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How To Get Rid Of A Belly Button Infection

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How To Get Rid Of A Belly Button Infection July 11, 2018

The increasing fascination for crop tops has seen a rise in the piercing of belly buttons. And why not? Those piercings just look amazing. But have you ever thought what might happen if they become infected? Yes, constantly touching your belly button just after you have pierced it can cause infections. If you have developed a belly button infection and are looking for natural ways to treat it, you have come to the right page. Read on to know more.

Table Of Contents

What Causes An Infection In The Belly Button?
Signs And Symptoms Of A Belly Button Infection
10 Best Ways To Treat A Belly Button Infection Naturally
Prevention Tips
When To See A Doctor

What Causes An Infection In The Belly Button?

It might sound surprising, but there are numerous bacteria living inside your belly button that usually don’t cause any problems in healthy individuals. However, some factors can contribute to the development of belly button infections.

Depending on the cause, belly button infections are classified into the following types:

  • Bacterial Infection

Sweat, lint, or even residues of cosmetic products can lead to bacterial growth and infection in the belly button. If you notice a brown or yellow discharge from your belly button, it is an indication of a bacterial infection.

  • Sebaceous Cysts

The formation of a sebaceous cyst in your belly button could also lead to an infection. These cysts are easily infected upon scratching.

  • Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, such as those caused by Candida, can occur anywhere in the body, including the belly button. If your belly button turns red and tender, it is a sign of a fungal infection.

  • Urachal Cysts

The infection of the duct within the umbilical cord that enables the drainage of urine from the fetus is referred to as a urachal cyst.

  • Diabetic Infection

If you notice a cottage cheese-like discharge from your belly button, it means that you have developed an infection as a result of diabetes.

Certain factors can also increase your risk of developing a belly button infection. They include:

  • An infection of the belly button piercing
  • Poor hygiene
  • Obesity
  • Touching the belly button frequently
  • An abdominal surgery
  • A wound or injury near the belly button
  • Type of clothing
  • Pregnancy

Those affected by a belly button infection may experience the following signs and symptoms.

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Signs And Symptoms Of A Belly Button Infection

The most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Pain in the belly button
  • Inflammation and swelling of the belly button
  • Skin turns warm
  • Itching or tingling sensation in the belly button
  • A greenish, yellowish or brownish discharge from the belly button
  • Unpleasant smell from your navel
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Belly button bleeding

Nobody likes to harbor an infection. In fact, you will want to get rid of it at the earliest. Give the following home remedies a try to treat your belly button infection naturally.

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10 Best Ways To Treat A Belly Button Infection Naturally

  1. Coconut Oil
  2. Tea Tree Oil
  3. Warm Salt Water
  4. Essential Oils
  5. Hydrogen Peroxide
  6. White Vinegar
  7. Aloe Vera
  8. Turmeric
  9. Indian Lilac (Neem)
  10. Rubbing Alcohol

Home Remedies To Treat A Belly Button Infection

1. Coconut Oil

Belly Button Infection - Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

Coconut oil (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a little coconut oil on your fingers and apply it directly to your belly button.
  2. Leave it on and allow your skin to absorb the oil.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this multiple times daily.

Why This Works

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that exhibit excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (1), (2). These properties not only fight the infection-causing microbes but also help in healing the inflammation and swelling in the belly button.

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2. Salt Water

Belly Button Infection - Salt Water Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and mix well.
  2. Put a few drops of this saline solution in your navel.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this several times daily until you get relief.

Why This Works

Saline solution helps reduce the moisture inside your belly button, preventing further infection. Salt has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help combat the existing infection as well as the itching and inflammation in the belly button (3), (4).

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3. Warm Compress

Belly Button Infection - Warm Compress Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Hot water
  • A clean washcloth
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a clean washcloth and dip it in some medium-hot water.
  2. Wring out the excess water and place the warm compress directly on your belly button.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes. Repeat as required.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

A hot compress has many uses. From combating microbial infections to relieving pain and inflammation – it can do it all. So, you may also use a hot compress to get rid of a belly button infection (5).

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4. Essential Oils

a. Tea Tree Oil

Belly Button Infection - Tea Tree Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil and mix well.
  2. Apply this mixture directly to the infected belly button.
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Wipe it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times daily for faster recovery.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil is another excellent remedy to treat a belly button infection. It possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help kill all the infection-causing microbes (6). The anti-inflammatory nature of tea tree oil provides relief from the itching, swelling, and pain (7).

b. Peppermint Oil

Belly Button Infection - Peppermint Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix peppermint oil with coconut oil.
  2. Apply this blend to your belly button and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Wipe it off with a tissue.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 to 3 times every day.

Why This Works

The soothing properties of peppermint essential oil can relieve inflammation. It also has antimicrobial properties that can help eliminate the microbes causing the infection in your belly button (8).

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5. Hydrogen Peroxide

Belly Button Infection - Hydrogen Peroxide Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1-2 tablespoons of water
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the hydrogen peroxide with water.
  2. Soak a cotton pad in it and
  3. apply it to your belly button.
  4. Leave it on and allow it to dry naturally.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this only once daily.

Why This Works

Hydrogen peroxide is especially useful if you are dealing with a pus-filled cyst in your belly button. Its antiseptic properties can combat the infection while its drying properties can speed up the healing of the cyst (9), (10).

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6. White Vinegar

Belly Button Infection - White Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar and two tablespoons of water.
  2. Soak a cotton pad in this mixture and apply it directly to the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times every day until the infection is treated.

Why This Works

The presence of acetic acid in vinegar imparts antiseptic properties to it, thereby helping it fight the infection-causing microbes. It also has natural disinfectant properties that help in treating a belly button infection (11).

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7. Aloe Vera

Belly Button Infection - Aloe Vera Pinit

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You Will Need

Aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply aloe vera gel directly to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, after which you can wash it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Aloe vera gel is widely known for its wonderful healing properties. The plant contains more than 200 ingredients of medical importance, which exhibit anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (12), (13), (14). These properties can help in healing an existing belly button infection while also relieving its inflammatory symptoms.

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8. Turmeric

Belly Button Infection - Turmeric Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Water (as required)
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a teaspoon of turmeric and add enough water to it to make a thick paste.
  2. Apply the paste directly to your belly button.
  3. Allow it to dry and then rinse it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this at least once daily.

Why This Works

Turmeric is one of the best remedies to treat a belly button infection. It contains curcumin that exhibits powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (15), (16), (17). It can also speed up your healing and reduce the swelling, itching, and inflammation caused by the infection in your belly button (18).

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9. Indian Lilac (Neem)

Belly Button Infection - Indian Lilac (Neem) Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A handful of neem leaves
  • Water
  • A pinch of turmeric (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a handful of neem leaves and grind them with water to form a smooth paste.
  2. You can also add a pinch of turmeric to this for added benefits.
  3. Apply this paste to the infected belly button and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes or until it dries completely.
  4. Wash it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Neem is widely used to treat various ailments due to its powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It not only accelerates healing but also relieves itching and inflammation in the belly button (19), (20).

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10. Rubbing Alcohol

Belly Button Infection - Rubbing Alcohol Pinit

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You Will Need

• Rubbing alcohol
• Cotton pads

What You Have To Do

1. Take a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and apply it directly to the affected area.
2. Leave it on to be absorbed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The antiseptic nature of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) disinfects and sterilizes the belly button, which prevents the infection from spreading further.

Caution

Rubbing alcohol can be too drying and must not be used more than twice daily.

These remedies will surely help you combat the infection and the associated inflammation. If you got a piercing lately or have diabetes, your chances of developing a belly button infection are higher. Hence, you might want to follow these prevention tips.

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Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands before touching your belly button piercing.
  • Do not sleep on your tummy.
  • Wear loose clothes made of natural fabrics.
  • Shower daily.
  • Rinse yourself thoroughly and make sure there are no residues of soap left in your navel.
  • Reduce your intake of processed foods if you are prone to Candida infections.
  • Stay away from public pools for a while after getting your belly button pierced.
  • Avoid junk food and have more of raw fruits and veggies.

If the infection shows no signs of healing, you must get medical help immediately to avoid serious side effects in the long run.

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When To See A Doctor

If your symptoms do not stop at a bad odor, and you experience any of the following signs, please consult your doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Inflammation and pain near the belly button piercing
  • Pain while urinating
  • Worsening of the existing symptoms

Although these symptoms are commonly associated with a belly button infection, in some cases, they could also hint at a more serious underlying medical condition like psoriasis or even cancer. Hence, while a mild to moderate belly button infection can be safely treated at home, you must seek medical help if your symptoms worsen.

Try these remedies and let us know how they worked for you by commenting below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Why is the inside of my belly button red?

If the inside of your belly button has turned red and itchy, it is a sign of a fungal infection. Candida is the most common culprit behind such fungal infections.

How long does it take to get rid of a belly button infection?

A belly button infection can take quite a while to heal completely. Although it heals within 6 months in most cases, it may take up to a year or two for complete healing in a few cases

Why does your belly button smell?

Although mild navel odors are relatively normal, discharge and unpleasant odors from your belly button could be a result of an infection or simply due to the build-up of sweat and dirt.

How do you clean your belly button?

The best way to steer clear of belly button infections is to keep your navel clean and free of microbes. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Take a little antibacterial soap or shower gel on a clean washcloth.
  • Use your index finger to gently clean the insides of your belly button with the washcloth.
  • Wash it thoroughly with water to remove any residues of soap and pat dry.

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