A belly button discharge or navel discharge, which occurs in both men and women, can be a smelly, white, clear, yellow or even green discharge. It generally indicates that your navel is infected. Some women may experience a smelly belly button drainage or leakage during pregnancy. Here’s everything that you need to know about belly button discharge.
What Causes Belly Button Discharge?
Belly button discharge occurs because of a moist environment in the navel, which is colonized by fungus.1 It may also be accompanied by a lot of pain when it occurs. When dirt, bacteria, and germs inhabit inside your belly button and start multiplying, they cause the discharge, which is a result of an infection that is enhanced by the microorganisms. Usually, the smell can be quite foul. Occasionally, even infections, poor hygiene, or belly
What Makes The Belly Button Smell Or Stink?
When a belly button has a foul smell like poop, fish or cheese, it could be a medical concern. The bad odor may smell like rotten cheese or fish, or it could be just a mild foul smell. While most often, a smelly discharge is not a cause for concern, sometimes, when a foul odor is accompanied with discharge, it could indicate the presence of an infection.
It could also mean that you have a fungal infection, a wound developing, a belly button piercing healing, or accumulation of dirt and sweat, which attracts bacteria whose activity causes a bacterial infection. Even a bruised belly button skin can produce a foul smell.
Although the reason for a foul smell and discharge could be one of those mentioned below, you must still consult your doctor to find out the exact cause.
Yeast infections, also known as fungal infections, are one of the most common causes of foul odor or stink in the navel area. Candida albicans, a fungus that thrives in warm and moist areas such as the navel and also in the mouth is likely to cause the foul odor. Common symptoms of a fungal or yeast infection in the navel include,
- Slightly yellow discharge from the belly button
- Liquid discharge accompanied by pain
- Foul smell that persists despite regular cleaning
2. Bacterial Infection
Bacterial activity within the navel can also cause signs such as warmth, a foul odor and sometimes discharge. When the navel is not cleaned regularly, bacteria begin to thrive, causing a warm sensation. This problem is common in people with innie belly buttons.
- After using soap to clean your belly button, rinse your navel thoroughly.
- After an exercise, clean the navel to prevent sweat accumulation as it promotes bacterial growth and activity causing a foul smell.
- Dry your navel properly after showers to prevent moisture accumulation.
3. Navel Odor After Surgery, Tummy Tuck Or Laparoscopy
Surgical procedures generally leave scabs on the skin due to healing. Sometimes, discharge and infections may occur after a tummy tuck or laparoscopy. Tubal ligation and gallbladder surgery can also cause your navel to emit a foul odor. Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty (plastic surgery of the abdomen) can sometimes cause a scar around the navel
This causes the skin to slough and leaves debris to accumulate in the area and promote bacterial growth. That is why your navel becomes smelly after these surgeries. But, if you experience an unusual belly button odor a few months after a tummy tuck, there could be sutures that were retained and must be removed. Consult your doctor to have the problem treated.
4. Smelly Navel During Pregnancy And During Periods
Some women may experience poop-like smell in their navels during pregnancy and their periods. During pregnancy and sometimes during ovulation or period, the metabolism of a woman’s body increases, causing more perspiration.
If the navel is not cleaned properly every day, it may emit the bad odor that smells like poop. Even certain infections could cause your navel to smell. If you are pregnant and the area is bruised or feels sore,
5. Patent Urachus
During pregnancy, urine from the fetus drains into the mother’s bladder through the urachus (a canal that joins and runs within the umbilical cord). This tube connects the bladder and the umbilicus to help with the removal of waste during the first trimester of pregnancy. A foul-smelling discharge from the umbilical cord may occur due to a condition called patent urachus or a urachus cyst.2
It’s a congenital problem that results from the failure of the urachus to close up, leaving an open channel between the umbilicus and the bladder after pregnancy. Bacterial infections in the opening can result in a clear discharge or, sometimes yellow or green with a foul odor, from the navel.