate food digestion. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the very juices and enzymes it produces start to attack the tissue causing swelling and eventually lead to scarring.

Most common causes of pancreatitis are:

  • Pain in the center part of the upper abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice and
  • Weight loss

12. Stomach Flu

Flu infected woman
Stomach flu can cause pain around the belly button

Stomach flu refers to swelling and the inflammation of the stomach and bowels from a virus. Physical examination is required for properly diagnosing it. The health care provider will usually look for the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure and urinary output
  • Sunken eyes, lethargy and an overall exhaustion of the body

Common symptoms are pain around the belly button (abdominal pain), nausea and diarrhea.

13. Medication Side Effects

This one is fairly self-explanatory. If you are on any specific medication, you need to be aware of the possible side effects. Of course, your GP will take care of this, but should you experience pain in your abdomen you should let them know.

11. Food Poisoning

This is an ever-present danger, especially if you eat fast food often. If the food was not properly stored or it was stored in the unsanitary condition it can lead to food poisoning.

If you did suffer from food poisoning, you will likely vomit within the first several hours. You might also experience pain and discomfort in the area around your belly button.

14. Menstrual Cramps


Guys, feel free can skip this section.

Painful menstrual cramps may immediately before or during the menstrual cycle. And depending on the severity of the cramps, they can cause intense pain in the abdomen, that can spread as far as hips, lower back, and thighs.

Most common way of dealing with menstrual cramps are medication. You can also try placing a heating pad on your lower abdomen or lower back.

16. Pregnancy

Another common cause of pain in the navel area reserved especially for women.

Make no mistake about it, abdomen pain during pregnancy can be a symptom of a severe problem. This is why you should never try to diagnose yourself; it is always better to seek professional medical help. Of course, seeking medical attention is advised if the pain is severe, sharp and if it lasts for more extended periods of time.

Most common benign belly button pain during pregnancy is induced by the changes in the round ligament of the vagina. As the name suggests, this ligament is located inside your pelvis, on either side of the vagina.

As the pregnancy progresses, this ligament is being stretched out and becomes thicker. These changes and occasional spasms are whats causing this pain.

The pain usually starts in the second trimester and is more intense on one side. Though it may seem dangerous (as it is sharp and intense), it is harmless, it doesn’t last very long, and only appears when you change positions (get up, sit or lie down or a cough).

When You Should Call Your Healthcare Provider

Though round ligament induced pain is harmless, there are other causes of pain around the belly button during pregnancy that can indicate a more serious health problem. So, how do you spot the difference?

The main characteristic of this specific pain is that it doesn’t last very long; you usually only experience it when changing positions. Other types of pain may be longer in duration and should you experience them; you should consult with your doctor.

17. Heavy Workouts

And not just heavy workout, there is also sudden twisting or bending motion, intense stretching, weight lifting or any other strenuous activity. They can all cause pain around the belly button.

Here you can use your common sense and “feel” to determine if the injury is severe enough to call your doctor or is it something minor that just requires rest.


Last updated: May 26, 2018 at 7:56 am
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Last updated: May 26, 2018 at 7:56 am