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The belly button, also known as the umbilicus in medical terminology, is the central part of the abdomen. The stomach, intestine, pancreas, and a portion of intestine are the organs that are located in the umbilical region.

What may cause pain in the umbilical region?

There are several disorders that typically cause pain in the umbilical region. The most common factors that cause pain in the umbilical region include:

1. Hernia

The protrusion or dislocation of an organ is called hernia, and the process during which this happens is called herniation. There are several types of hernia. Hiatal hernia, umbilical hernia, and inguinal hernia are commonly seen. Femoral hernia and some other types of hernia are also seen in some patients, but these types of hernia are very rare.

A sharp pulling pain in the belly button is indicative of umbilical hernia.

Common signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of umbilical hernia is a pulling sensation or pulling pain in the umbilical region. The pain is worsened when the muscles are stretched. This fact may restrict the patient's movement. Hernias can be symptomless on occasion. In this case, a hernia may be diagnosed accidentally during a routine examination.

Diagnosis and treatment

Hernias are diagnosed through a clinical evaluation and imaging studies which include abdominal x-ray films and ultrasound. Some blood tests may be required to rule out infections, hyperacidity, and other medical conditions.

The treatment of choice for hernias causing symptoms is surgical correction. Surgery is highly effective and the risk of complications is very low.

2. Appendicitis

The appendix is a part of the large intestine located in the right lower abdomen (also known as the right iliac fossa in medical terminology). The inflammation of the appendix is called appendicitis. People may develop appendicitis at any age but young males are more likely to develop this order.

Appendicitis is a true surgical emergency and must be treated immediately after evaluation.

Signs and symptoms

The early signs of appendicitis include:

- Pain in the umbilical region (which later radiates to the right lower abdomen)

- Moderate to high fever

- Nausea and vomiting

- Loss of appetite (if a person is eating, it is not appendicitis)

The symptoms keep worsening over time and eventually culminate in intolerable abdominal pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of appendicitis is totally on a clinical basis. A special scoring system, the Alvarado score, is used by the surgeon to evaluate the patient for surgery.

Surgical removal of the inflamed appendix is the definitive treatment. Any kind of delay in the treatment may result in severe complications.

Pain in the umbilical region is not very common. It should be kept in mind that pain upon stretching can also be simple muscular pain that is relieved by using muscle relaxants or painkillers. Besides that, increased levels of acid in the digestive system can also cause pain in the umbilical region.

Visiting your doctor is the best idea.

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