Belly button infections are a very common problem that can affect people of any age, including infants. This type of infection can be one of two types – bacterial or yeast.
Since the belly button is deep, damp and dark, it is a favorable breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Sweat, soap and other substances deposited in the navel cavity can aid bacterial growth and cause an infection.
Its symptoms are redness, mild pain, and green or gray discharge. A yeast infection in the belly button occurs as a result of overgrowth of yeasts that leads to symptoms like redness, swelling and discharge.
Other causes and contributing factors that may be responsible for belly button infections include poor hygiene habits, surgery involving the belly button, belly button piercing, diabetes, sebaceous cysts, exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays, and obesity.
Irrespective of the cause, home remedies can help treat the problem. Also, you can follow some preventive measure to avoid the infection.
Here are the top 10 ways to treat a belly button infection.
1. Warm Salt Water
A belly button infection can be treated with warm salt water. The heat from the warm water will help increase blood flow to the infected area, while the salt will help absorb the moisture inside the belly button to aid healing. Plus, it will act as a disinfectant.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water and mix it until the salt dissolves.
- Dip a cotton ball in this solution and use it to clean the infected area, then carefully pat dry.
- To further combat the infection, apply an over-the-counter, water-based antibacterial cream.
- Repeat once or twice a day until the infection is gone.
You can also purchase a ready-made saline solution from most drug stores.
2. Keep the Affected Area Clean
To promote healing and prevent further growth of bacteria in the belly button, it is essential to keep the affected area clean and dry.
To clean the area, you can use an antibacterial soap while taking a shower or bath. After your bath, dry the affected area thoroughly and dab some water-based antibacterial cream or lotion, 2 or 3 times daily until the infection clears up.
It is recommended to use a water-based ointment because the moisture from other types of ointments can block the skin pores and obstruct in skin breathing.
3. Warm Compress
If the infection hurts, you can try using a warm compress to relieve the discomfort. The heat from the warm compress is effective in easing the pain and it will also aid healing.
- Dip a washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess water.
- Place the warm cloth on your belly button for a few minutes.
- Repeat several times a day to reduce pain.
You can also try a warm shower to alleviate the discomforts of a belly button infection.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another effective natural cure for a belly button infection, whether it is caused by yeast or bacteria. This essential oil has antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
- Mix 4 or 5 drops of tea tree oil in 1 teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil.
- Use a cotton ball to apply it on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, then wipe it off with a tissue.
- Follow this treatment 2 or 3 times daily until the belly button looks healthy.
5. Rubbing Alcohol
To clean the affected area, you can also use rubbing alcohol. Its antiseptic property will sterilize the infected area and prevent the spread of infection. It will also provide relief from the irritation and pain.
- Put a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
- Rub it onto the affected area and leave it on.
- Reapply several times a day for several days.
6. White Vinegar
To stop discharge from an infected belly button, white vinegar is very effective. The acidic nature of white vinegar will fight infection and even prevent it from spreading.
- Mix 1 part of white vinegar with 2 parts of warm water.
- Soak a cotton swab in this solution and apply it on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse it off with warm water and pat dry the area thoroughly.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily until the infection is gone.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can be used to help heal a belly button infection. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can ease pain and promote quick healing.
- Cut open an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
- Apply this gel on the belly button and allow it to dry on its own.
- Clean the area with a wet tissue and pat dry with a soft towel.
- Repeat several times a day until the infection is gone.
Turmeric can also be used to keep belly button infections at bay. It is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent that can heal as well as prevent infection.
- Prepare a paste with a little turmeric powder and water. Apply this paste on the affected area and leave it on until it dries. Wipe it off with a tissue and keep the area dry. Do this 2 or 3 times a day to reduce pain and prevent the infection from spreading.
- You can also mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little honey in a glass of hot milk. Drink it daily before going to bed to promote internal healing.
Calendula herb contains hydrating, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help sooth itching and irritation from infected belly buttons. Also, this herb supports healing.
- Crush 2 to 3 calendula flowers or leaves and extract the juice. Apply the juice topically onto the infected area. Do this 2 or 3 times a day for a few days.
- If fresh calendula is not available, you can use calendula lotion or ointment. Apply it on the infected belly button as directed.
10. Indian Lilac
Be it yeast or bacterial infection that affects, Indian lilac, also known as neem, can definitely help a lot in treating it. Neem has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and itching and prevent further spread of infection.
- Make a paste of a few neem leaves and apply it onto the affected area. You can also add a little turmeric powder. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Pat dry thoroughly. Do this twice daily for several days.
- You can also add a few drops of neems oil to 1 teaspoon of olive oil or any other carrier oil and apply on the affected area for quick healing.
- Do not pick or scratch an infected belly button as it can worsen the condition.
- Avoid swimming for a few weeks as the chlorine in the pool is not good for an infected belly button.
- Use cotton balls or swabs instead of a cloth when cleaning or applying treatments as a cloth can spread the infection.
- Do not constantly touch the infected area.
- Include garlic in your diet as it is considered highly effective in preventing infection.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin C, zinc and antioxidants to promote healing.
- Do not put pressure on the infected area when sleeping.
- Take steps to control high blood sugar levels.
- Follow all aftercare guidelines if you get your belly button pierced.
If the infection does not show signs of improvement after a week, consult a doctor immediately.