What causes belly button discharge? Can surgery, yeast, and bacterial infections, diabetes, or pregnancy cause your navel discharge? Navel discharges which can be clear (or watery), smelly, white, brown, or yellowish in color can be due to a number of causes. Uncover more.
Having a discharge oozing out from your navel, especially if it is smelly, is not only embarrassing but also an indication of a medical condition that might require your attention. Although this problem is more in children or kids, especially newborn babies, there are cases where drainage from the navel in adults occurs too.
So, what are some of the common causes of this problem?
One of the most common causes of discharge from navel is fungal infections. This is worsened by the fact that the “belly button can be a dark moist, warm place, the ideal breeding ground for fungi” [Embarrassingissues.co.uk] especially Candida albicans.
When yeast (especially Candida albicans) overgrowth occurs on your navel, it causes a swollen navel with some discharge i.e. pus-filled blisters, with yellow, white, or dark discharges. Other common symptoms include itchiness, pain, irritation, and tenderness. Redness, bleeding due to scratching does happen and this can give room for a bacterial infection to set in.
Besides perfect navel environment, the use of steroids, some cancer medications, HIV AIDS infection, obesity, antibiotic use, birth control pills, tight fighting clothing, and pregnancy are known to encourage yeast infections not just on the navel but also on other parts of the body.
How to treat or cure yeast infections
Antifungal medications especially cream and powders are often used in case one has a yeast infection on the navel. Furthermore, ensure you keep good navel hygiene and thoroughly dry it after taking a shower, avoid tight-fitting clothes, reduce the use of antibiotics, drink live yogurt, and reduce alcohol and sugar consumption.
Bacteria, just like fungi love moist, dark, and warm places. This can be worsened by sweat and debris being deposited on your navel especially if you have an ‘innie’ kind of a navel and/or you do not clean it well.
When bacteria invade and thrive in your navel, it leads to pus-like greenish, brown, or yellowish smelly discharge from your navel. Bacterial infections are also common after surgery or if you scratch your navel due to fungal infection. This creates open sores leading to not only bleeding but also bacteria entry.
To treat bacterial infections, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics – topical, oral, intramuscular, and intravenous. In addition, proper hygiene – use antibacterial soaps to wash your navel, hand sanitizers, avoid touching your navel with dirty hands, etc. will be helpful.
This refers to an infection of the umbilical stump that commonly affects neonate (newborn babies). This bacterial infection is especially caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus. It causes cellulitis or skin infection with redness, warmth, swelling, and pain.
Other symptoms include “ pus from the umbilical stump, fever, fast heart rate (tachycardia), low blood pressure (hypotension), somnolence, poor feeding, and yellow skin (jaundice)” [Wikipedia.org]
Some people end up with a discharge coming from the belly button after surgery. Especially after tummy tucks, tubal ligation, or surgery on any of the organs in your tummy.
For instance, I have heard of many cases where the patient complains of discharge from navel after laparoscopic surgery. This is not due to the procedure but infections that come due to the surgery.
Immediately after the surgery and up to three weeks, it is normal to have some drainage especially clear odorless discharge from the navel. A little bit of crusting is also ok. However, if you have symptoms such as increasing pain, redness, swelling, chills or fever, see your surgeon immediately.
a). Infected sutures
In some instances, the discharge out will be due to a buried stitch especially if it lasts for longer than two to three weeks, which is the normal healing time. According to Francisco Canales, MD, Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon, “depending on the type of sutures used an infected suture, a “spitting suture” or a suture that should have come out but is still in may be the answer” [Realself.com].
If the discharge is malodorous drainage (a stinky or smelly discharge); it is a likely indication that the retained deep stitch is infected. Using peroxide will help kill bacteria but it slows healing, clean it with mild antibacterial soap and water.
If there is no improvement, see your surgeon for the removal of the retained suture. He/she may also recommend some medication especially antibiotics.
b). Cysts in umbilical track
If you went for a tummy tuck and you tend to have intermittent or very serious, severe, or chronic discharge, a possible cause could be cysts in your umbilical track. “Intermittent and chronic drainage from the belly button area after a tummy tuck indicates that there is a cyst associated with the umbilical track,” Barry L. Eppley
Trapped skin, hair growing tucked skin or both could be causing a cyst and therefore you will have discharge. In the case of hair growing tucked skin, ingrown hair is what could cause this discharge.
c). Infections after surgery
Following a surgical procedure such as tubal ligation, some patient ends up with cud-like smelly white discharge from the belly button. This will often be accompanied by swelling, redness, and abdominal pain. All these are signs of infection after your surgery.
Urachus is the remaining connection channels that exist in embryogenesis (embryo formation and early development) that connect the bladder to your navel. However, after the 12th week of pregnancy, the urachus is sealed off and obliterated. Sometimes, it might persist after birth presenting four problems:
a). Urachal cysts
This occurs when the urachus did not obliterate completely but there is no connection between umbilicus and bladder. This gives cysts a chance to develop. It is often asymptomatic but if infected, it can “cause abdominal pain or could start to leak cloudy or bloody fluid at the umbilicus” [Urology.ucsf.edu]. That is crusty and bloody belly button discharge.
This problem is most common in adults and older children. Besides the visible persistent navel drainage, you might have other symptoms. Such as lower abdominal pain, lump, urinary tract infections, hematuria (bloody urine), or pain when urinating or peeing.
b). Patent urachus
Patent urachus happens when there is a connection between the bladder and umbilicus. This makes patients leak urine from their umbilicus i.e. “patent urachus can cause varying amounts of clear urine to leak at the umbilicus.” [Urology.ucsf.edu]
c). Urachal sinus
Urachal sinus is when your urachus fails to seal close to your umbilicus, leaving cavity from your umbilicus that ends in a part of your urachus known as a sinus. It might show no symptoms or cause abdominal pain and fluid discharge, especially with an infection.
This happens when the urachus fails to seal close the bladder forming a track from your bladder that ends in your diverticulum. It can be without symptoms or at times cause urinary tract infections.
In terms of the prevalence of the above urachus abnormalities, they are not very common. That is they are “very rarely seen in adults because the urachus is normally obliterated in early infancy” [Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov] but does exist.
e). Treatment of urachus abnormalities
Chemical cauterization, drainage, and surgical (where surgeons can opt for laparoscopic excision) intervention are normally required to deal with this problem. The exact procedure will depend on the specific condition.
If a skin infection occurs due to any of the urachus abnormalities i.e. tenderness, fever, and redness that spreads, antibiotic treatment and hospitalization might be necessary.
Diabetic patients may suffer from crusty “discharge resembling a cottage cheese-like substance with a foul odor may come from the navel” [Medguidance.com]. You need to manage diabetes to be able to deal with this cause.
The other common causes of navel discharge are an infected navel piercing, obesity, or internal abscess. Sebaceous cyst and polyps on navel are the rarer possible cause.
We have looked at the common causes of discharge from navel where we said the discharge could be having a foul odor or odorless. Furthermore, we have said the discharge can be white, brown, yellowish, or clear discharge (belly button watery discharge). Let us now evaluate some of the common possible causes of some unique cases.
For the case of one having a smelly discharge, the cause is mainly infections. It is a result of infected sutures, infections after surgeries, internal umbilicus abscess, or infections due to urachus problems.
If you have pus-like yellowish, white, or darker colored belly button smelly discharge accompanied by itchiness, tenderness, pain and redness, blisters, the infection is most likely to be caused by yeast.
On the other hand, a chunky, stinky bellybutton discharge that is yellow, white or brown, (greenish, or grey at times), is most probably you have a bacterial infection.
Having a navel pain and discharge can be due to problems associated with abdominal surgeries, tummy tucks, or having urachus abnormalities especially urachal cysts. A little pain can also be due to the soreness caused by a fungal or bacterial infection.
Bleeding and Bloody
If you have bloody discharge from the navel, probable causes would be urachus cysts. Bleeding can also be due to scratching caused by infections especially yeast infection, bacterial, or both which tends to cause itchiness. Finally, injuries can also be a cause if you are only bleeding or bleeding with a clear discharge.
If the belly button bleeding and discharge is so much, consider seeing your doctor. For further help since it could be something else causing the bleeding.
In Baby, children & newborn
Newborn and baby belly button discharge could be due to a number of reasons. The common ones being urachus abnormalities i.e. “in newborns and infants, persistent drainage or “wetness” of the bellybutton can be a sign of a urachal problem” [Urologyhealth.org], bacterial such as Omphalitis or yeast infections.
If the umbilicus has recently been cut for newborns, a little clear discharge and crusting is a normal part of the healing process and it should not worry you.
A clear discharge is normal healing of your navel after surgery, piercing, or injury. Furthermore, having patent urachus can result in this problem where the clear fluid oozing out is urine.
Most women complain about bellybutton discharge during pregnancy. Having asymptomatic urachus abnormalities may show symptoms during pregnancy. Also, pregnancy may increase the chances of one having a yeast infection, there is no other reason for navel discharge during pregnancy.
In responding to this question “ok I am pregnant and I felt my belly button. It was moist and there was the white discharge that came out. Is there something wrong with my pregnancy or baby?” [Healthtap.com]. There is no direct connection between pregnancy and the problem.
What to do
Having a bellybutton odor and discharge often pushes many people to try virtually anything to get rid of this problem.
However, no matter how desperate you feel, avoid scratching or picking it, over-cleaning. Especially trying to turn it inside out, using an antiseptic on your navel or add some in your bath water or applying OTC creams.
Clean wit with saline solution to clean your navel and dry it well. If you do not notice any change after a few days, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Except for pregnancy, which only increases the risk of one getting yeast infections, there are no gender-specific causes of navel discharges. Most of these causes can result in discharge from the navel in female and male
The umbilicus, also known as the navel, belly button, or tummy button is a constant reminder of the connection we once had with our mothers. It is a hollow or raised site where the umbilical cord was attached to the placenta.
Some men and women also find it sexy. Most ladies have pierced theirs, and they adorn it with different kinds of rings. For me, it is always a sight to behold whenever I see a beautiful pierced navel. But when it begins to be oozing, it can make the naval region an unsightly area.
Smelly discharge – white, yellow or green
Being in a warm and moist area, one can become susceptible to many bacterial and fungal infections. This can cause discharge that can at times have a foul odor. Besides infections, there are many other problems that can cause navel discharge.
The belly button discharge could be bloody, white, greenish, brownish, yellow, or at times clear. The specific color will depend on the actual cause. As we look at the causes, we will discuss more on the kind of discharge you may end up with. It is normal to experience some pain in the affected area and in severe cases, you might have pain under your belly button.
The following are some of the reasons why you could be experiencing discharge from your belly button:
1. Bacterial infections
If there is a pus discharge from your umbilicus, then you probably have a bacterial infection.
An infection caused by bacteria is often because of poor hygiene. If you don’t clean sweat, dust, and any foreign components from your navel, then you are on the road to getting a smelly navel infection which will be characterized by belly button leaking.
Bacterial infections often result in green and yellow discharges and can also cause pain and sores around or near your tummy button.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection that can affect this region. Candida loves warm and damp areas like the navel cavity. The infection is characterized by red itchy sores around this area. Candida infections are triggered by several things among them a low immune system and the use of certain antibiotic drugs.
3. Infected belly button piercing
Navel piercing is a very popular form of body art. What most people don’t understand is that the piercing should be performed by a professional in a clean environment. Unhygienic conditions and the use of the wrong needle can lead to infections.
Also, poor aftercare or general lack of knowledge on the proper way of cleaning the piercing is also among the leading causes of fungal and bacterial infections near your piercing.
Piercing infection symptoms may include a smelly yellow, green, or brown discharge. The pierced site or hole may also enlarge, and one may end up with a sharp stomach pain under the belly button for serious infection. You may also have an inflamed navel due to an infected piercing in this area.
In extreme cases, you may experience chills, dizziness, and an upset in your stomach.
4. Urachal cyst
The urachal is a small duct that connects the fetus’s bladder to the umbilical cord. This tube is used to drain urine from the baby while in the womb. It usually closes before birth, but sometimes it doesn’t. It can, therefore, become infected leading to belly button cysts.
These cysts are characterized by a sharp pain under the belly button and fever. If it raptures, urachal can cause persistent weeping of the navel. In rare cases, mucus and urine can also leak from this opening causing the presence of fluids around the umbilicus.
5. Umbilical hernia surgery
An umbilical hernia is a state when the umbilicus is protruding to the outside of the body due to the weaknesses of the abdominal muscles around it. In such cases, an umbilical hernia repair can be done to push back it and strengthen the abdominal walls.
Some patients who have undergone this operation have complained about blood discharge in the belly button after the surgery. Some patients said they could see dark or black stuff in their umbilicus some two weeks after the surgery. Medics say that pain around the naval area after hernia surgery is normal.
Patients should take good care of their wounds after the surgery to avoid infections after surgery.
People with poorly treated or controlled diabetes are at a higher risk of severe yeast infections. This is because yeast feeds on sugar and higher blood sugar means higher food for yeast infections. Yeast is responsible for infections such as candidiasis which cause navel infections in adults or children with this condition.
7. General poor hygiene
When you don’t practice good general hygiene, you may develop naval stones. Naval stones are masses made of Keratin and sebum deposition that oxides into a solid black accretion. When these stones become infected, they can lead to sore navel and ooze.
Belly button wax is also a discharge associated with people who don’t clean their navel or those who don’t do it more frequently.
8. Injury – clear discharge
Injury especially if it damages the skin layer can cause the belly button oozing clear liquid especially after you have been injured. However, this should stop once a scab has been formed.
Belly button discharge in children, babies, and newborns
The inflammation of the umbilical cord in newborns is referred to as omphalitis of newborns and is often associated with a bacterial infection. After the baby’s birth, the umbilical cord is cut leaving a wound that takes some time to heal. This wound can get an umbilical infection if not given proper care before healing.
The newborn baby’s navel will swell and turn reddish if infected. You may also see a discharge of pus from the umbilical stump. If not treated, Omphalitis can progress into Sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its tissues and organs.
Belly button discharge during pregnancy
In rare cases, a pregnancy can increase the chances of getting yeast infections, and that is how pregnant women end up experiencing some discharge and pain. Medics are still studying the relationship between navel discharge and pregnancy. But for now, there is no reason that explains this occurrence.
Dr. Jeff Livingston, Obstetrics & Gynecology while answering a related question on healthtap.com says that there is no direct relationship between navel discharge and pregnancy.
Treatment for belly button discharge is dependent on what is causing the discharge.
Treatment for a candida
Navel fungus can cause clear and sticky or yellow discharge or pus from depending on severity. It can also cause pain in this area. You expect to have a red itchy belly button if you have a fungal infection. Here are some ways you can get rid of the fungal infection.
- Practice good hygiene – Good hygiene is essential if you want to get rid of a yeast infected belly button. Keeping the area clean and dry should be your priority. Wash the area with mild soap and pat it dry to keep infections at bay.
- Avoid tight clothes – tight clothes will aggravate the infection and make the area intolerable. Tight clothes can also accumulate sweat and dirt in the infection area and worsen the infection. An inflamed tummy button needs you to wear cotton clothing that absorbs sweat.
- Cut off on sugary foods- yeast feeds on sugar and therefore eating sugary foods will aggravate the fungal infection. Avoid foods that are high in sugar for faster healing. Diabetic patients should also know how to manage their condition to avoid getting fungal infections.
- If the above remedies don’t see a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics.
Treatment for urachal cysts
The treatment of Urachal cysts involves the primary excision of the cyst. There are also some concerns about urachal cysts becoming cancerous. In this case, surgery is recommended to remove the cysts. You can discuss all the viable options for you in case you have the cysts.
Treatment infected piercing
You need to know the proper piercing care to avoid infections and pain around the belly button. But if you already have an infection, then the quickest way to heal is to wash it with salty water (saline solution). Gently swab the piercing site with salty water and leave it in place for 10 minutes before rinsing it clean.
While in the shower, wash your piercing with antibacterial soap to avoid any infection.
Medics have warned against using hydrogen peroxide on an infected piercing because this can dry out the area and worsen the situation.
You can avoid pain below the belly button due to an infected piercing if you get a professional do the piercing for you. The professional will use sterile piercers and will also perform the operation in a clean environment.
When to see a doctor
Whether your navel is oozing clear or colored discharge or if you are constantly asking yourself the question ‘why my belly button is wet and smelly?’ you need to see a doctor immediately because all these are signs of infection; an infection whose because you probably don’t know.
Yellow Mucus Discharge Causes and Treatments
We all know the normal color of mucus. What if one day you cough yellow mucus or snot? This can be a bit worrying. Is it an indication of a serious health problem? This is not always the case.
Yellow snot maybe because of irritation or allergic reaction. Some foods you took or exposure to dust and other chemicals might adversely react with your sinuses. Do you know what the sinuses are? These are air spaces located in your facial bones and some of them extend to the skull.
They are the main components of the upper respiratory system. In some cases, foods and dust may irritate the sinuses. Furthermore, some bacteria and viruses might also attack them. In addition, exposure to some drugs and sprays may also worsen the condition.
Any infection or allergic reaction to the sinuses might be characterized by the production of yellow mucus discharge. In this case, the discharge that you are noting might be because of a sinus infection.
Sinus and mucus production?
Mucus production is not only normal but also a continuous process that occurs in your body without your knowledge. This mucus is commonly known as sinus mucus or snot. It flows from the sinuses down to the nasal cavities.
Usually, the production of snot by sinuses is average in quantity. Therefore, excess production means that all is not well. Furthermore, change in color is also a sign that our sinuses are not functioning well. For example, when one is having a cold or flu, then the production of mucus is exaggerated.
What does yellow mucus tell you?
You may have heard people complain of yellow-green mucus coming from the nasal cavity. Others complain of coughing up yellow-green mucus. What does this tell you?
According to many sources, thick yellow mucus may signify a few health conditions. The most common ones are:
- Sinus infection
- Nasal polyps
- Cold or flu
- Candida albicans occasionally
- Allergy reaction
- Air dryness
You should always note that different colors of your snot mean different things. Do you know what different colors mean? You deserve to know that snot may take various colors such as yellow, clear, white, blood, green, and brown.
The meaning of each of the above colors is as follows:
- Clear sinus mucus – When the color is clear, then, you have nothing to worry about. This is the normal color. It is continuously produced to aid in the breathing system.
- Blood or pink sinus mucus – Red signifies danger. Blood in your snot signifies a serious infection. You should, therefore, seek prompt medical help.
- Yellow or dark yellow sinus mucus – In most cases, your snot appears dark yellow in color. Without any doubt, it signifies an infection or an allergic reaction. Alongside, the dark yellow color, you may also note some sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest discomfort among other symptoms.
- Green mucus – If it turns green, then this indicates a problem in the respiratory system. For example, it could be bronchitis. Alongside the green secretion, you may also witness some fever and pain in the chest region. Seek medical help in case of this.
Is it a bacterial infection?
Are you coughing up yellow snot? This might be an indication that you are having a bacterial infection. These mucus color following bacterial infections comes along with other symptoms.
Some of the symptoms to note include:
- Bad breath
- Sinus pressure
- Pain all over the body
- Excessive sinus drainage
- Nasal congestion
- Pain in the forehead
Snot can either be light or dark yellow. While light isn’t that serious, dark yellow one means more than mucus. Any bacterial infection in the respiratory system may cause this color of snot.
For instance, having sinusitis can cause a yellow snot. How? This is a sinus that occurs when the tissues lining the sinuses get inflamed. The sinuses, in this case, get filled with fluid. The condition is attributed to various factors such as common cold, bacterial infection, allergic rhinitis, deviated septum, and nasal polys among other factors.
If the sinuses are attacked by bacteria, then you are likely to see this color of snot. Commonly, other symptoms may be witnessed alongside the production of thick yellow mucus.
- Severe coughing, especially at night
- Difficulty in breathing due to nasal congestion
- Extreme fatigue
- Reduced sense of smell
- Pressure and swelling in the forehead and eyes
- A sore throat
- A headache
- Upper jaw and tech ache
Before seeking treatment, it is advisable to understand why you are having yellow mucus discharge from the nose. According to Mysinustory.com, this discharge is attributed to the following risk factors:
- Allergies – There are many things that can irritate the sinus and nasal cavities. One such things is dust. When you are exposed to dust, the sinus cavity gets irritated and it produces a snot that may be yellow in color.
- Smoking – People who excessively smoke can have their sinus infected. As a result, their mucus may turn yellow.
- Sinus pressure – This is caused by congestion of the sinus cavity. As a result, air cannot flow freely. This results in the accumulation of pressure, commonly known as sinus pressure.
- Foods you eat – Some foods eaten lead to excessive production of phlegm and mucus. As a result of this excessive drainage, there is sinus pressure. One, therefore, produces yellowish mucus.
- Inhaling dry air – When you inhale dry air, nasal cavity membranes also get dehydrated. As they try to hydrate, they produce this color of snot.
- Bacterial infection – We have already talked about sinusitis. This, among other conditions, is attributed to bacterial infections. When sinuses are attacked by viruses and bacteria, the irritation, you can have a yellow
- Cold or Flu – Cold that prolongs for weeks may also irritate the nasal cavities. As a result, they produce dark yellow mucus.
Why am I coughing up yellow mucus?
Some people cough yellow mucus with blood. This can be an indication that you are having bronchitis. If this is so, then you are likely to see other accompanying symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling tired, chest discomfort, and fever.
This condition comes along with a persistent cough. Anyone with this condition is always coughing up a yellowish snot. People who smoke are at a higher risk of getting bronchitis. One also feels a strong urge to clear the throat every now and then. This feeling may continue for months.
How do you deal with yellow mucus?
Understanding everything about sinuses and yellow mucus is essential. This is the first step towards treating the condition. According to zocdoc.com, sinus problems and a yellow snot area manageable condition.
The following factors are paramount in getting relief for the yellow snot.
- Boost your immunity – Respiratory infections are closely related to a compromised immune system. In this regard, boosting your immunity is essential in fighting this condition. This can be achieved through healthy eating.
- Avoid some foods and drinks – It is evident, according to past research, that some foods increase sinus drainage. Therefore, avoiding some foods and drinks would play a significant role in providing relief to this condition.
- Know your allergies – Here, you need to know what might be irritating your sinuses cavity. This could be dust or even fumes. Keeping off such irritants would help in healing this condition.
- Don’t smoke – Smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor as already seen. If you are having this condition, then quitting smoking is inevitable.
- Seek medical help – In cases of chronic yellow mucus, home remedies may not help you much. Therefore, you may seek help from an ENT specialist.
- Drink a lot of water– This is an effective way of preventing yellowing of your snot. Water, however, should not be supplemented with cold drinks.