Pain Around Belly Button | 10 Belly Button Pain Causes & More (2022)

Viral (rotavirus) infection

Rotavirus infection is a contagious gastrointestinal virus that most often affects babies, toddlers, and young children. It causes severe watery diarrhea, sometimes with vomiting and fever.

Adults may also be infected, though usually with milder symptoms.

Rotavirus spreads very quickly when any trace of stool from an infected child contaminates food or drink, or gets onto any surface. If another child consumes the food or drink, or touches the surface and then their mouth, the child will become infected.

Rotavirus in children is a medical emergency because dehydration can set in very quickly. A child can die if not treated immediately. Take the child to an emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Treatment consists of IV fluids and supportive care, usually in a hospital. Antibiotics will not help rotavirus because they only work against bacteria.

The best way prevention is frequent and thorough handwashing, as well as washing toys and surfaces when possible. There is now a vaccine that will either prevent rotavirus infection or greatly lessen the symptoms if the child still gets the virus.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting or nausea, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), headache

Symptoms that always occur with viral (rotavirus) infection: diarrhea, vomiting or nausea

Symptoms that never occur with viral (rotavirus) infection: constipation, tarry stool

Urgency: Self-treatment

Viral (norovirus) infection

Norovirus infection is caused by the highly contagious Norwalk virus. It spreads when any trace of stool or vomit from an infected person contaminates food or drink, or gets onto any surface. Anyone who consumes the food or drink, or touches the surface and then their mouth, will become infected.

Norovirus brings on severe gastrointestinal upset which is very unpleasant but rarely dangerous. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, and body aches for one to three days. The greatest risk is dehydration due to the severity of the symptoms.

Because norovirus is, indeed, a virus, antibiotics will not help. The best treatment is good supportive care, which means providing plenty of fluids along with mild pain relievers until the patient recovers. Do not give aspirin to children.

If the dehydration does not improve quickly, medical help should be sought. Doctors can provide IV fluids through recovery.

The best prevention is frequent and thorough handwashing, as well as washing all fruits and vegetables. All foods must be properly cooked, especially shellfish.

Stomach ulcer

A peptic ulcer or gastric ulcer is an open sore that forms when inflammation occurs in the stomach lining.

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This stomach inflammation is caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and by prolonged use of pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Chronic inflammation allows acid to damage the stomach lining and an ulcer may form.

Smoking, drinking alcohol, stress, and spicy foods may aggravate ulcers, but do not cause them.

Symptoms include burning pain in the stomach; heartburn; nausea; and bloating.

The pain may be worse between meals or at night. Antacids will only work for a short time. There may be dark red blood in the vomit or stools.

Left untreated, ulcers may bleed and cause anemia. They may perforate the stomach and cause peritonitis (serious infection of the abdominal cavity.)

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and by testing breath and stool for H. pylori. Endoscopy is sometimes used.

Treatment involves a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria, and medication to block excess acid and heal the stomach.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, moderate abdominal pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)

Symptoms that never occur with stomach ulcer: pain in the lower left abdomen

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Normal abdominal pain

The complaint of abdominal pain and discomfort, with no apparent cause, is one of the most common in medicine. It is a primary reason for patients to visit a medical provider or the emergency room.

The cause of abdominal pain can be difficult to find, because it can just be a completely normal abdominal pain or come from many different sources: the digestive tract, the urinary tract, the pancreas, the gall bladder, or the gynecologic organs.

The pain may simply be caused by overly sensitive nerves in the gut. This hypersensitivity can occur after repeated abdominal injury and/or it may have an emotional cause due to fear of the pain itself.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, patient history, and simply ruling out any other condition. CT scan is often requested, but can rarely find a specific cause. The benefits must be weighed against the risks of radiation.

Treatment first involves making any needed lifestyle improvements regarding diet, exercise, work, and sleep, in order to reduce stress. In some cases, counseling, hypnosis, mild pain relievers, and antidepressants are helpful.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), vaginal discharge, fever, nausea

Symptoms that always occur with normal abdominal pain: abdominal pain (stomach ache)

Symptoms that never occur with normal abdominal pain: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, severe abdominal pain, unintentional weight loss, vaginal discharge, rectal bleeding

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Urgency: Self-treatment

Intestinal inflammation (diverticulitis)

When the passage of food through the colon becomes sluggish, the food can stagnate, increase in bulk, create pressure, and cause diverticula – or pouches – to form in the walls of the large intestine. If these pouches become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis.

Risk factors are a low-fiber diet, smoking, obesity, chronic constipation, and lack of "good" bacteria in the gut.

Patients over 50, with a previous history of inflammatory disease of the colon, are most susceptible.

Symptoms include persistent abdominal pain; fever; nausea and vomiting; and constipation sometimes alternating with diarrhea.

Left untreated, diverticulitis can lead to intestinal blockage and scarring. Rupture of an inflamed pouch can result, leading to peritonitis. These are medical emergencies. If suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made by ruling out other conditions through physical examination; blood, urine, and stool tests; and CT scan.

Less serious cases are treated with a high-fiber diet, fluids, probiotics, antibiotics, and lifestyle management. Others may require intravenous antibiotics and/or surgery.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea

Symptoms that never occur with intestinal inflammation (diverticulitis): pain below the ribs, pain in the upper right abdomen

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Indigestion (dyspepsia)

Indigestion, also called upset stomach, dyspepsia, or functional dyspepsia, is not a disease but a collection of very common symptoms. Note: Heartburn is a separate condition.

Common causes are eating too much or too rapidly; greasy or spicy foods; overdoing caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated beverages; smoking; and anxiety. Some antibiotics, pain relievers, and vitamin/mineral supplements can cause indigestion.

The most common symptoms are pain, discomfort, and bloating in the upper abdomen soon after eating.

Indigestion that lasts longer than two weeks, and does not respond to simple treatment, may indicate a more serious condition. Upper abdominal pain that radiates to the jaw, neck, or arm is a medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination. If the symptoms began suddenly, laboratory tests on blood, breath, and stool may be ordered. Upper endoscopy or abdominal x-ray may be done.

For functional dyspepsia – "ordinary" indigestion – treatment and prevention are the same. Eating five or six smaller meals per day with lighter, simpler food; managing stress; and finding alternatives for some medications will provide relief.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: nausea, stomach bloating, dyspeptic symptoms, bloating after meals, vomiting

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Symptoms that always occur with indigestion (dyspepsia): dyspeptic symptoms

Symptoms that never occur with indigestion (dyspepsia): vomiting (old) blood or passing tarry stools, rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

Gall bladder infection (cholecystitis)

Gallbladder infection, also called cholecystitis, means there is a bacterial infection of the gallbladder either with or without gallstones.

The gallbladder is a small organ that stores bile, which helps to digest fats. If something blocks the flow of bile out of the gallbladder – gallstones, damage to the bile ducts, or tumors in the gallbladder – the bile stagnates and bacteria multiplies in it, producing an infected gallbladder.

Risk factors include obesity, a high-fat diet, and a family history of gallstones.

Symptoms include fever; chills; right upper quadrant abdominal pain radiating to the right shoulder; and sometimes nausea and vomiting. A gallbladder infection is an acute (sudden) illness, while the symptoms of gallstones come on gradually.

Untreated cholecystitis can lead to rupture of the gallbladder, which can be life-threatening.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination, ultrasound or other imaging, and blood tests.

Treatment involves hospitalizing the patient for fasting with IV fluids, to rest the gallbladder; antibiotics; and pain medication. Surgery to remove the gallbladder is often done so that the condition cannot recur.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation

Symptoms that always occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis): abdominal pain (stomach ache)

Symptoms that never occur with gall bladder infection (cholecystitis): pain in the upper left abdomen, pain in the lower left abdomen

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, the small, finger-shaped pouch projecting off the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen.

The inflammation is caused by anything blocking or irritating the appendix opening or walls, such as hard stool or damage from other bowel disease. The blocked appendix can quickly swell with bacteria and pus.

Appendicitis is most common from ages 13-30, but can happen to anyone.

Symptoms include sudden, severe pain in the abdomen that begins near the navel and soon moves to the lower right side. There may be low-grade fever; nausea and vomiting; feeling bloated; and constipation or diarrhea.

If not treated, an infected appendix can rupture and cause a life-threatening infection of the abdomen called peritonitis. This is why appendicitis is a medical emergency. If suspected, take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

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Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, blood and urine tests, and imaging such as ultrasound or x-ray.

An inflamed appendix must be surgically removed as soon as possible.

Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, which creates and releases insulin and glucagon to keep the sugar levels in your blood stable. It also creates the enzymes that digest your food in the small intestine. When these enzymes accidentally get activated in the pancreas, they digest the pancreas itself, causing pain and inflammation.

You should go to the ER. There, diagnosis is made by physical examination, imaging, and blood tests. Treatment typically involves intravenous (IV) fluids and medicines to control the pain.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, severe abdominal pain, fever

Symptoms that always occur with acute pancreatitis: constant abdominal pain

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Acute gastritis

Gastritis means inflammation or irritation of the stomach lining, and is "acute" when it comes on suddenly and severely.

Common causes are infection with H. pylori bacteria in the stomach, which also causes ulcers; regular use of pain relievers; and overuse of alcohol. Smoking, stress, and autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, Hashimoto's disease, and type 1 diabetes can all contribute to acute gastritis.

Symptoms of acute gastritis include sudden fullness and burning pain in the upper abdomen, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. If the symptoms last more than a week, or there are signs of blood in vomit or stool, medical care should be sought.

If not treated, gastritis can lead to stomach ulcers due to the presence of H. pylori.

Diagnosis for H. pylori is made through blood tests, breath tests, and stool sample tests. Upper endoscopy and/or barium swallow x-ray may also be used.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes concerning use of pain relievers, alcohol, and other stomach irritants; antibiotics to treat the H. pylori; and medications to reduce and/or neutralize stomach acid.

Questions your doctor may ask about pain around the belly button

  • Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Have you lost your appetite recently?
  • How would you describe the nature of your abdominal pain?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

FAQs

When should I be concerned about my belly button pain? ›

Bloating with belly button pain can also be caused by appendicitis. This condition occurs when the appendix becomes infected and then inflamed. The appendix is part of the large intestine, which is why the pain is near the belly button. Other symptoms of appendicitis include fever and an upset stomach.

What causes pain in middle of stomach above belly button? ›

Pain in this area can be caused by eating too much. It can be caused by a food or a drug that upsets the stomach. It can also be caused by more serious problems like stomach ulcers or a gallbladder attack. Reflux disease (GERD) causes a burning pain that goes into the chest.

What organ is directly behind your belly button? ›

Surrounding the umbilical collar is the periumbilical skin. Directly behind the navel is a thick fibrous cord formed from the umbilical cord, called the urachus, which originates from the bladder.

What does pain around the belly button mean? ›

There are many reasons a person can experience bellybutton pain. Some causes can be minor, including indigestion, constipation, and pregnancy. Others may be more serious, such as gallstones, appendicitis, or pancreatitis. Bellybutton pain can range in severity from mild to sharp.

What causes pain around the belly button? ›

Some of the potential causes of pain in and around the belly button include appendicitis , Crohn's disease , gallstones, hernia , infection, pancreatitis , pregnancy, or urinary tract infection.

How do I get rid of the pain in my belly button? ›

Belly button pain treatment options

Antibiotics or infectious causes: You may be prescribed antibiotics that rid the body of harmful bacteria. Anti-inflammatory medications: If your symptoms are due to autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, your physician may prescribe antibiotics or steroid creams.

How do I know if I have a stomach tumor? ›

Stomach cancer can present itself in several different ways, such as difficulty swallowing, feeling bloated after eating, feeling full after only eating a small amount of food, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, unintentional weight loss, and vomiting.

What does your belly button tell you? ›

Your belly button marks the spot where your umbilical (say: um-BIL-ih-kul) cord was once attached. This cord is a soft, bendable tube that carried nutrients — vitamins and minerals — from your mother to you, back when you were in her belly (womb).

What are the four types of abdominal pain? ›

There are four types of abdominal pain: upper, lower, right-sided and left-sided. Each type has specific symptoms and causes, and all are briefly discussed below (for detailed discussion click here).

Is the belly button connected to anything? ›

This photo shows what the belly button looks like from inside the abdomen. As you can see, it is not attached to anything in the body. The belly button is where the umbilical cord attaches to the fetus, connecting the developing baby to the placenta.

Do appendicitis pains come and go? ›

Appendicitis typically starts with a pain in the middle of your tummy (abdomen) that may come and go. Within hours, the pain travels to your lower right-hand side, where the appendix is usually located, and becomes constant and severe. Pressing on this area, coughing or walking may make the pain worse.

How do I get rid of the pain in my belly button? ›

Belly button pain treatment options

Antibiotics or infectious causes: You may be prescribed antibiotics that rid the body of harmful bacteria. Anti-inflammatory medications: If your symptoms are due to autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, your physician may prescribe antibiotics or steroid creams.

When should I worry about my umbilical hernia in adults? ›

Your doctor will recommend surgery right away if: You have pain, a swollen belly, or other signs of a rare but major problem called strangulation or incarcerated hernia. This can occur when the intestine gets trapped in the hernia sac and loses its blood supply.

Where do you press to check for appendicitis? ›

Your provider will do a physical exam. If you have appendicitis, your pain will increase when your lower right belly area is pressed. If your appendix has ruptured, touching the belly area may cause a lot of pain and lead you to tighten your muscles. A rectal exam may find tenderness on the right side of your rectum.

Is your belly button connected to anything? ›

This photo shows what the belly button looks like from inside the abdomen. As you can see, it is not attached to anything in the body. The belly button is where the umbilical cord attaches to the fetus, connecting the developing baby to the placenta.

Videos

1. Why Do You Have Pain Below Belly Button?
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2. Lower Abdominal Pain - Common Causes & Symptoms
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3. Why do I have a pain in my belly button ? | Best Health Channel
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4. Abdominal Pain Assessment – Figuring Out Your Abdominal Pain – Dr.Berg
(Dr. Eric Berg DC)
5. Abdominal Pain Below The Belly Button Is A Sign Of What Disease? Special Attention To Women
(Mr. XUNG)
6. Differential diagnosis of abdominal pain according to abdominal regions
(Amal ofmedicine)

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