The belly button or navel, or more technically the umbilicus, is basically a scar left over form childbirth. This site of the former connection between mother and fetus holds much fascination. Children find belly buttons funny, men and women both can find them sexy. Some people are inclined to pierce them with various adornments. But occasionally the simple innocuous belly button can be the site of an embarrassing, often unpleasant smelling discharge.
Any bleeding or discharge from within the belly button is almost always a sign of an infection. It is most likely a fungal infection. The belly button can be a dark moist, warm place, the ideal breeding ground for fungi. The most likely culprit for a fungal infection of the navel causing an unpleasant discharge is candida. But other fungi love belly buttons too. Yeast infections can also be the cause. Bacteria, like their other microbial cousins, like dark moist places, and a bacterial infection can also be the cause of a belly button discharge. A fungal infection in or around the belly button will be red and itchy similar to athletes foot. If you scratch it you can crate open wounds, this can be the source of any bleeding. The open sores caused by scratching also afford the opportunity for a secondary bacterial infection, which could account for a yellowish and smelly discharge.
Can the Discharge be Anything Serious?
While it is most likely that your belly button discharge is being caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, there is a rare condition called a urachal cyst. In the unborn fetus there is a duct above the bladder connected to the umbilical cord, it serves a purpose in the developing fetus, but closes up prior to birth. In some rare circumstances it does not close, and it swells later in life or a cyst develops within it causing it to open. Mucus and sometimes urine can leak through the now opened duct, out through the navel, and this can account for a discharge. The condition is rare, and it can be corrected surgically.
Less rare and less serious a smelly discharge from the navel could be due to a benign or sebaceous cyst. The cyst itself is no cause for alarm, and the discharge again is an indication that the cyst has become infected probably due to scratching or some other abrasion. The resulting treatment would be the same as for any of the other infections described. Your physician should examine any discharge from the navel, so that it can be diagnosed and treated correctly.
Again the cause of most belly button discharges is almost always, fungal yeast, or bacterial infections. Once properly diagnosed a course of treatment including topical and/or oral antibiotics or other anti-microbials will be prescribed.
Do's and Don'ts
Do try to prevent belly button infections, especially if you have a pierced naval by washing the area thoroughly everyday with an anti-bacterial soap.
Do not pick at any scabs or scratch the belly button
Do not apply antiseptic creams or powders, this can only cause more irritation. If discharge is already present wash the area gently with warm salt water.
Do see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
For more information about fungal infections of the skin and how to treat them take a look at at our article on Thrush.
Had a veee bad time with this problem....
Too much of belly button discharge....
Went to the homeopathic Dr. and i was with no problem within a week. ....
Samarpit - 21-Mar-17 @ 5:59 AM
I have a yellow discharge in my belly button and Anus. The skin gets red around the discharge area. I have been prescribed an Anti fungal cream twice now. Each time the steroid percentage was increased. The cream controls and calms the itching and discharge but once I stop with the cream, the discharge returns. Also skin becomes sore after awhile.
NotTheOnlyOne - 12-Mar-17 @ 9:15 PM
I have neuropathic pain which has both lowered my immune system and caused weight gain. I can only tolerate one medication for it which causes excessive sweating. This mix is made worse by the fact that I have a deep navel which means I have regular yeast/fungal infections. I try to keep it dry but I can't keep my skin dry for very long.
My doctor doesn't have any suggestions, does anyone here have any experance with this?
Mandy - 10-Oct-16 @ 11:21 PM
I just say that my belly button wet with POOH SMELL CONTAIN liquid.pls help me what can I do for stop this
I was wash many times but smell with pooh contain liquid still found
nadia - 27-Sep-16 @ 8:52 PM
I just was curious about what I can only describe as a possible scab of some sort on the wall inside my bellybutton? It has no bad smell, no pain and no discharge, I just have hypochondriac issues where I think what others get I'll get. It only hurts slightly if I try to pick it and today I got a tiny bit out that was sort of white. I use quickly tips to clean and nothing like blood comes out, just the occupational hair. Am I worried over nothing?
Theredpanda89 - 8-Aug-16 @ 6:24 PM
Hey guys i have problem in mh belly.. and its coming blood from belly and when i clean then after few minutes its come Again.. i am not much worry about that and also have too much bad smell .. i can't even Walk... Its no pain+hurt me.. when i walk its Just Leaking... I am too much worry about that.. please anyOne tell me the best way to Treatment+advice for my belly ... Thanks
Rumi - 26-May-16 @ 6:42 AM
i have noticed today that my belly buttonis weeping , a foul discharge smell, never had this before so quite concerned , no piercings or anything , has anybody experience this ? And what did you do?
Thanks in advance
kyri - 21-Mar-16 @ 8:19 PM
My daughter had this problem. She went to an infectious physician who did not have any idea what this was.She saw several other physicians too. I started looking on line until I came to one article on Urachal Remnant. This physician said sometimes at birth the umbilical cord is not completely removed.Therefore later in life the part left in you gets infected,fills with blood and then finally burst. Then it happens over and over again.We finally searched out a Urologist that had done his first operation just a few weeks before my daughters. He removed as much as he could due to her weight. Sometimes the remnant will attach to your bladder resulting in a much more in depth surgery. Don't give up we live in Atlanta and we had to call 7-8 Urologist until we found one who knew what we were talking about.I have to send the article in to make them understand what I was talking about.Check it out.
terry - 14-Mar-16 @ 1:31 AM
Try applying canisten cream with a cotton bud..kills the yeast/fungi (works for me!) :)
Kom - 6-Jan-16 @ 9:40 PM
PLEASE spellcheck your articles! Sad.
BenT - 29-Nov-15 @ 7:24 PM
Every month when im sue my period my belly button gets sore starts weeping and smells vile I've found a little sudocreme clears it right up over night. I have tried other creams and ointments but ivery found sudocreme acts fastest
Saz - 6-Nov-15 @ 7:09 PM
Hey guys I too have this condition, I started to get a slight itching in my belly button and put my little finger in and the smell was disgusting sort of like the same yeast build up you get under a toe nail if not cut regularly. I put warm salt water onto a cotton bud and very lightly began to clean, when I removed the cotton bud from my belly button the whole of the upper bud was red form blood absorbed when trying to clean. I do have some hydrocortisone cream for eczema & dermatitis, can I use this on my belly button? Reason I ask is it is a steroid cream.
If anyone could give me any advice that would be most appreciated.
Dan - 3-Nov-15 @ 8:23 PM
I have had this problem for a long time. I don't have any open wounds but it is very sore and red with blood/scabs and very smelly. I asked my gp a while back but was just told to wash it (which I do anyway) the problem is still here. When I was a baby I had a very large swollen belly button, not sure what caused it but it was big and purple. Now I'm older I have a deep belly button. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
ryan - 12-Oct-15 @ 6:30 PM
@Sunny. Will give that one a try and let you know.
Oldwivestales - 25-Aug-15 @ 10:06 AM
I've had this problem above 5 year .i have even had my belly button shortened but this did not help. I know it sounds silly but this will help use a few drops of EARDROPS place them inside belly button and then place a small amount of cotton wool inside belly button .This does work better than any creams
Sunny - 22-Aug-15 @ 2:35 AM
I have like this red circle of redness not sure if its lint or dry blood in my belly button and don't know wat to do so plz help
josh - 10-Jun-15 @ 5:38 AM
I have had issues with waking up in the morning and had dried blood around my belly button, also a smell to it, but for the past couple of years it seems to be happening more often, so far this past week its been everyday, last night I was about to shower and I noticed blood dripping, not dark blood it was light and of course has a smell to it. is this normal? what could this be? I am very concerned.
rlow - 1-Jun-15 @ 7:19 PM
During menstruation, I also see the discharge from my navel, I have consulted the doctor for several times but it is still happening, can this affect me in future when I want to have the child. What should I do?
Flory - 26-May-15 @ 11:30 AM
Ive had the same issue as Kath, they said to make sure when getting out of the shower be sure to dry it properly, which i have been doing for the past week and every now and then i am able to smell the discharge wen sat at my desk at work, no other can smell this though but still makes menervous , i've had this issue for a week and a half now and its starting to bother me! i also get a slight stabbing pain when cleaning it.
Meg - 20-May-15 @ 11:57 AM
@Kath. Y es please go back to your GP!
EmbarrassingIssues - 20-May-15 @ 10:31 AM
Went to gp a week last friday with my belly button oozing and smelly he gave me fucibet cream, its really not got better, that was 8days ago thursday got like a stabing pain in the area, today it oozing like a steam smells really bad, the pain concerns me please could you help me thanks
Kath - 16-May-15 @ 11:09 AM
@Eve and Lydia. We cannot give specific medical advice but please note the do and don't tips in the Treatment Section above.
EmbarrassingIssues - 11-May-15 @ 11:31 AM
@timzy. When you say the doctors won't do anything have they told you what's causing it?
EmbarrassingIssues - 6-May-15 @ 9:50 AM
please reply on Lydia, as me also same problem
eve - 4-May-15 @ 4:53 PM
Two days ago I was picking at my navel because I had lint in it, and then it started bleeding a little bit. It also had some moistness that I think might be pus. My navel doesn't hurt that much, just a little sore. I looked at it today and I saw that it might be healing, but I'm still worried about it. I'm a hypochondriac, and my parents (I'm fifteen) get annoyed with me when I freak out about injuries or small aches and get disappointed in me. I might be going to theGP on Monday, but for a different reason. Should I bring it up on Monday? In the meantime, should I apply hydrogen peroxide?
Lydia - 3-May-15 @ 7:34 PM
Hi I've had 3 children and now I can't seem to get rid of over lapping stomach fat I've tried everything and nothings worked but my biggest problem is that it has given me a painful red itchy smelly discharge belly button . It's all is really effecting my confidence and it is making me depressed and Dr's won't do anything please help x
timzy - 28-Apr-15 @ 12:14 PM
Got it pierced about 2 and a half weeks ago it's now red and really dry all around the piercing I've been cleaning it twice a day like I was told unsure if it's a infection or not
Raygan - 24-Apr-15 @ 6:29 PM
I am glad I decided to look up information about this. I wanted to ask though about what I should do. My belly button out of the blue just started to leak a clear discharge but it has a really strong smell. I am still waiting for my medical insurance so I do not have access to a GP at the moment. I do not have any pain or anything. I had used hydrogen peroxide to see if that would help but then I ended up having the issue the discharge is not so bad that it makes my clothes wet but when i have to use the restroom I check it naturally and it is wet, but no blood no discoloration. I wanted to know if their is anything else I could do to help resolve the issue at least until I get my insurance cards?
Unsure - 23-Apr-15 @ 3:35 AM
@Erin. You really need to go back to your doctor about this, sorry.
EmbarrassingIssues - 31-Mar-15 @ 11:38 AM
My belly button is red, wet and flaky on the inside. I have been to a doctor and had cream and cleaned but nothing happened. I have had it for a year or two and only now has it started bleeding. What do I do?