What Is Belly Button Infection?

Belly button infection is a fairly common problem in people with pierced navels. However, infection of the belly button or navel can also affect people who have never had their belly buttons pierced.

Being a dark, warm and moist area, the belly button provides a favorable environment for the growth of microorganism like bacteria and fungi.

The growth of these yeast or bacteria hence causes belly button infection with symptoms like redness, itching, tenderness, pain, the presence of a foul smell and pus in belly button.

The chunky discharge is usually yellowish, greenish or greyish in color and often develops as a result of secondary bacterial infection due to scratching. At times, the condition can also lead to bleeding belly button due to too muck picking.

The infected belly button area tends to become warm and swollen, particularly when cause by belly button piercing. In certain cases, the infection can also cause nausea. Individuals with deep belly buttons are more at risk of developing navel infection.

Problems related to the navel, such as small amount of discharge and blood in belly button are also quite common in newborns. This happens when umbilical cord of a baby falls off within the first week of life.


How to Treat Belly Button Infection?

In severe cases, effective treatment of infection in belly button requires the use of antibiotics prescribed by doctors. Hot compresses can also be used reduce the pain and swelling.

In addition, you can clean the affected area with saline solution, tea tree oil, diluted hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to reduce bellybutton infection.

Belly button infection treatment in case of belly button oozing discharge can be done by applying white vinegar. Alternatively, you can also use a mixture of baking powder and water. However, make sure you do not use both these remedies together.

Although, do not apply any antiseptic ointments as they tend to block the pores and hence cause obstruction in skin breathing. If you still are intent on using an ointment then at least use any water based cream or lotion.

In order to avoid belly button infections, you need to be careful as to wash the area with a mild soap but do not rub it roughly. After washing allow the area to dry properly.

In case of belly button piercing, make sure you get your navel pierced by a professional as it is quite a tricky task. Also, when choosing belly button rings, opt for a ring in stainless steel instead of nickel so as to avoid the chances of developing belly button infection.


  1. SOLUTION that worked for me: clean with a q-tip and hydrogen peroxide, dry, apply Triamcinol Acetonide cream USP 0.1 % (need a prescription), problem solved. Repeat as needed, in my case every 2 to 3 weeks. My doctor recommended it and it works.

  2. I won’t to know if it really works. Bc I got my done and it got infection too so I’m cleaning it with alcohol. So how many day is it gonna tack for the infection to go away…

    • Cleaning it with alcohol is not the best way. Clean it three times a day with dial anti bacterial soap. Twice a day get a clean dixie cup put a pinch of sea salt in it. Not table salt. Sea salt. Add warm water. Clean the area top and bottom with a q tip. Then use the remaining sea salt solution and soak the belly button for 15 minutes. The best way is to lean over. Put the cup to your belly button then lay down. This will work in 3-7 days depending on the infection. If it still persists do not take the ring out. Find a APP, alliance of professional piercer, on the web in your area and ask them. Also do not touch the piercing other than when you are cleaning it!

  3. You Shouldnt use alcohol to clean a belly piercing you use sea salt and luke warm water im getting mines pierced in july i will be 17 and i been doing research before i get it and thats the best way to clean a belly ring and i infected one at !

    • No, they say to do the sea salt to make redness go away and eaze pain if you’re having any. Every time I talk to a piercer they say people get caught up in the sea salt soaking that they don’t clean it. You should be cleaning it twice a day with antibacterial soap and cleaning it with witch hazel.

  4. Michelle says

    I had woke up one mornIng with pain on my navel. I tried treatin it myself since I have no insurance. But it wouldnt go away all the way. Ended up going to a free clinic. They prescribed me a bacitractin zinc and polymyxin B sulfate ophthalmic ointment USP. Which I have to apply to my navel 3 times a day… It’s been clearing up pretty good! Hope I’ve helped! Try asking churchs and dr offices about free clinics…

  5. so i dont have a navel piercing and i have a belly button infection and im on bactrim and it aint helpin and it hurts so bad and it its starting to hurt in my belly bout 2 inches away from my belly button and i tried to clean it with saline but it burned so bad i cried and i dunno what to do..its embarrassing and painful…anyone got any suggestions?

  6. I also do not have a piercing in my bellybutton. I noticed last week that my BB was bleeding, as I cleaned it with a kleenex. And now it is very painful and aching. I clean it every other day, well kinda…Is this an infection? I just put Neosporin on it, hoping it will help. Am I on the right track with this? thanks

    • They have things that apeapl to AZO (you can get it from Wal-ahead for $ 6, like to get rid of the pain, but for the infection, it is really bad if you just let it go away. .. bacteria can continues to grow and can cause a lot of internal problems I suggest you go to an urgent care clinic as CareNow, they close at 22 pm on weekdays and Saturdays and Sundays they close at 5:00 p.m.

  7. The last thing I thought I would get was a navel infection as I do not have any piercings. First, GO TO YOUR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR! I tried the alcohol and other over the counter medications and the infection only got worse. I am now on three different antibiotics and having a sonogram to r/o an abcess. At the first sign of infection, go see your doctor. I waited to long, had fever, nausea, just feeling run down.

  8. im going to pierce my own belly soon as my mam and dad wont let me get it done professionaly so i will search for a steralyzed needle but if i cant get one what shall i use and will it still get infected if i use a steralyzed needle?

    • Most likely it will get infected ! piercer aren’t dangerous and they have to use sterile needles and everything they use has to be sterile , it is a much safer way at the piercer !

    • uhm dont pierce it yourself. You could hit a vain. I did mine and its swollen and red and sore and i have a infection. Get it profesionally done before you screw it up.

    • marisha says

      Why won’t your parents let you get it done professionally?

  9. My belly button has been and never will be pierced (that’s to start off)
    My belly button got infected a little over a week ago and I thought eh it will go away. I cleaned it out blah blah blah like I was suppose to. But it only got worse finally had to go to the doctor who told me to go to the hospital. So I had to go to the hospital and spend 2 nights and 3 days there. Now I’m back home and still infected but taking meds for it. So my suggestion(because I should probably end this before I start to ramble) is that you go to your doctor the first sign of an infection. Don’t wait and don’t try cleaning it yourself unless you are a doctor yourself.

  10. I have had belly button infections for years now, I dont know why, I keep myself clean and should have seen a doctor by now. anyway, I did see a dr. once and he gave me some tropical ointment for it but it really burned. so I went to the pharmacist. well, the girl told me to use anti-fungus cream as it actually is an infection filled with fungus. terrible odor, yellowish. Well, I tried it, I cleaned it good with water only, dried it and put a good amount of fungal cream in and on it and sure enough in a few days it went away. It really hurts and itches and I couldnt stand it, so I took her advice and it went away, now sometimes I dont even wait till it gets red and moist with that horrible odor, I just put it on before it gets that way and it works. I get the equate brand, the cheap stuff and it works just as ggood, usually I get it for athletes feet, it says fungus right on it so it works, also my friend is big chested and in the summer she would sweat and the same thing happened, so she tried it and sure enough it worked. Hope this was helpful, I know its an embarrassing subject and hurts alot.

  11. ashley cordar says

    i did mine by myself it swollen and red and tender !! HELP!!!!!

    • me tooo , i did it sunday and now i have an infection. Its swollen.

    • You. Are. Very. stupid. Why would you do that? I’m sorry I don’t mean to be mean, but it’s NOT worth the infection! You can get it REALLY infected, or worse get VERY sick! IF that infection transfers to your blood stream, you’re hospitalized! What were you THINKING?!

  12. i just got my belly button pierced and it is infected its all red swollen and bleeding and puss coming out i dont kno what to do? i am going to the doctors. any suggestions???? it even hurts to walk and move around

  13. Erich Goodacre says

    Cannibals prefer those who have no spines.
    Regard it as in the same way desirable to create a chicken house about make a cathedral.

  14. Today I noticed my belly button piercing top hole was swollen red and white looking while at the pool. I went back to the hotel room since I’m on vacation and cleaned it with bactine, a lot of puss came out and I am really scared it’ll reject. Please help me find the CHEAPEST and fastest remedy for my infection. I can’t go to a doctor since my parent don’t know I got it done. HELP ASAP PLEASE!

  15. anonymous adviser says

    please be aware that abdomen abscess or a cyst underneath the belly button may be causing awful smelling discharge or oozing blood. perhaps before applying any sort of creams and stuff you would want to consult a doctor as prevention is better then cure. The belly button is amongst the most sensitive part of the human body. please be warned as experience is the best teacher. hope this was helpful

  16. anonymous adviser says

    use saline, Q-tips (lint free), cotton gauze or and kim wipes (lint free slightly costly) for cleaning. All can be bought over the counter

  17. my belly button itches and feels like it might be opening or something no redness no nausea. think its a infection?

  18. My button got infected due to having thrush. i just used some canistan cream in there and went in like 3 days 🙂

  19. Ok so my belly button has a big bump growing on the bottom of it by the ring. What should i do cause im not going to the doc over it? Its not anything that can be popped its jus skin thats turn into a big bump.

    • I had that once, it was due to slight infection. Try this; soak 2 small pieces of cotton wool in a solution of water and salt (just mix water with a lot of salt) and wrap the first soaked cotton wool around the the bottom bead, then the second piece of wool around the top bead, place a bandage to cover it, leave it overnight. And replace the cotton wools until its healed. Don’t ever try to pop it or anything, it will only make it worse. Also avoid touching the belly button with ur fingers as much as u can, coz fingers have bacteria that can cause infection.

    • It’s just scar tissue, I had it on my ear after I got got the top pierced, it went away after a few months.

  20. Dominika says

    When it comes to piercings, the lady that did my belly button recommended pure essential lavender oil which works well as an antiseptic and supposed to prevent any nasty things around the navel…. Just get a cotton bud, take off the plastic dropper from the bottle dip the bud in oil then rub it around the piercing, only use up and down movements with the piercing to try and get the oil inside… lastly try not to play with the piercing 🙂

  21. I had a mild belly button infection which I cleared up using antibacterial hand gel. Note that you’re not supposed to use it on sore or broken skin. One reason being that it STINGS! But it worked and the infection cleared up.

  22. If you do not have a piercing and notice something like this, just go to a doctor! I was in the ER last night after something burst pus in my belly button. Turns out mine was just a little cut that I was unaware of that turned into a boil (even though I never felt this boil), became infected, and finally popped. But it could also be an ingrown hair, a cyst or a tumor (all of which require surgery) pushing through your navel! In addition, apparently some women can have a hernia in the area about 9 – 18 mos after childbirth that results in similar symptoms. So please, go to the hospital before you apply any creams or peroxide. These just worsen the infection! That’s straight from the doctor’s mouth after I told him I applied peroxide before heading to him.

  23. michelle saltzman says

    hi i just got my belly button pierced for my birthday on june 8, last friday and already i have an infection. i didnt do anything wrong and now im stuck with a bad infectiona dn cleaning it three times a day with a hydrogen sea salt spray, how long will it take to go away? and i do not want it to worsen and go to the doctor becuase my parents will probably kill me

  24. my son now 45 days old,few days back i noticed some sticky discharge n applied candid powder hoping it will subside but yesterday it started bleeding .pl help me i m v v upset.ans ASAP.

  25. My belly button got a infected over 8 months ago. I thought i cured but i guess it didn’t? Thats why i’m here. My belly button piercing closed and i been thinking to re pierce it again but i don’t if i can because i don’t if its still infected. Could you cure a infected close belly button or…. ?

  26. im having delly discharge from 1 week n im applying soframycin then also its not worked out . the area become red , swollenn its paining also . plz suggest me .

  27. my belly was infectd,how many days it take 2 cure

  28. i got my top and bottom one done and my bottom aint looking to pretty theirs puss inside of it . and it wont come out but i still clean kt everyday widd proxide /: idk if its infected or not and i have no idea what to do:(

  29. I had my belly button pirced three eyars ago and it came out cause it rejected well i got it redone three weeks ago over scare tissue and…. Now I have tummy problems …I also am having trouble sleeping My food feels like its always coming up and my belly hurts i get the shakes and sweats I think it caused an infection in my tummy. Cause my tummy is huge right now and its never this big.. aI’m freaking out cause im afraid its going to hurt me. My belly button pusses and has a scab and it only hurts when it swelles I wanna take my ring out but I keep reading on some sites not to ..

  30. subrata biswas says


  31. subrata biswas says


  32. I don’t have any belly button piercing but seem to have an infection, doctor didn’t say much when I showed to him.

    Should I be concerned?

  33. My bellybutton itches and itches and its red! What can I do without going to a clinic?! Is there anything I can put on it to cure it? Please help!

  34. ASAP!!(I don’t have a piercing) (and will never get one)

  35. hya, i had a pain across my stomach over and around my bellybutton for 2 days, i had to go to the out of hours gp as i couldnt bend down and it was really hurting, ive had a bellybutton infection before but the doctor said it was an infection of my tubes and prescibed me some antibiotic but since last nite its dramatically swollen hurts like hell and is leaking puss now, do i go back to the out of hours and see if he will give me the right treatment for the problem as ive paid for the prescription he prescribed me for the wrong thing and used 2 tabs to realise the problem isnt what he said it was…. cheers

  36. I am a 28 year old female who has been suffering from what I now know is a belly button yeast infection, on and off for quite a while. I always thought it was just sweat, hence the slight discharge (and odor). But, the odor got worse and so did the discharge. I have a deep belly button so I can’t really see anything unless I use a Q-tip and hydrogen peroxide. Anyway! I finally consulted my primary care doctor and he prescribed me an antibiotic, “Cephalexin” (the generic for Keflex) twice daily. I have been taking the medication for 4 days now and I can’t smell the odor at all and there is no discharge. When I went to clean it out with a Q-tip, there was some dry stuff, but that’s because the meds have tried it out. I can already notice a difference, though I havent finished the medication yet. I have also been applying Neosporin (bacitracin) into my bellybutton and putting a breathable bandage over it while taking the meds. I am fairly certain this is working. I know it is embarrassing, but you can get a yeast/bacterial infection in any crevice of the body. Realize that it is normal. 🙂 Good luck to all!

Leave a Reply to Jorge Cancel reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.