12 Reasons Why Your Belly Button Pain Hurts?

Belly button pain treatment
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mehvish Khan

Overview

Belly button pain can occur due to many underlying conditions, including an infection, an umbilical hernia, indigestion, constipation, or pregnancy. A doctor can help diagnose and treat these underlying issues.

Pain around the belly button can also be felt due to pain radiating from other areas or conditions of the abdomen. This particular type of pain can be due to pancreatitis or cholecystitis. Pain can vary in intensity and is often described as cramping or a sharp, persistent pain. Other symptoms may accompany it, including sweating, vomiting, or pallor. 

Other symptoms can accompany pain around the belly button. Hence, it must be assessed by a family doctor or gastroenterologist so that the proper treatment can be provided after a diagnosis.

In this article, you will find out why my belly button hurts, its association with medical conditions, and the best ways to eliminate it.

Common Symptoms Associated With Pain Around The Belly Button

Besides pain, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Change in appetite
  • Pain that migrates to the lower right abdomen
  • Bloating 
  • Difficulty passing gas
  • Pain that worsens with movement 

12 Possible Causes of Pain Around Belly Button

Indigestion

Indigestion is a common cause of belly button pain. It often triggers after eating something. This is also termed dyspepsia. The burning pain occurs in the region between the breastbone and near the belly button.

Some causes of indigestion include:

  • Eating spicy, acidic, fatty, or greasy foods
  • Drinking too much alcohol 
  • Consuming caffeine
  • Drinking too many carbonated drinks
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antibiotics

Over-the-counter antacids such as aluminum hydroxide(Mylanta), calcium carbonate(Tums), and H2 blockers such as Famotidine can help treat indigestion.

Constipation

Constipation is a reduced frequency of bowel movements. If you pass a stool less than 2-3 times per week, you may be experiencing constipation, which can result in sudden and sharp pain behind the belly button or in the lower abdomen. Some causes of constipation include:

  • Eating less fiber
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Ignoring the urge to pass stools
  • Lack of hydration 
  • Side effects of medications
  • Various medical conditions

Consuming more fiber and staying hydrated can relieve the pain below the belly button due to constipation. In addition, laxatives and stool softeners can provide temporary relief. 

Gastroenteritis

Another reason why your belly button hurts after a takeout is because you probably caught the stomach bug. 

A virus, usually norovirus, or bacteria, including E. coli or salmonella, commonly found in contaminated or undercooked food, can cause gastroenteritis.  

Gastroenteritis or stomach flu can lead to sharp pulling pain in the belly button or abdominal cramping that comes in waves. The pain is typically accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Gastroenteritis usually resolves on its own in several days to a week. The treatment manages the symptoms and prevents dehydration. 

Hernia

If you feel a bulge and think, ‘Why does my belly button hurt when I stretch? You may have fallen prey to an umbilical hernia. A hernia is a bulge through a muscle weakness. The types that involve the abdominal wall are known as ventral hernias, and those that occur under the belly button are called umbilical hernias. Hernia can cause a bump around the navel that can cause discomfort, pressure, or a pulling sensation that may radiate from the belly button to the lower abdomen. In addition, belly button pain can exacerbate when stretching, coughing, or stretching. Surgery can repair hernias.

Stomach Ulcer

A peptic ulcer is an open sore formed due to inflammation in the stomach lining. Bacteria H. pylori cause this chronic inflammation, which damages the stomach lining. Consequently, an ulcer may develop, causing pain in the area around the belly button. The symptoms commonly experienced include nausea, heartburn, and bloating. 

Smoking, drinking alcohol, stress, and spicy foods may aggravate ulcers. The pain associated with ulcers can worsen between meals or at night. Antacids cause temporary relief. Severe cases can present as blood in the vomit or stools.

Untreated ulcers may bleed and cause anemia or perforation in the stomach. 

Physicians perform a physical examination of breath and stool for H. pylori for proper diagnosis. In some cases, doctors also perform Endoscopy for correct diagnosis. To further manage the condition, doctors suggest antibiotics to kill the bacteria and prescribe medication that regulates excess acid to help heal the stomach.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix. The appendix can swell and becomes filled with pus in case of inflammation.

Initially, it starts as a dull pain around the belly button. After that, the person can feel the pain from the belly button to the groin, which can become severe, like a stabbing pain in the belly button or abdomen.

An individual may experience other symptoms such as a fever, nausea, gas, vomiting, indigestion, loss of appetite, constipation, or diarrhoea.

Appendicitis usually requires emergency treatment. If left untreated, the appendix can spontaneously rupture, resulting in life-threatening complications.

Gallstones

The gallbladder is a tiny organ that secretes and stores bile and is located next to the liver and near the upper portion of the small intestine. 

Gallstones are deposits of calcium that can block ducts of the gallbladder. Gallstone pain occurs in the upper-right portion of the abdomen. The pain is extremely sharp and stabbing, usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. It can last minutes to hours and radiate to the back or right shoulder. 

Most gallstones pass naturally into the intestine for removal in feces. However, doctors perform surgery to remove larger gallstones.

If you have any questions, like why my belly button hurts when I touch it, it is wise to consult with a health care provider to find out the cause.

Pregnancy

A sharp pain in the belly button while pregnant is a common complaint. Pregnancy causes abdominal pain as the baby grows inside the womb. During the second trimester, the sharp pain in the belly button while pregnant is due to the round ligament stretching. The pain can worsen while coughing, laughing, or during sudden movements. You should notify your doctor if you have severe pain in your belly button during early pregnancy.

Crohn’s Disease

It is a chronic condition leading to inflammation in the small and large intestines. Crohn’s disease can lead to abdominal cramping, and the pain can be mild or severe. Stabbing pain in the belly button can occur in waves during a flare-up. It can be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, blood in the stool, weight loss, and fatigue. In Crohn’s disease, doctors recommend medications, including steroids and biologics. Stress reduction and dietary changes are also vital in managing the disease or surgery in some cases.

Pancreatitis

The pancreas is present just below and behind the stomach, and the organ produces digestive enzymes and insulin. Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas.

Causes of pancreatitis include:

  • Abdominal injury or surgery
  • Infections such as mumps or viral hepatitis
  • Gallstones 
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High triglycerides in the blood
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Medications such as estrogen and thiazide diuretics
  • A pancreatic tumor

The pain is often severe and felt around the middle abdomen. The pain generally radiates to the back. Other symptoms that accompany the pain include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and bloating. The treatment is based mainly on the underlying cause.

Bowel Obstruction

Another cause of periumbilical pain is intestinal obstruction. A bowel obstruction is the blockage of the intestines that blocks the passage of the stool. A person experiences intense pain from the belly button to the lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

Bowel obstruction causes include:

  • Impacted stool
  • Hernias
  • Diverticular disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Adhesions 
  • Colon cancer

A bowel obstruction typically requires immediate emergency care. Medications and procedures may help clear the block, but sometimes surgery is necessary. 

Diverticulitis

The passage of food through the colon may be sluggish, stagnate, or increase in bulk, and the resulting pressure can cause pouches to form in the walls of the large intestine, also called diverticula. Diverticulitis causes in the case by inflammation of these pouches.

Risk factors include consuming a low-fiber diet, smoking, being obese, or having chronic constipation. In addition, patients who are over 50 and have a history of inflammatory disease of the colon are more at risk. The common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation, sometimes alternating with diarrhoea

Untreated diverticulitis may lead to intestinal blockage and scarring. The rupture of a pouch can lead to peritonitis. All these require an emergency visit and medical care. 

Less severe cases require management with a high-fiber diet, fluids, probiotics, and antibiotics. Severe cases need intravenous antibiotics and surgery.

Do you have heartburn or indigestion? Consult with our online doctor for treatment

Other Possible Causes of Belly Button Pain 

Additionally, belly button pain or pain around the belly button can also be caused by:

  • Gastric ulcers: These can cause inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • Urinary tract infections: UTIs can cause lower abdominal pain due to the irritation of the nerves near the belly button. 
  • Parasitic infestation: can cause distension and belly button pain.
  • Abdominal tumors: can compress organs in the area and lead to periumbilical pain.
  • Direct trauma or infection: This can cause inflammation in the abdominal muscles.

How Can I Stop Belly Button Pain?

The treatment for the periumbilical pain depends on the cause. Following are some treatment options:

  • Antibiotics: You may be prescribed antibiotics that rid the body of harmful bacteria.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: If an autoimmune condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease, is causing your symptoms, you will be prescribed anti-inflammatories and other medicines. 
  • Bowel rest: In case of obstructive or infectious causes, consuming a lighter diet helps your digestive system to recover. 
  • Surgery: For conditions such as appendicitis, surgery is the first-line treatment.
Do you have constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or stomach ache? Consult with our online doctor for diagnosis and treatment

When to Consult a Doctor

There are multiple causes for belly button pain. It is best to let your doctor figure out why your belly button hurts to touch or if you have pain around your belly button associated with other symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, etc. If you are experiencing persistent pain and need to chat with a doctor, you should contact our online doctor at Your Doctors Online.

Has belly button pain been bothering you? Consult with our doctor to determine the cause and start treatment!

FAQs About Belly Button Pain Answered by Your Doctors Online Team

Why does belly button pain become severe during pregnancy?

This may also occur during pregnancy due to changes in hormones and abdominal muscles. You should consult a doctor if you experience severe or ongoing discomfort or pain.

Is belly button pain severe in toddlers?

Toddlers usually do not experience severe belly button pain. However, if his pain moves to the lower right side and is accompanied by fever, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea, it can be appendicitis.

What organ is behind your belly button?

Parts of your stomach, small and large intestines, and the pancreas are located behind the belly button or the umbilical region.

Why does my belly button hurt when pressed?

Any problem that affects your stomach, small and large intestine, or pancreas can cause pain in this region. In addition, local infection of the skin or overlying areas can cause pain as well. 

How long does belly button pain last?

Belly button pain can last a few days or more, depending on the underlying cause. Other symptoms can accompany the pain and can vary in intensity. The pain can occur on and off and can be continuous.

Should I go to the ER for belly button pain?

If you are experiencing any of the following along with belly button pain, it is best to see a doctor:
Uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
Vomit or stools with blood
Feeling dizzy or faint
Vaginal bleeding
Fever

Can stress cause my belly button to hurt?

Stress and anxiety can worsen or cause GI symptoms. For example, it can lead to stomach cramping and ache. 

What is a differential diagnosis for umbilical region pain?

The following conditions can cause periumbilical or umbilical pain:
Indigestion
Constipation
Pancreatitis
Gallstones
Pregnancy
Stomach ulcer 

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

Get started today

Talk to online doctors now and get medical advice, online prescriptions, and referrals within minutes. On-demand healthcare services at your fingertips.

talk to online doctor 24/7 free