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Diagnosis of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain: Acute Pain, Chronic Pain

Characteristic of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain-

Diagnosis of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain: Acute Pain, Chronic Pain

What is Acute Belly Button Pain?

Belly Button Pain or Umbilical is known as acute pain when pain lasts for less than 6 months in duration.

Causes of Acute Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain

Pain Caused by Continuous Pressure Over Belly Button (Tight Pants)-

  • Dull continuous pain over belly button area.
  • Pain over belly button area lasts for 1 to 2 days.

Skin Infection-

Boil or Furuncle– Severe pain and skin purulent discharge is observed.


  • Blunt Trauma.
  • Penetrating Injury.


  • Intensity- Severe pain.
  • Character of Pain- Stabbing and burning pain.
  • Coughing and Sneezing– Intensity of umbilical pain increases with coughing and sneezing.
  • Associated Symptoms- Pain over belly button or umbilical pain is often associated with nausea, vomiting and constipation.
  • Fever- Infection associated with Appendicitis causes fever.

Umbilical Hernia-

Strangulated or Obstructed Umbilical Hernia-

  • Severe pain around belly button or umbilicus
  • Infection and ischemic changes observed in strangulated hernia
  • Skin over the hernia looks purple and tender
  • Skin over herniated bowel may be warm because of infection of the bowel
  • Touch and examination of hernia results in severe intractable pain around belly button or umbilical region

Non-obstructed Belly Button Hernia-

  • Dull to moderate pain over belly button or umbilicus
  • The herniated swelling is soft and often non-tender bulge
  • Swelling can be reduced by gentle pressure over the swollen area
  • Swelling around the belly button or umbilicus is increased while straining or sneezing.
  • No fever
  • Duodenal Ulcer
  • Umbilical pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hematemesis- Blood may be observed in vomitus.
  • Tender abdomen when examined

Mesenteric Artery Ischemia

Metabolic Acidosis-

Chronic Belly Button Pain

Chronic Belly Button Pain lasts beyond 6 months. Patient suffering with chronic belly button pain or umbilical pain have shown minimum response to treatment.

Causes of Chronic Belly Button Pain

Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Colic Pain- cramping abdominal pain
  • Bloating- Feeling and gas defecation
  • Pressure Over Umbilical Area- Moderate increase in pain intensity.
  • Vomiting- Pain Associated with Vomiting
  • Diarrhea- Pain Associated with Diarrhea.
  • Stool- Contains Mucus.
  • No swelling or bulge over belly button observed.
  • No signs of inflammation observed over belly button area.

Diagnoses of Chronic Belly Button Pain Caused Due to Diverticulitis Transverse Colon

  • Burning Pain– On and often burning belly button pain of moderate to severe intensity.
  • Colic Pain- Occasional colic pain.
  • Fever
  • Bleeding Rectum
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Skin Discoloration- None
  • Swelling of Belly Button- None
  • Inflamed Belly Button- None
  • Pressure Over Umbilicus- Pain intensity does not change. Increased pain intensity following pressure over umbilicus.

Symptoms to Diagnose Chronic Belly Button Pain Caused Due to Celiac Disease1

  • Malabsorption- Malabsorption syndrome causes multiple vitamin deficiency like Vitamin A, B12, D, E and K
  • Anemia- B12 deficiency anemia
  • Colic pain- Severe colic pain on and often
  • Joint pain– Multiple joints pain.
  • Weight loss– Continuous diarrhea and loss of appetite results in weight loss.
  • Fatigue and Weakness- Nutritional deficiency causes symptoms like fatigue and weakness.
  • Anemia- Megaloblastic Anemia caused by B12 deficiency
  • Delayed puberty- Hormonal imbalance is influence by metabolic, nutritional and vitamin deficiency, which results in delayed puberty.
  • Increased pain intensity following pressure over umbilicus
  • Pain associated with Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Osteoporosis– Calcium and Vitamin D deficiency causes brittle bone resulting in osteoporosis.
  • Steatorrhea- Stool is pale and greasy.
  • Mouth Ulcer– Multiple painful ulcers develop in mouth because of nutritional and vitamin deficiency.
  • Abnormal Coagulation- Bleeding and clotting time is abnormal because of vitamin k deficiency resulting in abnormal coagulation.
  • Growth Failure
  • Abnormal Liver Function Test
  • Hypothyroidism

Characteristics of Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Colon Cancer

  • Colic Pain- Pain associated with cramps and gas in the colon.
  • Bleeding- Rectal bleeding.
  • Constipation- Bowel obstructions results in constipation.
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Increased pain intensity following pressure over umbilicus
  • Pain associated with vomiting
  • Firm to hard mass is felt under umbilicus
  • Tenderness

Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Crohn’s Disease2

  • Umbilical colic pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Pain associated with Vomiting
  • Blood in stool
  • Multiple bowel ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • Arthritis
  • Eye inflammation

Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Ulcerative Colitis3

  • Umbilical pain
  • Diarrhea- blood and mucus
  • Nutritional deficiency- Weight loss
  • Vitamin deficiency- B12 deficiency anemia and Vitamin K deficiency causing abnormal blood clotting
  • Fever
  • Multiple ulcers in the mouth
  • Pale and anemic
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Nails- clubbing
  • Pulmonary embolism.

Lab Tests and Radiological Studies to Diagnose Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain4

  • Blood Examination for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain
  • Anemia- Low hemoglobin observed in Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, bleeding duodenal ulcer and colon cancer
  • High White Blood Cells- Ischemic mesenteric artery syndrome, obstructed umbilical hernia, diverticulitis.

Stool Examination for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain

  • Blood in Stool- Colon cancer, bleeding duodenal ulcer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis and irritating bowel disease
  • Mucus in Stool- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • X-Ray for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain
  • Gas in Bowel- Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease and colon cancer
  • Paralytic Ileus- Colon cancer and ischemic mesenteric syndrome.

CT Scan5or MRI of Abdomen for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain

  • Diverticulitis
  • Cancer of colon
  • Ischemic bowel disease
  • Endoscopy for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain6
  • Duodenoscopy- Bleeding duodenal ulcer.
  • Colonoscopy- Colon cancer, diverticulitis, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and Irritable bowel syndrome.


  1. Celiac Disease. Taylor AK1Lebwohl B2Snyder CL3Green PHR4., GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2019.2008 Jul 3 [updated 2019 Jan 31].
  2. Acute abdominal pain in patients with Crohn’s disease: what urgent imaging tests should be done? Marazuela García P1López-Frías López-Jurado A2Vicente Bártulos A2., Radiologia. 2019 Feb 13.
  3. Patient With Ulcerative Colitis and Abdominal Pain. Castelli AA1Estrada JJ1Kaminski JP1., JAMA Surg. 2018 Mar 1;153(3):282-283.
  4. Evolution in clinical presentation of inflammatory bowel disease over time at diagnosis: a multicenter cohort study. Nahon S1Ramtohul T1Paupard T2Belhassan M1Clair E1Abitbol V3., Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Oct;30(10):1125-1129.
  5. CT Enterography score: a potential predictor for severity assessment of active ulcerative colitis. Jia Y1Li C1Yang X2Dong Z1Huang K1Luo Y1Li X1Sun C3Feng ST4Li ZP5., BMC Gastroenterol. 2018 Nov 9;18(1):173.
  6. Patient self-reported symptoms using visual analog scales are useful to estimate endoscopic activity in ulcerative colitis. Tsuda S1Kunisaki R2Kato J1Murakami M1Nishio M2Ogashiwa T2

 Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 10, 2021

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