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What causes a swollen belly button?

A swollen belly button can be chronic such as a hernia of the belly button (umbilical hernia). This will be more apparent with heavy lifting, coughing, etc., another cause for a “swollen belly button” could be infection especially if a recent belly button piercing is present. This could be either an infection or allergic reaction to the metal. Infections usually are associated with swelling and smelling discharge from the belly button.

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Dr Paul M.

Senior Medical Staff Columnist


Dr Paul M. is a board certified surgeon with over 35 years of experience. He has held the title Chief of Staff at several hospitals and maintained a private practice for many years.