Belly button rash

A belly button rash can develop due to a variety of reasons such as bacterial infections of the navel or surrounding skin, allergic reactions, different underlying conditions, etc. Belly button rash can be mild or severe. It may be accompanied by symptoms like discomfort, redness, itching, scaling, discharge, inflammation, and swelling. If the issue does not get resolved in a couple of days, then patients need to seek medical attention for diagnosis and effective treatment.

Causes of  rash around belly button

Some of the common causes of a belly button rash are listed below:

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  • Bacterial infections: Different types of bacteria can infect the belly button and result in soreness, redness, and pain along with discharge of white matter or bleeding. People with severe instances of bacterial infection of the belly button may suffer from nausea and vomiting.
    • Belly button rash may also be caused by fungal infections which typically arise if the belly button remains moist.
    • Bathing in polluted or impure water and/or touching the belly button with dirty or unwashed hands can increase the risk to pathogenic infections and eventual formation of belly button rash.
    • Another common cause of belly button rash/infection is piercing of the navel, typically carried out as a fashion statement. Incorrect aftercare or improper piercing of the belly button can make it vulnerable to infections. An infected belly button due to piercing will initially cause bleeding and then discharge of pus. Patients are also most likely to experience pain in the region.
    • Allergic reactions: Belly button rash can also form due to exposure to varied allergens. Some people tend to have extra sensitive skin and can suffer from allergic reactions after contact with metals such as nickel, etc., or with foreign matter such as a new laundry detergent or a new skin cream. Contact dermatitis is the most common type of belly button rash that develops due to allergic reactions. Patients need to consult a dermatologist or a skin specialist for diagnosis and treatment of this belly button rash. Avoiding contact with allergic agents is the best way to prevent the development of belly button rashes.
    • Psoriasis: It is a skin condition characterized by formation of discomforting, prickly, itchy, red patches on the skin. Such abnormal patches can be thick or thin. Mild cases of psoriasis-associated thin belly button rash-patches can be treated with varied creams. Thick patches of belly button rash are treated with topical medications containing vitamin D and anti-inflammatory content. Doctors may also sometimes prescribe injections to treat the condition.


Delayed or untreated cases of belly button rash infections can result in serious complications, as listed below:

  • The infection can spread and migrate to other areas of the body. It may reach the abdomen and cause food poisoning.
  • Delay in treating a belly button rash can lead to formation of abscess. Prolonged negligence can cause the infection to complicate into life-threatening health situations.
  • Negligence can result in continuous body aches all across as well as high fever. In such instances, the patient may be need to be hospitalized for preventing any additional damage.


It is important to seek medical attention in all cases of belly button rash, especially if it is accompanied by inflammation, swelling, soreness, and scaling. Complications of a belly button rash usually arise when affected individuals fail to take proper medical remedial measures.

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  • Severe cases of belly button rash that arise due to infections are typically treated with a heavy dose of antibiotics.
  • Patients may use non-prescription antiseptic creams or other OTC topical medications on the affected areas only after consulting a doctor.
  • People who want to pierce their belly buttons need to ensure beforehand whether or not the ring or other jewelry contain nickel or other allergic metals, and avoid them. It is also recommended to never remove the piercings on your own, but to seek professional help, before the wound has healed completely; else the wound can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Belly button rash can be cleaned daily by using a solution of warm water and some salt. Use a cotton ball and gently dab the affected region with the saline solution. Doing so will help decrease the swelling and drain away the pus. Use another cotton ball to wipe off the resultant discharge. Now, use another cotton ball dipped in an antibacterial solution to wipe the area clean. Finally, dry the region with a dry and clean paper towel.
  • Following proper personal hygiene can help prevent infections and belly button rash. It is vital to clean the belly button region on a daily basis. The navel region is sensitive; hence, ensure that you do not scrub it too hard or for too long when cleaning it. Make sure that no water remains in the belly button after a bath or a swim.

 Belly button rash pictures

Here is how the rash look around the belly button in children, women and men

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