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Belly button (clinically known as the umbilicus, colloquially known as the navel or tummy button) is a hollowed or sometimes raised area on the abdomen at the attachment site of the umbilical cord. All placental mammals have a navel.
Parts of the navel include the “umbilical tip”, which is the center of the navel often described as a button shape. The “periumbilical skin” surrounds it. Navels consisting of the umbilical tip protruding past the periumbilical skin have been nicknamed “outies”. Outies are often mistaken for umbilical hernias, but are actually a completely different shape with no health concern, unlike an umbilical hernia. The navel (specifically abdominal wall) would be considered an umbilical hernia if the protrusion was 5 centimeters or more. The total diameter of an umbilical hernia is usually 10 centimeters. Navels that are concave are nicknamed “innies”. While the shape of the human navel may be affected by long term changes to diet and exercise, unexpected change in shape may be the result of ascites.
There are many little things and signs your body sends when it comes to diseases. It is important to recognize these signs because they are symptoms of some diseases and can save your life.
This article will teach you how your navel shape can reveal if certain organs in your body function properly.
Protruded, like a Button
If your navel has this shape, you need to observe it in order not to become larger. If it is protruding more than usual, and you lifted something heavy lately, it is not normal and it is the first sign of hernia.
Small Bump Shape
People that have this naval shape are more prone to flu and viruses.
This navel shape may indicate problems with your digestive system. Also, in more cases, people with this navel shape have issues with weight. Also, it can result in constipation in some cases.
Belly Button that Looks like an Almond
People with this navel shape probably are suffering from a severe migraine and muscle and bone pain. Also, this navel shape can be a sigh of brittle bones.
Navel Bulge with a Shape Like the Letter U
People with this navel shape often have problems with skin and kidney diseases. Moreover, this navel shape can cause deformities in newborns
Talk about navel-gazing – a group of scientists at North Carolina State University has been studying the germs that inhabit our belly buttons as part of a study called the Belly Button Biodiversity project.
Sounds like an odd research project, but the belly button is the “ideal location” to study germs, says Jiri Hulcr, PhD, a postdoctoral research assistant who is heading the project.
“We’re trying to educate the public about the role bacteria play in our world,” says Dr. Hulcr. “Bacteria are always present on our skin and in our bodies. In fact, there are many, many more bacterial cells on and in our bodies than actual human cells.” (Each person carries about 100 trillion microbes; the human body contains about 10 trillion cells).
Unlike such body parts as the nose or armpits, the navel doesn’t secrete anything. Also, since most people tend to ignore their belly buttons — after all, you don’t scrub or exfoliate it like you do your face — navel bacteria tend to be untouched. “Believe it or not, the belly button serves as a good representation of the types of bacteria found on the body,” Hulcr says.
Good Germs and Bad Germs
The scientists so far have collected nearly 500 samples from belly buttons on cotton swabs, and posted magnified images of each person’s microbes on their Wildlife of Your Body Web site. You don’t need to be a biologist to notice that the cultures vary greatly from person to person.
So what types of bacteria inhabit our belly buttons? “All kinds!” says Hulcr, although his team has mostly found two common skin bacteria, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, which he says are, for the most part, “friendly.”
“We absolutely need bacteria in order to survive,” he says. “It’s like asking an animal who lives in a forest if he needs the trees. The presence of bacteria is not harmful — it’s only under certain conditions when these bacteria can be potentially unhealthy, like if someone has lowered immunity or a skin injury, like a sunburn.”
More Belly Button Facts
We asked Hulcr and other experts to tell us everything you never knew about your navel. Here, the top seven fascinating finds
Innies dominate – Hulcr’s team asked study participants whether they had “innies” or “outies.” Only 4 percent of those studied said they had outie-shaped belly buttons.
You can’t control whether you get an innie or outie – Technically considered a scar, belly buttons mark the connection of a mother’s umbilical cord to her fetus in the womb. “The cord serves as the unborn baby’s lifeline, providing her with vital food and oxygen and removing waste products like carbon dioxide,” says Karen Marie Jaffe, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist affiliated with the University Hospitals of Cleveland. The cord is clamped immediately after birth and the remnant eventually falls off to unveil the belly button.
Your belly button shape can change — under one special circumstance, pregnancy. “The expansion of the abdomen can cause some “innie” belly buttons to pop out and become outies, but most often, there is not much change in the structure itself,” says Dr. Jaffe. And after birth, the belly button often retracts to its former shape.
Hate your belly button? There’s surgery for that – Yes, people really do get elective plastic surgery to change the appearance of their belly button – it’s called umbilicoplasty, according to Richard Chaffoo, MD, president of the San Diego Plastic Surgery Society and chief of plastic surgery at Scripps Memorial Hospital, in Encinitas, Calif. “The popularity of low-rise jeans and midriff tops has lead to an enormous increase in the number of requests for belly button revision surgery in the past few years,” Dr. Chaffoo says.According to the most recent data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 8,000 umbilicoplasty procedures were performed between 2002 and 2005; 92 percent in women. Most people have the surgery to transform “outies” to “innies.”
There is an “ideal” belly button shape – According to University of Missouri researchers who showed pictures of various belly buttons to a group of men and women, a small, vertical, T-shaped navel with a little flap of overlying skin was deemed most attractive.Having an appealing belly button may make you a more attractive mate, according to Finnish scientist Aki Sinkkone, who published his hypothesis in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 2009.
Certain people are more prone to belly button lint than others – You’re more likely to have belly button lint if you’re male, older, hairy, and have an “innie”-shaped belly button, according to Australian researcher Karl Kruszelnicki, who surveyed nearly 5,000 people about their belly button lint. The lint is a mixture of pieces of clothing fiber that get trapped in your belly button and sweat, skin cells, and bacteria.As for smelly belly buttons, well, blame the abundance of bacteria growing in that confined space. “The cultures we analyzed eventually smelled like dirty socks!” says Hulcr.
Belly button, meet soap – Hulcr’s team reports that most people say they don’t wash their belly buttons very often. So what is proper belly button hygiene? “It’s not necessary to scrub it — just taking a shower is good enough,” he says.
Pause before you pierce – Belly button piercings take longer to heal (up to nine months) than other piercing sites (ear and eyebrow piercings heal in six to eight weeks), according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The long healing time can make the site vulnerable to infections; wearing tight clothing can increase the risk. The AAFP says getting pierced with a barbell instead of a ring can help reduce irritation and scarring (you can switch to a ring once the site has fully healed).
- Jelly” (mucinous ascitic fluid) in the belly is pathognomonic of pseudomyxoma peritonei.
- The cause is almost always a benign or malignant mucinous epithelial tumor of the appendix.
- Characteristically, the tumor coats but does not invade other intra-abdominal organs and rarely spreads beyond the peritoneum.
- In many cases, a striking clinical feature is a disparity between the prominent physical abnormalities and the patient’s general well-being.
- Typically, the clinical course is indolent and, with treatment, survival for 20 years or longer is possible.