Pain below the belly button can occur for many reasons. It is most common in women during menstruation, and can be felt due to cramping. However, pain below the belly button can also be a sign of a UTI, pelvic inflammatory disease or constipation.
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome may report pain in this location, and it can also be felt with appendicitis, which will also present with constant, right-sided pain. Patients who suspect appendicitis should proceed immediately to a hospital to start treatment and prevent complications. Learn more about appendicitis pain and how to identify it.
If you notice pain below the belly button,, you should see your family doctor, a gastroenterologist or a gynecologist (for women) for assessment to identify the cause of the pain. Once a diagnosed is confirmed, treatment can be initiated, which may involve antibiotics and/or pain medication.
What causes pain below the belly button?
Pain below the belly button may be a sign of:
1. Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection, particularly a bladder infection, can cause pain below the belly button as well as lower abdominal heaviness, burning with urination, fever and blood in the urine. Learn more about UTI symptoms and check-out our online UTI symptoms checker if you suspect you may have an infection.
What to do: It is important to consult a doctor if you suspect you may have a UTI. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and other measures to help promote recovery. Read about the UTI medicine your doctor may prescribe, as well as home remedies for UTIs that you can use to compliment medical treatment.
2. Menstrual cramps
Menstrual cramps are the main cause of pain below the belly button in women. This pain is normally described as sharp, although intensity can vary from woman to woman. Some women may also report lower back pain and general malaise.
What to do: To relieve period cramps, women can take anti-inflammatories or analgesics, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve pain. You can also apply a warm compress over the area to help manage discomfort.
Very intense pain that presents with fever, intense headaches and nausea should be assessed by gynecologist to indicate more appropriate treatment.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also cause pain below the belly button, although this condition can also cause overall abdominal discomfort. In addition, patients will often report bloating, excessive gas and alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation.
What to do: You should see a gastroenterologist if you suspect you may have IBS. Treatment for this condition usually involves medications to help relieve symptoms as well has changes to dietary habits. Read more about the IBS diet that your doctor may recommend.
4. Ovarian cysts
Ovarian cysts are another common cause of pain below the belly button in women. Pain may be felt on both sides or just one side. Pain intensity can vary depending on the cyst size, and some women may present with additional symptoms, like a delayed period, excessive fatigue and pain during sex.
Read more about symptoms of ovarian cysts and complete our online symptom checker if you suspect you may have one.
What to do: Treatment for ovarian cysts depend on the characteristics of the cyst and whether it is growing. The doctor may recommend just monitoring, birth control changes or even surgery to remove very large, symptomatic cysts.
Dietary changes can also help to relieve symptoms in women with multiple cysts and promote overall wellbeing.
5. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition that is associated with genital infections that are left untreated. The microorganisms remains along the genital tract and multiplies, causing inflammation in the entire pelvic region.
Symptoms of this condition include pain below the belly button, fever, pain during sex, painful urination and discharge.
What to do: Patients are recommended to follow-up with their doctor for evaluation to confirm pelvic inflammatory disease and identify the bacteria causing inflammation. Once identified, the doctor can prescribe the appropriate antibiotics, which can be taken orally or administered through an IM injections.
Pain below the belly button that is related to constipation will usually be accompanied by abdominal discomfort, bloating and excessive gas.
If you are pregnant, read more about constipation during pregnancy and the symptoms that may present.
What to do: In these cases, dietary habits should be reassessed to ensure that fiber intake and water are consumed throughout the day. Check out a list of laxative foods that you can incorporate into your diet, as well as teas for constipation that you can prepare to promote bowel movements.
Appendicitis is a situation that can cause pain below the belly button, and is normally noted on the lower right side. This pain is acute and intense, and can appear with symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea and fever.
Read more about appendicitis symptoms and complete our online symptom checker if you suspect you may have appendicitis.
What to do: It is important to proceed immediately to the hospital if you notice signs and symptoms of appendicitis. If confirmed, the doctor will order surgical removal of the appendix to prevent further complications, like a rupture and generalized infection.