Dirt, bacteria, fungus, and other germs can get trapped inside your belly button and start to multiply. This can cause an infection. You might notice white, yellow, brown, or bloody discharge seeping out of your belly button. That discharge might also have an unpleasant smell. Here are a few of the causes of belly button discharge, and how to treat them. Causes of belly button discharge include infections, surgery, and cysts.
Mold in your belly button may also cause a bacterial infection. The average belly button is home to nearly 70 different types of bacteria. If you don’t clean the area well, these bacteria could cause an infection. Piercings in your navel can also get infected. Bacterial infections cause a yellow or green, foul-smelling discharge. You can also have swelling, pain, and a scab around your belly button.
Candidiasis is a yeast infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast that typically grows in damp, dark areas of the body. It can occur between skin folds, such as in your groin area and under your arms. Yeast can also take up residence in your belly button, especially if you don’t keep it clean and dry.
Candidiasis in your belly button causes a red, itchy rash on your navel and may also cause a thick, white discharge.
People with diabetes are more likely to get yeast infections. This is because yeast feeds on sugar, and high blood sugar is a hallmark of poorly treated diabetes. A study of Brazilian woman showed that women with diabetes were more prone to vaginal yeast infections than women who didn’t have diabetes.
Other studies suggest that other forms of yeast infections, including yeast infections in the belly button, may be more common among people with diabetes.
If you’ve recently had abdominal surgery, such as hernia repair, you might notice pus draining from your belly button. If this happens, call your doctor. It could be a sign of an infection that needs to be treated.
When you were developing in your mother’s womb, your bladder was connected to the umbilical cord by a small tube called the urachus. This is how urine drained from your body. Usually the urachus closes up before birth, but sometimes it fails to close properly.
A fluid-filled growth called a cyst can form on the urachus. The cyst can get infected. One symptom of this infection is cloudy or bloody fluid leaking from your navel. Other symptoms of urachal cysts include:
- abdominal pain
- a lump in your abdomen
- pain when you urinate
A sebaceous cyst is a bump that can form in your belly button, as well as on other parts of your body. It forms from the oil-releasing glands in your skin called sebaceous glands. There may be a blackhead pimple in the center of the cyst. If the cyst is infected, a thick, yellow, and foul-smelling discharge will drain from it. The cyst might also be red and swollen.
When to See a Doctor
See your doctor if you have discharge. It could be a sign of infection, especially if you’ve recently had surgery. Other symptoms of an infection include:
- tenderness in your abdomen
- pain when you urinate