Why Does My Belly Button Smell Bad?

Why does my belly button stink? How to clean my belly button properly?

These are some of the most common questions that many people ask their dermatologists. Some people have bad odor that is coming from the navel. What does it mean? Well, there are different factors that may cause this problem.

If you also notice that an unusual smell comes from your navel, also called a belly button, this article will be very useful for you. We will tell you which are the most common causes of your belly button stink and how to treat it properly.

Causes Of a Smelly Belly Button

Have you ever wondered why your belly button smells bad? If your belly button smells like poop, cheese or fish or there is just a mild foul smell that is coming from your navel, it means that you have an infection or it is a sign of poor hygiene.

As we have already said, a bad smell that is coming from belly button may have different meanings. It could be a fungal infection, a piercing healing, a wound developing, bacterial infections, etc. A bacterial infection is usually caused by buildup of dirt and sweat, which attracts bacteria. Sometimes belly button odor may also be the result of yeast infection and healing surgeries.

It is also possible that bruised belly button skin starts producing a foul smell.

Yeast or Fungal Infection. Yeast or fungal infections are usually accompanied with bad belly button smell. Candida albicans is a fungus that lives in warm and moist areas such as a belly button hole. This fungus is known to cause foul odor or stink. Other symptoms of belly button infection are pain and the liquid discharge that may also smell awful.

Bacterial Infection. Bacterial infection inside a belly button also causes a foul stink and discharge. If the area inside your navel is unwashed, bacteria will start to grow and it will cause a warm sensation. This problem usually happens to people who have innie belly buttons. If you don’t wash your belly button regularly, the bacterial infection will become worse and you will experience pain and discomfort.

Diabetes. One of possible causes of smelly discharge from your belly button may also be diabetes. Studies have shown that diabetes may worsen the navel health. It can lead to a smelly discharge from the navel and it can also be very painful.

Piercing. It is also known that people with belly button piercings usually have this problem. Their belly buttons smell bad because piercings may be infected before they heal. It will also cause bleeding and forming wounds in the navel. People with this problem usually have symptoms such as moistening and warmth in the belly button. If there is a bad navel smell accompanied with discharge, it means that you have an infection. Navel piercing wound may turn into abscess or crusty scab especially on the part of the ring. You may also experience an itchy feeling around the piercing. In this case it is necessary to seek a medical help.

Bad Belly Button Smell After Surgery. It is known that many surgical procedures may leave scabs on the skin. Navel surgeries such as tummy tuck or laparoscopy are sometimes followed by infections and discharge. However, if there is unpleasant smell from your belly button even a few months after a surgery, there could be sutures that should be removed. In this case it is necessary to consult your surgeon as soon as possible.

Bad Belly Button Smell In Pregnancy. Some women have a bad belly button smell while pregnant. In this period the metabolism of the body increases and pregnant women sweat more. If a belly button is not cleaned well, you might end up with a foul stink coming from it. Also, when a woman is pregnant urine drains from the fetus into a mother’s bladder through the channel that is called urachus. A foul smell and a liquid discharge that come from a belly button may be caused by the condition that is called patent urachus. During pregnancy it is also possible to have a bleeding belly button. There are also women who have stinky belly buttons during period.


If your belly button is painful or itchy and if it produces a discharge that smells bad, you should visit your doctor. In order to treat it properly, you have to know the underlying cause.

If you have a bacterial infection inside your belly button, there are some tips that may help you. It is necessary to use soap when washing your belly button and to rinse it thoroughly.

Also, you should always clean your belly button hole after exercise in order to prevent accumulation of sweat. Sweat will encourage bacterial activity and it will result in a stinky belly button. You should also dry your navel well after showers because moist areas are perfect for bacterial growth.

If you have a piercing in your belly button, it is necessary to clean regularly the area inside and around your belly button. You can use alcohol or antiseptic in order to prevent the infection to spread.

There are also some home remedies that may help you in treating a belly button that smells awful. Some of the most effective home remedies are aloe vera, warm salt water, tea tree oil and alcohol. Salt water or a saline solution is very effective in preventing this uncomfortable condition. It will absorb any moisture around you navel area and it will prevent bacteria to grow and spread. It is also recommended to use warm compresses if there is a pain inside your belly button area. Also, if your navel is red or sore, warm compresses may be helpful.

Tea tree oil is one of the best home remedies for a bad smell of belly button. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help in healing belly button infections.

Doctors will also recommend you rubbing alcohol on the affected area. You just need to dip a clean cotton ball and rub it inside and around your navel. It is recommended to repeat this process twice a day in order to remove a foul smell of your belly button. It is best to avoid applying creams and lotions to your navel. If you use soap, you should use the one specialized for babies and you should also rinse it well. There are many antibacterial topical creams and also antifungal creams and medications that may help you get rid of a belly button stink. In the case of patent urachus, the surgery will be necessary.

How To Clean Your Belly Button?

In order to clean your belly button, you need to prepare some of these items: water, baby oil, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Dip a cotton swab in a cleaning solution and start poking around in your navel.

When you are done, you should take a clean swab and clean out any remaining cleaning solution. When your belly button is dry, take some Neosporin cream and rub it gently around your navel.

If you have a piercing, you should use salt water to clean your belly button. Don’t take out your piercing too often because it will cause bacteria to get in.

Also, you should not take out your new piercing until it is completely healed.


As you have seen, a smelly belly button is a common condition and it can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor hygiene, yeast and fungal infections, piercings, pregnancy, diabetes, post-operative period, etc. It is necessary to determine the root cause of this condition in order to treat it properly. There are many home remedies that can help you get rid of a bad smell of your belly button. You can use warm compresses, aloe vera, tea tree oil, salt water, alcohol or some other natural remedies. There are also many topical creams and gels that can prevent bacterial and fungal infections which are the main cause of your belly button stink.

However, the most important thing is to keep your belly button clean and to wash it on a daily basis. If you notice that the problem is not going away or if it becomes even worse, it is necessary to see your doctor as soon as possible. He will give you a proper diagnosis and treatment.