Feeling smelly? It could be your belly button

jeans button

When it comes to hygiene, most people are aware they need to clean regularly in order to rid the body of germs, bacteria, sweat and dead skin cells that have the potential to cause smelly odours that are darn right off-putting.

What many people aren’t aware of is that a lot of germs can build up in the belly button, leading to an array of problems that can be more serious than an unpleasant smell. While most of people are probably prone to plucking the odd piece of lint from their navel from time to time, reports suggest that people need to get a lot more serious about their belly button health. 

In addition to smelling bad, Healthline reports that the belly button can become a hotspot for all sorts of potentially-harmful germs including dirt, bacteria and fungus. Because of the very intricate structure of the belly button, these foreign entities can often become trapped deep in the folds of the skin, increasing the chance of an infection. This can sometimes result in potent-smelling discharges that can be a variety of disturbing colours.

If that wasn’t off-putting enough, it is estimated that more than 70 different types of bacteria, both good and bad, call your belly button home. The key is to keep it as clean as possible to maintain the balance of good bacteria and prevent the bad from taking over.

Certain health conditions and other factors can cause some belly buttons to become unhealthier than others. Infections can be quite common following surgery around the abdominal area. If you notice pus or other discharges, it could be a sign of a cyst or ingrown hair buried deep in the navel.

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When it comes to infections, yeast or bacteria are typically the main culprits. With a yeast infection, it’s common for the area to become itchy, red and even develop into a rash. You may also notice thick and lumpy discharges appearing from the bellybutton.

A lot of people are unaware that yeast infections can be a common side effect of diabetes, so if you aren’t yet diagnosed but have been noticing changes in your belly button, it could be your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right.

If it’s a bacterial infection, it’s more common to notice pain, scabs or even swelling around the belly button area. It’s here that you may also notice crusty material that is often yellow or green in colour.

If you do begin to notice differences in smells or appearance, t’s always good to get your belly button examined by a GP or a health professional, just to be sure.

Medical News Today suggests there are several things everyone should be doing when it comes to caring for their belly button. The first, and possibly most obvious, is to ensure the belly button area is cleaned daily with soap and warm water. It’s also vital that the area is dried thoroughly after a wash to ensure no water gets trapped. It’s also recommended that you remove anything noticeably foreign as soon as possible. This means if you suspect a piece of fluff has nestled into your navel, don’t wait until shower time to remove it.

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Where possible, opt for looser clothing that allows the skin to breathe. Tight clothing or underwear can mean that any bacteria that becomes trapped remains so until you change, and the last thing you want to do is create further belly button problems.

They also recommend that creams and other thick products be kept away from the area, unless specifically prescribed by a health professional. These products are designed to keep skin hydrated, but they can also unintentionally create a breeding ground for bacteria.

Have you ever paid this much attention to your belly button before?


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