Diagnosis of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain

Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Characteristic of Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain-

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

1. Acute Belly Button Pain

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

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

  • Dull continuous pain.
  • Pain lasts for 1 to 2 days.

B. Skin Infection-

  1. Boil or furuncle- severe pain and skin purulent discharge is observed.

C. Injury-

  • Blunt Trauma.
  • Penetrating injury.

D. Appendicitis-

  • Intensity- Severe pain.
  • Character of pain- Stabbing and burning pain.
  • Coughing and sneezing- Intensity of pain increases with coughing and sneezing.
  • Associated symptoms- Pain is often associated with nausea, vomiting and constipation.
  • Fever- Infection associated with Appendicitis is causes fever.

E. Umbilical Hernia-

  • Strangulated or obstructed umbilical hernia-
    • Severe pain
    • 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
  • Non-obstructed belly button hernia-
    • Dull to moderate pain
    • The herniated swelling is soft and often non-tender bulge
    • Swelling can be reduced by gentle pressure over the swelling
    • Swelling is increased while straining or sneezing.
    • No fever

F. Duodenal Ulcer

  • Symptoms-
    • Umbilical pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Hematemesis- Blood may be observed in vomitus.
  • Signs-
    • Tender abdomen when examined

G. Mesenteric Artery Ischemia

  • Symptoms-
    • Umbilical- stabbing severe pain
    • Diarrhea with nausea and vomiting
    • Palpitation
    • Dehydration
    • Rapid breathing
  • Signs-

2. Chronic Belly Button Pain

Chronic Belly Button Pain lasts beyond 6 months.

A. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Symptoms-
    • 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.
  • Signs-
    • No swelling or bulge over belly button observed.
    • No signs of inflammation observed over belly button.

B. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Diverticulitis Transverse Colon

  • Symptoms-
    • Burning Pain- On and often burning pain of moderate to severe intensity.
    • Colic Pain- Occasional colic pain.
    • Fever
    • Bleeding Rectum
    • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Signs-
    • 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.

C. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Celiac Disease

  • Symptoms-
    • 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.
  • Signs-
    • 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

D. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Colon Cancer

  • Symptoms-
    • 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
  • Signs-
    • Firm to hard mass is felt under umbilicus
    • Tenderness

E. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Crohn's Disease

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

F. Chronic Belly Button Pain Due to Ulcerative Colitis

  • Symptoms-
    • 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
  • Signs-
    • Pale and anemic
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Nails- clubbing
    • Pulmonary embolism.

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

  • 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, irritating bowel disease and colon cancer
    • Paralytic Ileus- Colon cancer and ischemic mesenteric syndrome.
  • CT scan or MRI of Abdomen for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain
  • Endoscopy for Belly Button Pain or Umbilical Pain
    • Duodenoscopy- Bleeding duodenal ulcer.
    • Colonoscopy- Colon cancer, diverticulitis, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and Irritable. bowel syndrome.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 28, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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