Everything You Need to Know About Belly Buttons


Belly Buttons and Their Different Types

It may seem comical, but there are many different types of belly buttons out there! Your navel, a remnant from the attached umbilical cord that is severed at birth, can have many different variations that go far beyond simple “innies” and “outies.” So let’s discuss some of the different types and how they often form.


1. Protruding

Known as an “outie,” a protruding belly button forms on roughly 10 percent of the population and occurs when the remaining portion of your umbilical stump stays protruded instead of sinking inward.


2. Deep Hollow

A deep hollow belly button is traditionally noted when the belly button forms a shadow underneath its upper fold. This form of belly button often looks like a mouth and can even form a funnel-like shape for those with excess abdominal fat deposits.


3. Vertical

It is also known as a “split” belly button because it looks like an up and down split. Vertical belly buttons usually have a small hood on the top and can even resemble a lower-case letter “I.” This form of belly button is the most common in individuals.


4. Horizontal

Regarded as a “T-type” belly button, the horizontal belly button has most of its fold horizontally, with a depression at the top that makes it appear like a letter “T.” This button type differs from a deep hollow belly button due to its top portion of skin almost completely covering the inner section.


5. Round

Round belly buttons closely resemble “outies,” but it doesn’t have any additional hooding or covering and generally appears as a rounded shape.


6. Light Bulb

As you might have guessed, a light-bulb-shaped belly button looks like a light bulb, with a small hood at the top and a tapering oval shape as it travels downward.


What Determines Your Belly Button’s Shape?

The belly button is the remnants of your umbilical cord. This cord that allows nutrients, oxygen, and food to travel from the mother to the child is severed upon birth. Once the cord has been cut, the remaining stump is clamped. After a few weeks, this stump generally falls off, leaving behind your navel. The shape of this process will inevitably determine how your navel forms.


What Doesn’t Affect the Shape?

There may be misconceptions about how belly buttons form and what affects how they appear. To clear the air once and for all, let’s take a look at some of the rumors. Belly button shapes have nothing to do with:


  • The result of how your doctor clamped the cord
  • How parents cared for the stump once it had been cut and clamped


What Causes a Belly Button to Smell?

We don’t talk about it much, but it happens! Belly buttons can stink. But what causes it? Most of the time, the folds of the belly button can allow for the growth of bacteria. Normally, this isn’t an issue, but this bacterial growth can occasionally become too much, resulting in an unpleasant smell. Additionally, infections can cause odors. Some things that can cause unpleasant belly button odor are:


• Candida

Candida is a yeast that is present on the skin. Usually, it does not cause problems, but occasionally it can multiply on warm, moist skin. If this occurs, it can result in a fungal infection.

Candida normally only affects the mouth and throat but is also known to affect regions like the armpits, the groin, and the vagina.


• Cysts

Another common cause of odors around the belly button is an infected cyst. A cyst is a lump of tissue beneath the skin that normally does not cause pain. However, pus may come from cysts, resulting in unpleasant odors and belly button pain.


How to Clean Your Belly Button

Since we’ve talked about how belly buttons are formed and the issues surrounding them, let’s discuss how to keep them clean!

It goes without saying that keeping up a healthy bathing habit will keep unwanted bacterial growth away. Regularly washing your belly button will prevent the growth of bacteria and will help remove germs. To ensure that this is done correctly, use a clean washcloth and soap and clean around and inside the opening. If you’re the owner of a belly button piercing, you may want to remove it during this process. Once that’s complete, you’ll want to fully dry the belly button to prevent any additional bacterial buildup.

Failure to properly clean your belly button can result in some nasty medical conditions such as:


1. Yeast infections

The buildup of yeast can cause immense odors and further infections if left untreated.


2. The buildup of Omphaloliths

The growth of dead skin cells and sebum – the oil secreted by your skin – can result in Omphaloliths or navel stones. These stones are essentially made up of the same materials as blackheads and may need to be removed with tweezers.


Busting Belly Button Myths

Despite the availability of the internet and a worldwide swath of human knowledge, many medical myths persist throughout society. Some of these are innocent, while others have caused significant issues with patients. So let’s take a look at a few of the myths surrounding belly buttons:


• Does pregnancy change your belly button?

Pregnancy does occasionally cause extra pressure on your belly button. This pressure can essentially cause an “innie” to become an “outie.” However, this condition typically reverts once the baby is born and pressure has been removed.


• Do belly buttons affect temperament?

There is no medical data to suggest that the shape of your belly button has any effect whatsoever on your emotional temperament.


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