Sore Belly Button

Navel Navigation: Understanding a Sore Belly Button

At some point in life it is likely that we have all pondered the question of what exactly a belly button is and what purpose it serves.   While the answer to that query is relatively simple, those who suffer from a sore belly button often wonder why the body marking can become painful.  To help clarify these matters we will investigate why we have belly buttons and why they can become tender.



What is the belly button?

Every human has one shortly after birth, but what on Earth is it?  Often referred to as the navel, the umbilicus or belly button is the scarred remnant of our time in the womb.  Our belly buttons are scars left behind after the umbilical cord has been severed.

Why do we need a belly button?

As the belly button is only a scar, we really have no use for the marking.  However, during the nine months inside the womb, our umbilical cords attached from the placenta to the center of our abdomens and gave us life.  Filled with nutrients and oxygen, the umbilical cord provided sustenance and also made way for used up nutrients to leave the placenta.

If the belly button is a scar, why does it hurt sometimes?

Strangely, there are times when pain or tenderness presents themselves in or around the navel.  While many minor aches may be insignificant, it is important to understand that pain associated with the belly button and abdomen may be a sign of serious health implications.  Below is a non-exhaustive list of some common causes for a sore belly button, but this list should not be substituted for the professional care of a physician.


Most often caused from improper hygiene or failure to adequately care for piercings, belly button infections can become serious if not taken care of.  Pain and foul odor can frequently be signs of illness and should be addressed before the issue advances to blood poisoning.


Due to a woman’s expanding uterus and increased pressure against the abdominal wall, belly button soreness is not an unusual complaint during pregnancy.  In most cases, pain and tenderness are quick to subside soon after giving birth, but in other situations an umbilical hernia may be the cause.  Of course, speaking with your obstetrician is best if you are experiencing any type of abdominal pain during your pregnancy.


While the two do not always go hand in hand, many women who are experiencing cramping and pain due to menstrual periods or from endometriosis may feel pain or burning near the navel.


Pests such as ticks can sometimes burrow into the belly button and remain unnoticed for some time.  In these cases, patients will typically feel some type of pinching, burning, or itching inside the naval.  Once located, ticks should be removed carefully with tweezers and the bitten area should be watched closely for infection, redness, and Lyme disease.


Appendicitis can be a life threatening situation if left untreated.  Most often, patients who are suffering from appendix inflammation will begin to feel a stabbing pain located around the belly button.  Soon after initial onset, patients will experience nausea, vomiting, pain that radiates from the navel to the lower right side of the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, and fever.  In the event that you or someone you know begins to exhibit these symptoms, seek emergency help right away.

Final Thoughts

Any pain experienced in or around the abdominal area can be a serious concern.  If you are experiencing tenderness, soreness, or swelling near your navel, please seek the advice of your physician as soon as possible.  As with any health condition, early detection and treatment can save you life.