The Real Reason Your Belly Button Smells Bad

We all experience body odor from time to time. Whether it's the result of a sweaty workout, menstruation, a change in diet, or simply forgetting to put on deodorant that morning, most of us are no stranger to the natural aroma of the human body (via Healthline). One area that often gets overlooked as part of our regular hygiene routine is the belly button, and just like any other area of the body, it also needs care and attention to maintain physical health.

Though more commonly found in "innie" belly buttons, all belly buttons are prone to infection if not regularly washed (via LiveStrong). Any warm, moist environment is a prime spot for fungal growth and the belly button is no exception. Compounded with the inevitable buildup of sweat, germs, and dead skin cells, this naval nook can create a cozy home for bacteria to thrive (via Medical News Today).

Regular washing can prevent odor from bacterial growth

Though most bacteria is not cause for concern, infection is still possible and can result in a less than desirable odor (via MedicineNet). According to LiveStrong, some common descriptors used to describe the smell are, "cheesy, sour, or like poop." Other possible indications of infection can include swelling, redness, discharge, and blistering and may indicate the need to see a doctor (via UPMC HealthBeat).

Fortunately, belly button odor is generally pretty easy to take care of. Regular washing with warm water and soap can be an effective way to keep your belly button clean (via Huffington Post). In other words, a plain old shower will likely do the trick. UPMC alternatively suggests using a teaspoon of table salt and water to create a saltwater solution to help clean it out, especially if the source of the smell may be related to a new piercing. Lastly, try and avoid adding any additional moisture to the area through the use of body lotions, since further dampening of the area can increase the chances of bacterial growth.

The next time you're in the shower, spend a few extra moments lathering up the inside of your belly button, and odor should be a thing of the past.