Indian men are obsessed with a woman’s navel – no wonder they love their women most in sari! Jokes apart, women themselves like to show off their navels, especially if they have wonderful figures. The problem arises when the belly button, the navel, begins to emit an offensive odour. What a put off that could prove to be! It could be because you don’t clean the area often enough. Or, the problem could be more serious than you think. There are a few infections – bacterial as well fungal – that can cause a foul smell, not to mention other issues like inflammation too. Here are a few causes and treatment methods for a smelly belly button.
Image: Pietro Zuco@flickr
Smelly belly button could be due to a fungal or bacterial infection. The dark, moist, warm place around the navel area can provide an ideal breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. One such fungal infection is candida that can cause an unpleasant smelling discharge from the belly button. Moreover inflammation of the tissue surrounding the navel could also be caused due to bacterial invasion and may lead to accumulation of pus in the navel that may ooze out and start giving out a foul smelling odor.
Another cause of smelly belly button is urachal cyst that develops in the crevices between the umbilicus and bladder. It is a type of cyst that occurs in a region of the urachus and could be followed by abdominal pain and fever. When this cyst ruptures, it drains out a foul smelling fluid through the umbilicus. One more cause which is also related to urachus is a patent urachus, a surgery performed to treat the urachus tube that fails to close after birth. If such a surgery doesn't heal properly, there can be a smelly yellowish mucus discharge from the navel.
Sometimes after bathing or sweating, fluids and debris get entrapped inside the belly button which when not flushed out or dried can eventually cause the area to smell horribly. Although belly button piercing is trendy nowadays, if inappropriate techniques are used for piercing, or proper hygiene is not maintained before and after piercing, it can lead to belly button piercing infection. The infection may cause yellowish green fluid discharge and swelling around the navel which is known as sepsis-septicemia.
- Smelly belly button which is caused due to bacterial or fungal infection can be easily treated by applying some over-the-counter anti fungal or bacterial topical creams. Cleaning the infected area with an anti bacterial soap at least once a day or applying hydrogen peroxide several times a day will also help in curing the infection. In the same way, putting 1 - 2 drops of nystatin liquid, which is an anti fungal medicine, 2 - 3 times a day will also be beneficial.
- Cleanse the belly button with salt water, and allow the salt to harden on the belly button. The salt absorbs all the moisture released in the belly button, and hence controls further infection as well as coats the area to reduce foul smell. When the salt is hardened, brush it off.
- In case of urachal cyst, one must clean the area with anti bacterial soap at least once in a day. Also, you could apply Benzalkonium chloride or hydrogen peroxide on the cyst 4-5 times a day.