Usually, the belly button discharge will be a pale white, off-yellow, or light green color, and will kind of look like snot does when you have a cold.
As if you didn’t have enough bodily fluids to handle, here’s one more: belly button discharge.
Whether you have an innie or an outie, you’ve likely experienced the common phenomenon of belly button crust, says dermatologist Aditi Jha, M.D., head physician at online medical consultation company JustDoc.com.
That’s because your skin cells regenerate regularly, she says, and the old stuff is washed away when you bathe. But because some may get trapped in the folds of your belly button, it can accumulate as dried skin—with a feel and look that’s similar to crusty eye stuff you get overnight.
But if you’re dealing with something that’s more ooze than crunch, it could be a sign that something’s not right, says Dr. Jha. And if that’s the case, it’s not something you should pick at to try to determine what the heck is going on down there.
“It is strongly advised by all doctors to avoid meddling with the belly button, because it has the highest blood drainage in the body,” Dr. Jha says. “That means all abdominal veins converse from that point, so any infection in or around it could spread up far through the blood and become serious.”
Belly button discharge is never normal, she adds. So if you see something, get it checked by a doctor.
Most likely, it’s due to an infection, she says. That could come from abdominal surgery, but also from digging around too roughly in there to “clean it out.” Dr. Jha says that could cause abrasions or tears that let bacteria get into the area and then into your bloodstream.
Usually, the belly button discharge will be a pale white, off-yellow, or light green color, and will kind of look like snot does when you have a cold. It may also give off an unpleasant, sour smell, which is another sign of infection.
Other red flags include an itchy rash around your belly button, swelling, or pain.
In terms of potential causes of those symptoms, you might be dealing with a cyst in the abdominal area, or the effects of a procedure there like hernia surgery. In either case, get it looked at.
Now, you may have heard that belly button discharge can signal diabetes, but that’s really just a myth, says Dr. Jha. This may be because some research suggests there’s a link between high blood sugar and candida yeast infections—a condition that could, theoretically, affect the belly button area. But Dr. Jha says this connection is a stretch in actuality.
An infection is much more likely to be the culprit, she says. And if that’s the case, it will usually be treated with antibiotics. Just make sure you don’t let the ooze go on for too long. A delay in diagnosis can cause things like a bacterial infection or sepsis.