While the belly button can be considered a fairly-innocuous part of the body, you might want to look closer. Usually, when people inspect their belly button, the most they would expect is some sort of lint. if anything, maybe just a little bit of dirt from time to time. That’s pretty much it.
Well, if you were to put your belly button under the microscope, you would be shocked. In fact, according to research, there are thousands of species of bacteria known to live in that area of your body. Sounds gross, right?
Keep in mind that on the surface of your skin, there are millions of microbes. Bacteria, after all, are the most abundant forms of life on this planet. On a pound for pound basis, bacteria, those one-celled organisms that float in the air, stick to surfaces, or float on water, account for most of the life on planet earth. There is almost no area of this planet, save for the polar ice caps, that aren’t free of fast-moving and fast spreading bacteria. Be that as it may, most of the time, skin-borne bacteria doesn’t pose a risk to humans.
Usually, you have nothing to worry about. Unless you have a cut or some sort of opening on your skin, or you have a compromised immune system, your body takes care of these microbial infections. In fact, you don’t even notice it.
Believe it or not, if you scratch your skin hard enough, there are microscopic tears that appear in the skin. These can be entry points for microbes.
In many cases, microbes do get in there but your body’s immune system does a great job in neutralizing the threat. You don’t even notice it. You just feel a little bit itchy or a slight sting, and that’s pretty much it.
Unfortunately, just like with your body’s other systems, sometimes your immune system gets weakened and your belly button gets infected.
If you notice that there’s a change in your belly button, pay attention. This tells you that there is something wrong with your body. Inspect it with your finger or maybe use a cotton swab. Look for any type of smelly odor, discoloration, secretion, or liquid. Usually, pus or a smelly odor is a signal of infection. Other symptoms include slight changes in the color of the skin tissue in that area, tingling, or itching.
Keep in mind that when you itch, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin is infected. Skin naturally itches from time to time. But if it ‘s constant or severe, then you know that there is probably a problem. Also, if you notice that there is swelling around your belly button area, that can be a sign of infection.
In rare cases, belly button infection also causes upset stomach. This means that the infection has gotten into your gastrointestinal system. Other symptoms include dizziness, fever, and vomiting.
What Are the Causes of Belly button Infections?
Belly button infection really boils down to bacterial exposure. Harmful bacteria found its way to your belly button. The most common method for this, of course, is touching.
Your hands actually carry a lot of bacteria. In the course of a day, you touch a lot of surfaces. These surfaces, like door handles, tabletops, and tops of chairs and seats have been handled by other people. This is how bacteria is passed on from person to person.
What spreads infections is the fact that people don’t think twice about touching the surface of their work area or their seat at a public space. They don’t think much of it. Little do they know that their fingers already contain bacteria and other microbes. When they touch their belly button, the bacteria is transferred.
Depending on the pH level of your belly button skin area and its relative hygiene level, as well as other factors, the bacteria might spread quickly and result in an infection.
This doesn’t happen all the time. In fact, in most cases this doesn’t happen at all. But if you were to have the unfortunate lucky of suffering from all the “ideal” conditions of topical skin infections in your belly button area, you can get infected by simply just touching your belly button with dirty hands.
Piercing is also another common cause of belly button infection.
Generally speaking, if you want to avoid this part of your body getting infected, you simply have to work on your hygiene. The common threat between piercing and touching as pathways of belly button infection is inappropriate hygiene. If you don’t wash your hands enough times during the day, you don’t shower enough, and you use really tight clothing, this can create the ideal conditions for skin infections that lead to your belly button getting infected.
With that said, there are steps you can take to treat belly button infections.
Treating belly button skin infections is pretty straightforward. The secret is to focus on the stage of the infection. Is your skin just irritated? Is it itchy? Or is there an open sore or a cut on the surface? Is your skin puffed and do you see pus at the top?
Depending on the state of the infection, you can use home remedies. Or, you might need to see a doctor after you try home remedies.
Your first treatment should be to use topical creams containing antibiotics. These are generally available at corner drugstores. It’s not a hassle to get these. Apply these creams to the affected area and see if the infection goes away after a few days. When first treating belly button infections, use alcohol to clean out the area and then apply antibiotic topical creams.
If your belly button’s skin tissue is not visibly infected but is itchy and irritated, you might want to try warm salt water solution. This might kill off enough bacteria to provide some relief. You might also want to apply Indian lilac to the affected area.
Keep the tips above in mind if you have a belly button infection. If you want to avoid belly button infections, the answer is simple: Practice appropriate hygiene. Shower at least once a day. Make sure that you clean out your belly button with alcohol or some other antiseptic agent. By staying clean, you protect yourself from developing this fairly rare skin infection.