Navel & Abdominal Pain


Since the navel (or belly button) is in the center of your abdomen, pain from both the navel and abdomen itself will have the same symptoms and causes. There are several accompanying symptoms and possible causes for this pain, from something as simple as gas or as serious as appendicitis. These symptoms can be minor or severe. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing severe pain.

Sandy belly of a woman at the beach
Sandy belly of a woman at the beach (Image: NA/ Images)

Navel and Abdominal Pain

Any pain you experience around your navel could be an indicator of a more serious abdominal condition. According to Health Blurbs, “if you are experiencing intense, sharp pain with tenderness around your belly button, you need to seek medical attention immediately.”

Woman with abdominal pain
Woman with abdominal pain (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Describing the Pain

Abdominal or navel pain can be acute or chronic, and can be described as crampy, burning, gnawing, dull, intense, intermittent, progressive, sharp or steady. The pain can be located anywhere in the abdominal region.

Woman in bed with stomach ache
Woman in bed with stomach ache (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)


There can be many causes of abdominal or navel pain, including appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix); bowel blockage or obstruction; cholecystisis (inflammation of the gall bladder); chronic constipation; diverticulitis (inflammation of an abnormal pouch in the intestinal wall); food allergy; food poisoning; heartburn; kidney stones; lactose intolerance; pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); and peritonitis (infection of the abdominal lining). Another potentially life threatening cause of abdominal pain could be an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta (the major artery leaving the heart).

Exams and Tests

In order to diagnose the cause of your abdominal or navel pain, doctors may perform the following tests: laboratory tests (including blood count, liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes and urinalysis), X-rays of the abdominal region, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, barium X-rays or a capsule enteroscopy. Endoscopic procedures that may be performed include an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), colonoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound or balloon enteroscopy.

Doctor examining abdomen of patient
Doctor examining abdomen of patient (Image: Keith Brofsky/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


The cause of the abdominal or navel pain will determine the course of treatment you receive. For example, if you are diagnosed with appendicitis, your doctor may need to surgically remove your appendix.

Microscopic image of a inflamed appendix
Microscopic image of a inflamed appendix (Image: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)


There are several things that you can do to prevent abdominal or navel pain. These include avoiding fatty or greasy foods, drinking a lot of water, eating smaller meals, exercising regularly, limiting foods that produce gas and making sure that you sit up straight for at least 30 minutes after you eat to avoid heartburn.

Man eating greasy snack food
Man eating greasy snack food (Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

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