Belly button infections are quite common and are generally of two types; fungal or bacterial.
Due to the fact that the navel (belly button) is deep, dark, and damp, it tends to be a good breeding site for fungi and bacteria. Furthermore, soap, sweat, and other debris that are deposited in the navel cavity can exacerbate fungi or bacteria growth in the navel.
Factors that can make you susceptible to belly button infection include; diabetes, navel piercing, obesity, excessive exposure to harmful UV rays, and sebaceous cyst.
Common symptoms of belly button infections include; pain, pus-like discharge, and redness.
Below are tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with belly button infection;
- Avoid touching, picking, or scratching the infected belly button as that could exacerbate the infection.
- If you are going for a belly button piercing, ensure you follow all the aftercare guidelines.
- Avoid exerting pressure on the infected belly button while sleeping.
- Include foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and zinc as such foods hasten the healing process. Also, include garlic in your diet.
- Cut down your consumption of sugar and sugary products.
- Avoid swimming until the navel infection is gone as the chlorine in swimming pools is not good for the healing process of the navel.
Below are various home remedies to treat a belly button infection;
1. Warm Compress
Bacteria and viruses find it difficult to thrive in hot environments. A warm compress works a dual remedy; it inhibits the growth of microorganisms as well as provides relief from pain and inflammation. For this remedy, simply soak a cotton cloth in medium-hot water and place it on your belly button. Leave it a few minutes until it gets cold. Reapply 3-4 times a day until you get rid of the infection.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that help to fight pus-filled cysts. Moreover, it balances the pH and reduces swelling. If your belly button has a brownish/yellow discharge, dilute one tbsp of hydrogen peroxide with two tbsp of water and rub on the problem area. Continue applying 2-3 times a day until you get rid of the infection.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) works as a disinfectant by preventing the infection from spreading further. It also helps to reduce the irritation thanks to its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. This remedy is straightforward. Just apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad and rub it on your belly button. Since it can make the skin dry, you should not use it more than two times a day.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil possesses numerous healing properties. It reduces itching and kills the infection-causing germs. Besides that, coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids which exhibit potent antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. To reduce swelling, put a few drops of coconut oil on your fingers and dab on the belly button.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has natural antimicrobial properties that help to fight fungus and bacteria. It also works as an anti-inflammatory by reducing the pain and redness on the skin. First, mix 3-5 drops of tea tree oil with one tsp of coconut/olive oil. Next, dip a cotton cloth and apply on your belly button. Allow it to work for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off. Continue applying the mixture three times a day until you get rid of the infection.
Garlic is used as alternative medicine in the treatment of skin conditions including eczema, acne, blisters, psoriasis and belly button infection. It also helps to eliminate pain and swelling on the affected area. To curb the infection, apply some garlic oil on the belly button, allow it to penetrate into the skin for 15-20 minutes and then wash off with warm water. You can also get rid of the infection internally by including garlic in your meals, salads, and breakfast bowls.
This yellow powder contains curcumin compound which inhibits the growth of microorganisms by working as a natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic agent. It’s especially effective when redness, inflammation, and itching accompany the belly button infection. To treat a belly button infection with turmeric, make a thick paste by mixing one tsp of turmeric powder with water and then apply to the affected area. Rinse it off after 30-45 minutes. You can also speed up the healing by including the spice in your meals.
8. Lavender Oil
This essential oil has natural soothing properties that help to relieve any discomfort that comes with a belly button infection. Simply dip a cotton pad in lavender oil, and then rub it around the navel. Continue applying 2-3 times a day until the infection clears. Unlike other essential oils, lavender oil is easily absorbed into the skin.
9. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has about 200 active constituents, a number of which exhibit antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Additionally, aloe vera has a soothing effect on the skin which makes it effective in relieving pain and inflammation. To curb the belly button infection, extract the gel from aloe vera and apply to the infected area. Allow it to dry naturally and then clean it off.
10. White Vinegar
White vinegar is acidic in nature which helps to balance the skin pH. Not only that, it prevents the bacteria from spreading. If there is a discharge that accompanies your belly button infection, mix white vinegar with water in the ratio of 1:2, soak a muslin cloth into the solution and then use the damp cloth to clean the area. Continue using this diluted vinegar remedy up to three times a day until the infection clears.
11. Indian Lilac (Neem)
Neem kills the fungus and bacteria that cause the infection. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which help to alleviate the itching and swelling that comes with the infection. For this remedy, grind some neem leaves to make a paste and apply on the problem area. Allow it to work for 20-30 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water. Alternatively, mix one tsp of neem oil with a carrier oil (olive oil/coconut oil) and apply on the infected part.
Calendula flowers have soothing properties which makes them effective in relieving any discomfort around the navel. Also, being an antibacterial, they speed up the healing process. To heal the infected skin, extract the juice from 3-4 calendula flowers and apply it on your belly button three times a day. Alternatively, apply calendula ointment/lotion as directed by your physician.
13. Clean Your Belly Button
If you want to prevent the growth of bacteria on your navel, you should keep your navel clean. Before you start cleaning the area, you should disinfect your hands with antibacterial soap. After that, apply your cleaning solution to a cotton swab and then wipe your belly button gently. You can also clean the infected area with a mild soap, pat dry and then apply some cream or lotion. Make sure you only use water-based ointments because other types may block the skin pores.
14. Black Tea
Black tea is loaded with tannins which help to destroy the disease-causing organisms. Black tea also works as an astringent by forming a protective layer on the affected region. Plus, it helps to alleviate the itching and swelling. To use this remedy, soak a black tea bag in water for 15-20 minutes, wring the extra water, and then apply the damp tea bag on your belly button. You can also soak the infected region in black tea to inhibit the infection.
15. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil inhibits the microbes that cause the infection and, most importantly, relieves the inflammation. Simply blend 3-5 drops of peppermint oil with one tsp of coconut oil and apply on your belly button. Allow it to work for 15-20 minutes and then wipe the excess oil with a soft tissue.
16. Grapefruit Seed Extract
GSE is a broad spectrum antibiotic that helps to treat numerous skin conditions. Before you use this extract on your skin, you should dilute with some water. Then, dip a cotton ball and apply on your belly button. You will see some positive results in one week.
17. Manuka Honey
Besides its amazing soothing properties, honey works as a natural antiseptic. It inhibits the growth of microorganisms by controlling the skin pH. Manuka honey has more potent antibacterial activity compared to the conventional honey. To treat belly button infection, apply some honey on the infected area and leave it for 10-15 minutes. After that, clean it off with warm water. You can also use natural honey if you have broken skin or crusty sores.
18. Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is loaded with probiotics (lactic acid bacteria) which help to fight yeast and bacteria that cause infection on your belly button. Just dip a cotton cloth in unsweetened yogurt and apply on the problem area. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes, rinse with warm water and pat dry. Apart from the aforementioned external application, you should consume one glass of yogurt on a daily basis. This remedy would not only treat the skin infection but would also supply the “good” bacteria (probiotics) to the guts.
19. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps to balance the skin pH and reduces the re-occurrence of infections. Baking soda also relieves the itching, swelling, and foul smell from the belly button. For this remedy, mix one tsp of baking soda with some water, spread gently on your belly button and then rinse off after 30 minutes.
20. Antibiotic Creams
You can treat fungal and bacterial infections with antibiotic creams/ointments. With so many brands out there, you should ask your doctor to prescribe specific medications. Some creams will provide quick relief from the infection.
21. Maintain A Proper Diet
Besides lifestyle choices, a poor diet can trigger the risk of getting a belly button infection. That being said, you should consume foods rich in zinc, vitamin C, and antioxidants to boost your body’s immunity. Apart from that, avoid sugary foods which may encourage the growth of bacteria and yeast.
22. Avoid Tight-Fitting Clothing
Tight clothes can make you scratch the belly button. In addition to that, they allow dirt and sweat to accumulate in the infected area. You could also opt for loose cotton wears and avoid synthetic fabrics and elastic bands that may trigger or exacerbate belly button infections.
23. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel works as an astringent. It does not only speed up the healing process but also reduces pain and inflammation that comes with the infection. For this remedy, mix equal amounts of witch hazel with water. Next, dip a washcloth into the solution and clean your belly button thoroughly. Once done, dry any remaining solution with a dry cotton wool.
This perennial herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat wounds, burns, and other skin infections. It’s especially effective in treating a stubborn belly button infection that is accompanied with discharge. Chamomile also relieves itching and inflammation thanks to its powerful soothing effect. To brew chamomile tea, steep one chamomile tea bag in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes. Let it cool a little and then apply the warm bag on your belly button. To speed up the healing, use this remedy twice a day.
25. Warm Salty Water
Salt works as an antibacterial agent while warm water increases the blood flow around the affected region. Furthermore, salt water would allow the wound to dry out without destroying the good cells. To prepare your saline solution, dissolve half a tsp of salt in a cup of water. Then, dip a cotton cloth into the solution and clean your belly button with the moist cotton cloth. You can also buy a ready-made saline solution from your local drug store.
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