woman holding lower abdomen due to pain

Belly Button Pain: What Causes It And When To Seek Help

November 29, 2019

Have you ever had belly button pain? This is a body part we don’t really think about much. Yes, it’s how we started our life in the real world. Also, at some point, we realized ours was an “innie” or “outie.” We usually think of stomach pain as related to the general stomach area. That can include a stomach-ache after eating too much food, pregnancy, and other causes. However, sometimes there’s also pain that’s specific to the belly button. That includes basic ones like constipation, indigestion, and pregnancy. These conditions can cause some pain in the small area. However, the pain is relatively easy to deal with.

There are also some more serious conditions that can cause even more pain in the belly button. These include conditions that affect other body parts like the pancreas, appendix, and small intestines. It’s a different story when you’re dealing with body parts that can cause long-term symptoms. Other causes can include post-surgery pain and different infections. In fact, there are so many causes it’s important for your doctor to help figure out what the cause is. This can be done through examinations and tests. Afterward, you can get the treatment you need to help your tummy feel better.


What’s Belly Button Pain?

The belly button is a small body part that can cause big pain. In fact, it can cause pain ranging from mild to sharp. Sometimes it’s continuous and other times come and goes. The pain can also be local or expand to other body parts.

It’s important to find the actual cause of the pain. In some situations, the pain will go away quickly with treatments. These treatments can be very basic or include prescription meds. Sometimes even surgery is needed to get rid of pain in the belly button.

Doctors can help to figure out the cause of the pain. That can be based on different factors like the kind of pain you experience. For example, sometimes it can be a bloated feeling, while other times it’s a sharp pain.

When you have pain in your belly button it’s important to take note of the kind of pain you experience and how often it happens. That’s because you’ll need to explain to the doctor about the symptoms you’re experiencing. That, in turn, will help your doctor pick the right treatment for you.

There are various symptoms you might experience along with the pain in the belly button. If you experiencing a combination of the two you should contact your doctor immediately or call 911. These are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vomiting w/ blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Pain for 4+ hours


It’s also worth noting there are different kinds of pain. You should know about the general categories including:

  • Pain in the belly button when touched
  • Navel pain & bloating
  • Navel sharp/pulling pain

These are different kinds of pain that have different causes. It’s important to inform your doctor if you experience them to help get a correct diagnosis. Then you can get the treatment you need.


Common causes of belly button pain

Common Causes of Belly Button Pain

Here are some basic causes of pain in your innie or outie:

1. Indigestion

Indigestion is quite common and studies show that 25% of Americans have experienced it at least once. This can cause different kinds of issues like pain, discomfort, and burning. It might happen in the upper abdomen then move down to the area of the belly button.

You can use various medicines like acid blockers and antacids. You can also drink milk since it will also help to neutralize the acid.


2. Constipation

This is a common problem in the digestive system. It’s technically related to how many bowel movements a person has in one week. If you have fewer than the average number then you have constipation.

It’s important to note that short-term constipation isn’t an issue you can treat this condition easily by taking steps like adding more fiber to your diet.

Meanwhile, if you have this problem for 2+ months then it’s an issue. You should contact your doctor so you can get it checked out.


3. Pregnancy

It shouldn’t be a problem if you have mild navel pain during your pregnancy. However, if you experience major and long-term pain/discomfort you should contact a doctor immediately.

Another possible cause of pain in the belly button during pregnancy is a type of hernia. However, this cause is quite rare. It’s usually experienced by pregnant women who are obese or pregnant with multiple babies.

This condition can include various symptoms. They include swelling, bulge, pain, vomiting, and nausea. If you’re experiencing these problems make sure to contact your doctor for a checkup.

These conditions are normal but it doesn’t mean you should ignore the symptoms. When in doubt always get a checkup to find out if you have any major health issues that would cause pain in the belly button.

More Serious Belly Button Pain

There are some other causes of pain in the belly button that are more serious than the basic ones. They include:

Urinary tract infection

This is known as UTI and is more common among women than men. However, anyone can have this condition. It can cause pain in the belly button and abdomen. One of the main symptoms of this condition is bacteria and antibiotics are used to treat it.


This is a painful condition that caused the appendix to be inflamed. In North America, there were nearly 400,000 cases of this condition in 2015. This can become serious. It’s important to treat the condition otherwise it will result in more serious conditions.

Stomach flu

This is caused by eating food/drink that’s contaminated. Another way to get it is through contact with someone who’s infected. This condition has various symptoms including stomach/navel pain and cramping.

Inflamed pancreas

This causes enzymes to move to the pancreas and start attacking it. This can cause different symptoms including pain in the belly button.

Gallbladder stones

These can be quite painful. In fact, one of the first signs is often very strong pain. This pain can exist in the belly button after traveling there from the abdomen.

The only way to treat gallbladder stones is to have surgery to remove the gallbladder. Afterward, the pain will then go away.

Stomach infections

Bacteria can get in the body and sometimes last for several years in the digestive system. This can cause pain in the stomach lining sometimes. These infections can be serious and might increase the risk of stomach cancer. It’s also another cause of pain in the belly button.


This sometimes involves pain/swelling following the surgery. The pain will reduce within time as the body heals and has less pain on the belly button.