Dr. Dean

Why Does My Belly Button Hurt?

Posting Date: 05/03/1999

E-mail question: Whenever I clean my belly button, I get a deep itching. The more I try to clean, the more pain I experience.

Dr. Dean: Well, if you're digging around, your groin could be responding to the pressure. What could be going on is what we call referred pain.

In embryos, the ovaries and testicles start out in the same place. The male's testicles move down to the scrotum through a little hole, and the nerves are carried with them. So that's why, when a man gets hit in the testicles, he feels it up higher, in his abdomen.

Conversely, if you poke things in your belly button, you will feel a sensation in your groin.

I can't tell you how many how many faxes and e-mails we get from people talking about pus in their smelly bellybuttons. The answer to my question - "Do you use cotton-tip applicators to clean your belly button?" - is always, "Yes, of course!" as if this were some hygiene rule.

Don't stick anything in your belly button.

A cotton-tip applicator will leave a little fiber in belly button. The fiber will cause an infection that you can't get rid of because you have a foreign object embedded in there.