Smelly Belly Button, Discharge, Itchy, How to Clean & Treatment

Belly button care is one subject that is rarely ever discussed, despite the fact that it is quite important. Although the belly button is located near the belly, many people—babies and adults alike rarely clean it when they are bathing.

This piece discusses smelly belly button, what causes of the smell, how to clean, treat and prevent it.

The following are some fast facts on the smell from a belly button:

  • It is possible to get a fungal infection if you allow the bacteria in the belly button to continue multiplying
  • You have to clean the skin in your belly button often to ensure that it remains healthy
  • Some of the risk factors for this smell include poor hygiene practices

Why does my belly button smell?- Causes in Babies and Adults

Your belly button happens to be home to all kinds of bacteria and is easily overlooked when one is cleaning the body. Although the bacteria tend to be harmless, it can easily be overlooked, causing it to multiply and cause an infection.

The navel or belly button can be found on a dip that is present at the middle of the belly. It is used to mark the region where you were attached to the womb using the umbilical cord.

The belly buttons come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and can easily be infected if proper hygiene is not practiced.

smelly belly button, discharge, itchy how to clean and treat
Belly button

Many people have indented belly buttons which tend to act as a trap for dirt, dead skin, and sweat. There are not many people who use soap to clean this area, making it possible for germs to multiply.

As noted above, poor hygiene is the most common cause for this smell. You need to wash all the areas of your body to ensure that they remain healthy and clean always.

Your skin has various folds which make it possible for bacteria to grow uninterrupted. In many cases, you will find that these bacteria will remain in low levels and will, therefore, not be a source for the smell.

However, when the bacteria are allowed to become too dense, it will start producing a smell that is offensive or unpleasant.

It is always essential to ensure that all infections are checked by a doctor. Apart from hygiene other common causes include:

1.    After laparoscopy

A laparoscopy is an example of an abdominal surgery, with others being tubal ligation and tummy tucks. Many women have been known to complain of having smelly belly buttons after undergoing this kind of surgery. In a laparoscopy, the surgeon gets to examine the organs that are inside a tummy.

One of the most common complications with this type of surgeries happens to be an infection. If it is to occur, the infection will take place within the first thirty days after having this surgery performed. According to Mayo Clinic, this infection is caused by the bacteria that maybe residing on the patient’s skin. The bacteria can start spreading towards the surgical wound, leading to an infection.

2.    Infected belly button piercings

It normally takes a few months before a belly button can heal properly. During this period, one is at an increased risk of getting an allergic reaction or becoming infected. To know whether your belly button has been infected, look for the following signs:

  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Skin discoloration
  • Persistent pain
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Greenish or yellowish discharges with a foul smell

3.    Skin diseases

Psoriasis is one of the various skin diseases known to cause a smelly belly button. Traditionally, the skin cells will die, start peeling off, and then be replaced by entirely new cells after a couple of weeks have passed by.

But when it comes to psoriasis, your immune system will not only destroy all your normal skin cells, but it will also start producing large amounts of the cytokine protein.

This protein will cause the appearance of red and silvered colored itchy skin scales that cover your belly button, elbows, scalp, hands, back, and feet. Hot weather and obesity are some of the factors that have been known to worsen this condition. Normally, they can cause you to have a secondary infection.

In its most severe form, the belly button may start to crack, at which point it will not only start bleeding, but it will also have a very bad smell.

Black smelly stuff

In most instances, there will be no need for you to get concerned if you notice that you have a smelly belly button. It is normal for the belly button to smell every once in a while if you have not been practicing proper hygiene, according to Health line.

The site goes on to note that germs, bacteria, and dirt could start collecting in this hollow area when you fail to take proper care of it. But there are instances where this foul smell may be caused by much more than poor hygiene. It may mean that there is a serious underlying cause that must be looked into, e.g., a cyst or an infection.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, ensure you consult your physician as soon as possible:

  • Bruise or lump in your belly button
  • Discharge, e.g., green, yellow, or white
  • Fever
  • Redness or swelling
  • Lump in that area
  • Itching or pain

Belly button itchy and smelly

How many people actually pay attention to their belly buttons? Not many do, unless of course it has become infected or it has a piercing. Ignorance is what makes people fail to clean their belly buttons leading to a very smelly navel.

Some of the factors that lead to a smelly, and itchy belly button include:

1.    Urachal Cyst

It normally occurs when one fails to clean their belly buttons regularly and properly. If not properly taken care of, this cyst will normally leave behind a pus abscess. It is also accompanied by a rise in your body temperature and pain in the abdomen. It may come a time where it will burst from the inside, which will lead to a fluid oozing out. The fluid tends to be very smelly.

2.    Fungal infection

This is another cause for a smelly belly button. It is normally characterized by pain and itching in the abdomen. You may also experience a burning sensation.

3.    Diabetes

Diabetes can also be the reason why you have an infection. When you have diabetes, you will most likely start to notice the appearance of a cottage cheese like discharge in your navel region. Additionally, the condition will make it very difficult for your navel to heal the way it should.

4.    Sebaceous cyst

It is not as serious as the other causes discussed above. You can, however, expect to note a smelly discharge which is mainly caused by itching or an abrasion that has occurred in that area.

Smelly discharge from belly button

When a woman is pregnant, her body will normally go through a number of hormonal changes. For example, her body temperature may rise which will lead to excess sweating.

Other factors that could cause this include medicine and dietary needs. If the woman fails to observe the recommended hygiene practices, she may find herself dealing with a serious body odor emanating from the belly button area.

There are instances where the smelly belly button could be used to communicate particular signs related to the pregnancy, e.g., patent urachus.

This is a term used to describe the tube connecting the urinary bladder to the belly button. If this tube fails a few days or weeks after a woman has given birth, urine may start to leak outside via the belly button, which will lead to the bad odor.

Blood, Liquid and Yellowish Discharge

The belly button or navel is a region where germs can easily be trapped allowing them to multiply. When there are too many germs in the belly button, one is likely to become infected, and this may cause the body to start discharging its contents via the skin.

The discharge being made via your belly button is likely have different colors, and will most likely have a very foul smell.

Important facts on belly button discharge include:

  • Infections are the leading cause of a belly button discharge
  • Another cause is cyst
  • You could be at risk of getting this kind of surgery if you recently underwent abdominal surgery
  • For belly button discharge to be understood, one must start by looking at its cause

How to Clean Smelly Belly Button

You can follow this procedure to clean your belly button at home:

  • Use warm water to wash the belly button
  • Apply some soap or body wash
  • Use a clean towel to rub in both directions (clockwise and anticlockwise)
  • Use the tip of the towel to dig in to the belly button for a minute or two
  • Use clean water to rinse the area
how to clean belly button


You need to make sure that the navel remains clean so as to promote healing. If the infection has been caused by a bacterial infection, it is recommended that you use antibiotic creams or ointments. You can also treat the yeast or fungal infections using antifungal creams or powders.

These are treatments that can ordinarily be purchased over the counter, though there are some medications that may require a prescription from your physician.

If you have diabetes, you should aim to control your blood sugar levels. Also, ensure that you follow the instructions provided by your physician to make sure that you do not end up with this problem.

How stop Prevent

You can prevent the foul smell from the belly button by observing some tips, e.g.,

  • Clean your belly button daily using warm water and soap
  • Do not scratch or pick the navel area
  • Ensure that you properly dry your navel region after taking a shower
  • Try and remove the built up lint or soap scum as often as possible
  • Try and avoid wearing clothes that are too tight
  • If you have a belly button piercing, make sure that you clean it as often as you can


  • Hulcr, J., Latimer, A. M., Henley, J. B., Rountree, N. R., Fierer, N., Lucky, A., … Dunn, R. R. (2012, November 7). A jungle in there: Bacteria in belly buttons are highly diverse, but predictable. PLoS One7, (11), e47712. Retrieved from
  • Kabir, M. A., Hussain, M. A., & Ahmad, Z. (2012, September 29). Candida albicans: A model organism for studying fungal pathogens. ISRN Microbiology2012, 538694. Retrieved from
  • Kaya, S., Bacanakgıl, B. H., Soyman, Z., Kerımova, R., Havare, S. B., & Kaya, B. (2015, May 27). An infected urachal cyst in an adult woman. Case Reports in Obstetrics and Gynecology2015, ID 791408. Retrieved from
  • Liu, Y.-H., Yen, Y.-T., Liu, T.-J., Yang, Y. C., Wang, C.-Y., Wu, W.-M., … Cheng, Y. W. (2010, September). Bacteriological examination of inflamed epidermal cysts: A survey between 2008 and 2009 at a hospital in southern Taiwan. Dermatologica Sinica28(3), 102-106. Retrieved from




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button