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Why Does My Belly Button Hurt?

When combined with other symptoms, belly button pain can indicate a larger issue. Discover the cause of your pain and find out how to treat it here. Pain around the belly button is also called periumbilical pain. It can feel like pain that’s in or around the belly button. However, the pain can also go beyond the belly. The pain might feel from sharp to dull. It may also be constant, or it may

  • Posted on 24th May, 2022 21:30 PM
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Pain around the belly button is also called periumbilical pain. It can feel like pain that’s in or around the belly button. However, the pain can also go beyond the belly. The pain might feel from sharp to dull. It may also be constant, or it may come and go.

Some of the potential causes of pain in and around the belly button include appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, hernia, infection, pancreatitis, pregnancy, or urinary tract infection.

This article will include common reasons for pain in the middle of the abdomen and what the pain may feel like. 

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Possible Causes of Belly Button Pain

There are several potential causes for periumbilical pain. Some are chronic (long-lasting), and others are acute (which come on quickly). They will be diagnosed in various ways and have different treatment types.

When to Get Immediate Medical Care

Abdominal pain that is severe and comes on suddenly is a reason to seek care right away. Other symptoms that can go along with abdominal pain and are a reason to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible include vomiting or diarrhea that won’t stop, blood in the vomit or stool, fainting or dizziness, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or fever.


A hernia is when there is a weakened area in the abdominal wall. Umbilical hernias are common and as many as 175,000 are repaired with surgery each year in the United States. 

A hernia may cause a bulge in the abdomen. It can also cause pain, which may feel sharp when coughing, sneezing, exercising, or stretching. The pain from a hernia around the belly button may also radiate down into the lower abdomen.

Hernias can be repaired surgically. Surgery may be open (with a large incision) or laparoscopic (with several small incisions). Most hernias are a simple repair, but some can become complicated or recur.

Hernia Pain

Hernia may cause pain, pressure, or a pulling feeling in the abdomen. There could also be a visible bump or bulge.

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness that causes inflammation in the body, especially in the organs of the digestive system (such as the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines). Crohn’s disease may cause pain in the abdomen, such as around the belly button.

It is also associated with several other chronic conditions, such as arthritis and psoriasis (a chronic inflammatory skin condition). 

Crohn’s disease may also cause many other symptoms, such as diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, blood in the stool, weight loss, and fatigue. It is treated with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, such as diet and stress reduction, and in some cases, surgery.

Crohn's Disease Pain

Crohn’s disease pain can be mild or severe and affect any part of the abdomen. It may be crampy in nature and be constant or come and go.


The appendix is a small organ that is attached to the large intestine. When the appendix is inflamed, it may cause dull pain around the belly button. This pain may become sharper and be felt in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen and/or the back.

Beyond pain, appendicitis may also cause symptoms, such as fever, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling, constipation or diarrhea, lack of appetite, and gas.

Appendicitis Pain

Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of abdominal pain. The pain is on the right side and it is constant—it tends not to stop or to come and go. 


Pregnancy can cause abdominal pain, which is both normal and abnormal. A common cause of pain in the abdomen during the second trimester of pregnancy is round ligament pain. The round ligament is between the uterus (womb) and the groin. It stretches during pregnancy to accommodate the expanding uterus.

This pain could be sharp and might be in the middle of the abdomen or on either side of it. It tends to last only a few seconds. It might happen while laughing, coughing, standing up, or during other sudden movements.

Pain in pregnancy that is severe or lasts or is accompanied by vaginal bleeding is a reason to call the healthcare provider and/or seek care immediately.

Round Ligament Pain

Round ligament pain is sharp, comes and goes quickly, and isn’t usually associated with other signs and symptoms.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Infections in the urinary bladder are common. They can occur in people of any sex or age. Uncomplicated infections can cause burning pain during urination, a need to urinate more often, urine that smells bad, and bloody or cloudy urine.

Lower urinary tract infections can cause abdominal pain in the lower pelvis. If the infection moves up into the kidneys, it can cause pain in the upper abdomen or on either side and in the back (where the kidneys are located). Other symptoms may include fever, nausea, or vomiting.

UTI Pain

UTIs may cause abdominal pain, but the symptoms of urinary pain/urgency may set it apart from other causes of abdominal pain.

Bacterial Stomach Infection

One type of bacterial infection, called gastroenteritis or the “stomach flu,” may cause abdominal pain. The pain tends to be crampy and come and go. This type of infection might go away by itself in a few days to a week.

Another type of stomach infection is caused by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). The bacteria overgrow and cause symptoms such as dull or burning pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and indigestion.  

A third type of infection might be caused by bacteria that are found in spoiled food or infected water. 

Stomach Infection Pain

Stomach pain from an infection is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as indigestion, vomiting, or diarrhea. For contagious bacterial infections, which spread easily from person to person, it’s often clear when there’s an outbreak that it is the cause of the symptoms. 


The gallbladder is a small organ that is next to the liver. Gallstones are a common problem that can cause abdominal pain. The pain is often in the abdomen's middle or upper right. It can also occur in the back or the right shoulder.

Gallstones can also cause nausea and vomiting. However, gallstones can also occur without any symptoms. 

Gallstone Pain

Pain from a gallstone may be severe and could last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.


Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is next to the stomach and the first section of the small intestine. 

The pain of pancreatitis comes on suddenly and can start out dull and get more intense over time. It may also radiate towards the back. There can also be symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

Pancreatitis Pain

Pancreatitis pain comes on suddenly and may resolve in a few weeks with treatment. It is most often caused by gallstones but can also be associated with an infection or an immune-mediated condition.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

It can be difficult to know when to see a healthcare provider for abdominal pain. Severe pain, especially with vomiting or diarrhea that won’t stop, dizziness, fainting, or blood, is always a reason to seek care right away.

For chronic or ongoing conditions like Crohn’s disease, pain may come and go, so it’s important to understand when your healthcare provider wants you to call them about symptoms.


Abdominal pain can be from many causes, some of which are chronic and some of which might need care immediately. It’s important to see a healthcare provider about the troublesome or worrying pain. Severe pain that comes on suddenly is a reason to seek emergency care.

A Word From Verywell

Abdominal pain is a common reason for people being seen in the emergency room. Some causes can be treated easily, but others may be more serious. Keep track of pain and other symptoms to help your healthcare provider determine the cause.

A digestive specialist (gastroenterologist) may be the healthcare provider that is best suited to diagnosing and treating abdominal pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why do I have belly button pain and bloating?

    There are many reasons for belly button pain and bloating. If the pain can’t be tracked to food, such as spicy or fatty foods, or eating a large meal, there might be another cause.

    Infections are a common cause of pain in the abdomen. Severe or long-lasting pain is a reason to see a healthcare provider to find out the reason for the pain and get treatment.

  • What are the most common reasons for belly button pain?

    Some of the most common causes are infection (stomach, appendix, or urinary tract), food poisoning, hernia, or gallstones. 

  • When should I see a healthcare provider about belly button pain?

    Pain that is severe, doesn’t go away after 30 minutes or so, or is accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as fainting, bleeding, fever, or nausea or vomiting that won’t stop are reasons to see a healthcare provider.

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