Some things pop up on our bodies that we just don’t give much thought to. A small red mark on an arm. The sudden appearance of a skin tag. An itch in an unexpected place.
Sometimes these things disappear on their own, but every once and a while, they stick around a little longer than what seems normal.
You may start to worry about them. Take an itchy belly button, for example. It happens to all of us from time to time, but what happens when the itchiness doesn’t stop and other issues start coming with it?
What causes this itchiness? And what about an itchy belly button during pregnancy? For answers to these questions and more, we’ve done some research and come up with this quick guide to itchy belly button.
What Causes Itchy Belly Button?
When discussing an itchy belly button, the first order of business is to identify the source of the itchiness. There can be many reasons—some of which are easy to explain and clear up, while others may require a doctor, a full diagnosis, and medical treatment.
- Allergic reaction. The itchiness in and around your belly button area may simply be an allergic reaction. In this case, the culprit could be a topical allergen as opposed to one you ingested. New laundry soap that’s not reacting well to your skin and poison ivy are common causes.
- Bacterial infection. The itchiness you are suffering from may be the result of a bacterial infection around your belly button. These are usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) or Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) bacteria.
- Fungal infection. Yes, you read that right. Your itchy belly button may have been caused by fungus, or more specifically, yeast. These types of fungal or yeast infections tend to happen due to bad hygiene, moist skin, and obesity.
- Expanding skin. The itchiness may be the result of expanding or stretching skin from pregnancy or an umbilical hernia. These conditions can cause the skin to expand and stretch around the belly button area, which can deprive the skin of moisture which can cause the skin to be dry and itchy.
- Eczema. Eczema is actually an umbrella term that covers a few different skin conditions; the most prevalent of these is atopic eczema. Atopic eczema tends to be hereditary and causes portions of the skin to become inflamed and irritated.
- Infected navel piercing. If you have a pierced belly button, the itchiness might be due to an infection of the piercing.
- Psoriasis. An itchy belly button rash may indicate psoriasis, an auto-immune disease that causes patches of the skin to become itchy, red, and scaly.
- Athlete’s foot. It’s weird to think about, but yes, you can get athlete’s foot in your belly button. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection and if you aren’t careful with your hygiene and your athlete’s foot treatment, it can spread to the belly button area.
- Urinary tract infection. A urinary tract infection can cause skin rashes around the belly button area in children.
As you can see, there are several reasons why your belly button may by itchy, but let’s take a closer look at pregnancy-related itchiness.
Itchy Belly Button during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most common contributors to itchy belly button in women. When you are pregnant, your belly obviously expands in order to hold the growing baby. As the belly grows, the skin on the abdomen becomes more moisture-deprived. The drier it gets, the more likely it is to become itchy. Pregnant women may also find a similar issue with their rear ends as it too expands in preparation for child birth. The important thing is to not scratch at it. Scratching will just increase the irritation. Instead, there are a number of other options that might work much better.
Belly Button Infection and Itchiness Treatment
Depending on the source of your belly button itchiness, there are numerous belly button infection treatments as well treatment for those issues not caused by an infection. As with anything that concerns your overall health, if you aren’t sure what do about your belly button itch or you are concerned about its cause, you can always seek advice from a medical professional like your doctor.
When you have a belly button itch during pregnancy, the key is to re-moisturize and repair the stretched skin on your belly. A light moisturizing cream or calamine lotion can help take the itch out. Another good moisturizer is vitamin E oil as it will relieve the belly itch as well as help the skin repair itself. Finally, a warm oatmeal bath can help the skin re-moisturize and repair, although you must make it a warm bath. A hot bath may cause your skin to dry out further.
For those having an allergic reaction, the solution to your problem may be as simple as figuring out what the culprit is. For example, if it happened right after you tried a new laundry detergent, try switching it out. If the itchiness subsides, then you know you should stop using that detergent.
Use Soap and Water
Maintaining proper hygiene is also an effective way to get rid of the itchy belly or prevent one from occurring. Make sure you keep that area of your body clean. Sometimes a good cleaning can clear up the bacteria all on its own.
It will be very hard, but try not to scratch the belly button itch, especially if it’s due to infection or if there is a rash. Scratching may help momentarily, but it may also increase the risk of spreading an infection elsewhere on your body.
Disinfect with Alcohol
For very simple infections, you may find that in addition to keeping the area clean, cleaning the infected area with alcohol can also kill a number of smaller and mild bacteria. Just take a clean cloth, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and gently clean the infected area.
Unfortunately, you may have to seek out a more medicine-based approach to a cure with heavier bacterial infections and fungal infections. Antibacterial or antifungal creams may work depending on what is causing the infection.
If the infection is very bad, it may require a round or two of antibiotics to help clean up the area. It is best to seek your doctor’s advice for particularly stubborn conditions.
Take Care of that Belly Button Itch!
Everyone gets something weird from time to time, and most of us have had a belly button itch. It’s when that itch overstays its welcome that more action is needed. There are many possible causes, some more serious than others, but most can be cleared up with at-home solutions.
When unsure of the type of infection, talk to your doctor. The home remedies we have provided may work, but if the infection doesn’t go away or worsens, don’t hesitate to get a doctor’s opinion. Addressing it early on may lead to a faster recovery and prevent more problems down the road.
We hope these tips and information will help you out the next time you’re faced with an itchy belly button.
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“How to Treat a Belly Button Infection,” Top 10 Home Remedies; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/how-to/treat-belly-button-infection.html, last accessed March 8, 2017.
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