Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes belly button discharge?"
Why does my belly button fill up with a smelly discharge? I can't really describe it, but I've noticed that it mostly seems to show up in the morning when I wake up, and at the end of long days. Is this a sign of some sort of infection, or is it not likely to be that serious?
There can be several causes of discharge from the belly button (or umbilicus). Some of these should be medically evaluated. The doctors who could discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor. The most common cause of drainage from the umbilicus is an infection of the skin in that area. Like any skin surface the skin of the umbilicus can beome infected. In fact, it may be more likely to become infected because it is moist and a good environment for the growth of bacteria or fungi. If there is swelling, pain, or redness than an infection is even more likely. Your doctor may prescribe topical antibacterial or antifungal creams or may even suggest oral medications. Occasionally a small cyst or duct that extends into the stomach wall from the belly button may be present. This is called a urachal remnant and is a left-over from fetal life. It can at times causes drainage and may need surgical removal. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up a visit with your primary care doctor if symptoms do not resolve is advised.
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