Belly button infection has become very common amidst people from all age groups, including infants. Infections can of two types – bacterial or yeast. Belly buttons are a favourable breeding ground for yeast and bacteria because they are deep, damp and dark. Deposition of sweat, soap and other substances overtime in the navel cavity leads to bacterial growth and thus causes an infection.
Symptoms of this infection include green or grey discharge, redness and mild pain. An overgrowth of yeasts leads to a yeast infection that also shows symptoms like discharge, redness and swelling.
There are many other causes of belly button infections like:
- Poor hygiene habits
- Sebaceous cysts
- Exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sun rays
- Surgery involving the belly button
- Belly button piercing
Following are some ways to treat belly button infection:
1. Warm Salt Water
Warm salt water can be extremely effective in treating a belly button infection. It naturally provides the heat that helps in increasing the blood flow to the infected area. The salt present in the warm salt water also helps in the absorption of the moisture inside the belly button which hastens the process of healing. Warm salt water even acts as a disinfectant.
- Take 1 cup of warm water and add 1 teaspoon of salt to it
- Mix the salt in the water until it completely dissolves.
- Take a cotton ball and dip it in the solution
- Use this cotton ball to clean the infected area
- Make sure to carefully pat dry the area afterwards.
- The application of an over-the-counter, water-based antibacterial cream can be even more effective
- Repeat once or twice a day until the infection is gone.
A ready-made saline solution can be easily purchased from drug stores and used as well.
2. Cleaning the affected area regularly
In order to promote healing and make sure that the growth of bacteria does to occur again in the belly button, keeping the affected area clean and dry is very important.
Antibacterial soap can be used while taking a shower or bath to clean and disinfect the belly button area. It is very important to make sure that you dry the affected area thoroughly after your bath.
Dab some water-based antibacterial cream or lotion after drying the area and repeat this 2 or 3 times daily until the infection clears up.
A water-based ointment is highly recommended because the moisture present in other types of ointments can lead to blocking of the skin pores and obstruction in skin breathing.
3. Warm Compress
A warm compress can help in relieving the discomfort if the infection hurts. A warm compress naturally emits heat that can be very effective in easing the pain and the heat also helps in hastening the process of healing.
- Take a washcloth and dip it in warm water
- Wring the wet washcloth to release excess water.
- Place the warm cloth on your belly button for a few minutes.
- Repeat several times a day to reduce pain.
A warm shower can also be very effective in alleviating the discomforts of a belly button infection.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has proven to be a very effective natural cure for a belly button infection. It is beneficial in treating belly button infections whether it is caused by yeast or bacteria because it contains anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
- Take 4 or 5 drops of tea tree oil and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil to it.
- Take a cotton ball and dab it in the oil solution
- Use the cotton ball to apply it to the affected area.
- Leave the oils on for 10 minutes
- Clean the area by wiping it off with a tissue.
- Repeat this process 2 or 3 times daily until the belly button looks healthy.
5. Rubbing Alcohol
The use of rubbing alcohol on the affected belly button area can be effective as well because it contains antiseptic properties. It thus sterilises the infected area and further ensures the prevention of the infection spreading. Additionally, it also provides relief from the irritation and pain.
- Take a cotton ball and put a small amount of alcohol on it.
- Rub it onto the affected area and leave it on.
- Repeat this several times a day for many days.
6. White Vinegar
White vinegar is very effective in order to stop the discharge from an infected belly button. It has an acidic nature which helps in fighting infection and preventing it from spreading.
- Make a solution by mixing 1 part of white vinegar with 2 parts of warm water.
- Take a cotton swab and soak it in this solution
- Apply this cotton swab on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Clean it off by rinsing it with warm water
- Make sure to pat the area dry thoroughly afterwards.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily until the infection is gone.
7. Aloe Vera
The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of Aloe vera helps in easing the pain and promoting quick healing.
- Take an aloe vera leaf and cut it open to extract the gel.
- Apply this gel on the affected belly button area
- Leave it on to dry on its own.
- Clean the area with a wet tissue and pat it dry with a soft towel.
- Repeat several times a day until the infection vanishes.
Turmeric is a highly effective natural ingredient that ensures belly button infections are kept at bay. Being a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent, turmeric can heal as well as prevent infection.
- Make a paste by taking little turmeric powder and adding water to it.
- This paste should be applied on the affected area
- Leave the paste on until it dries.
- Clean the area by wiping it off with a tissue and make sure to keep the area dry.
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day so as to reduce pain and prevent the infection from spreading.
- Additionally, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey can be added to a glass of hot milk.
- Drinking this daily before going to bed promotes internal healing.
There are many properties present in Calendula like hydration, anti-inflammation and antiseptic. These properties help in soothing itching and irritation caused by infected belly buttons. This herb also hastens the process of healing.
- Take 2 to 3 calendula flowers or leaves and crush them to extract their juice
- Apply this juice to the infected area
- Repeat this 2 or 3 times a day for several days
- In case fresh calendula is not available, you can also use calendula lotion or ointment
- Apply it to the infected belly button as directed
10. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac or Neem is definitely effective in treating belly button infections whether they are caused by yeast or bacteria. Pain is majorly reduced along with itching and further spread of infection is prevented due to the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of Neem.
- Take a few Neem leaves and make a paste out of them
- Apply this paste to the affected area.
- You can also add a little turmeric powder to the Neem paste.
- Leave the paste on for 20 minutes
- Clean it by rinsing it off with warm water.
- Make sure to pat the area dry thoroughly.
- Repeat this twice daily for several days.
- Alternatively, add a few drops of neem oil to 1 teaspoon of olive oil or any other carrier oil.
- Apply this on the affected area for quick healing.
- Completely avoid picking or scratching an infected belly button because it can worsen the condition.
- Don’t swim for a few weeks because the chlorine in the water of the pool is harmful to an infected belly button.
- Avoid using a cloth when cleaning or applying treatments because a cloth can spread the infection. Use cotton balls instead.
- Avoid constantly touching the infected area.
- The inclusion of garlic in your diet can be highly effective in preventing infection.
- Consume foods that are rich in vitamin C, zinc and antioxidants because they promote healing.
- Avoid putting pressure on the infected area when sleeping.
- Control high blood sugar levels.
- Follow all the aftercare guidelines properly after getting your belly button pierced.
Consult a doctor immediately if the infection does not show any sign of improvement after a week.