Everywhere on your body, small microorganisms and fungi live and thrive on dead skin cells. These fungi do not give you any infections or cause any discomfort themselves, however, if for any reason the fungi multiply, they will become a fungal infection.
Fungal infections on the skin commonly occur in areas with hair and/or skin folds such as armpits, the skin below the breasts and the navel.
Navel fungal infections cause a rash like symptom that’s red, itchy and may resemble eczema. The navel may also become red in general and feel quite sore. Skin fungal infections are also like dandruff and skin psoriasis diseases as scaly skin flakes may accompany them.
Some discharge or skin flakes may work their way out of the navel, and the skin will feel irritated around the area. The red, flaking skin can spread around the navel and is clearly visible against the surrounding healthy skin.
The eczema-like skin can swell and itch intensely. Small blisters that develop into open sores may also occur.
Along with the red, irritated and possibly peeling skin, one of the symptoms of navel fungal infections is a foul odour. The odour occurs because the navel (inside the belly button) is a good hiding spot for the bacteria that live on your skin without being washed away.
Your navel is a very isolated place on your body; a place where bacteria can thrive without you realising. The body is filled with bacteria. Some live in dry areas, some in greasy areas, and some thrive in damp environments.
The skin folds of the belly button and navel form a moist environment; the perfect conditions for the fungi to live in. The navel is to fungi what water is to a fish. In this moist environment they can thrive. The moist environment in the navel gives the otherwise harmless fungi a huge boost, so the fungi multiply and create an imbalance of the skin’s normal bacterial balance.
This causes a navel fungal infection. The hot and humid environment of the navel is a paradise for fungal growth and a common reason why you get navel fungal infections.
The fungi can also create an infection if you have poor personal hygiene. If you do not wash your navel regularly, the fungal bacteria can multiply. However, insufficient drying of the navel after washing or partaking in sports is another major reason why fungal infection occur in this area. Sweat and water moisture are both nourishing for the fungi, encouraging them to grow and spread.
A weakened immune system is another reason why you may be prone to navel fungal infections. If you have an auto-immune disease, or are physically or mentally stressed, it will adversely affect your immune system.
This means the white blood cells may no longer function effectively and will stop fighting against foreign bacteria that infect your body. When this happens, your skins natural bacterial balance may be skewed, allowing the fungi to penetrate your skins outer layer with enzymes.
Navels come in many shapes and sizes, some navels are outer bumps and easy to keep clean, while others lay flat or go deep internally. You can get a navel infection no matter what shape your navel is. This applies to children, adolescents, adults and the elderly: everyone can get a fungal navel infection.
However, there are some groups of people who have increased chances of developing a fungal infection. Athletes who sweat excessively over a long period of time are one such group. The navel is a skin fold that can hold onto the sweat to create a moist and fungal-friendly environment.
Overweight people are another group that have increased chances, even if they are not physically active in the same way athletes are. If you are overweight, you have a greater tendency to sweat – even in your navel.
Furthermore, the flesh on the stomach forms rolls of fat deposits that can cover the navel and make it a moist bacterial heaven hidden away in the skin folds.
The third group are people on antibiotic treatments, as these encourage fungal infections to thrive. The purpose of taking antibiotics is to kill harmful bacteria.
The problem is, however, that the antibiotics cannot distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, and will therefore kill both. Once the good bacteria on your skin are gone, fungi have the chance to grow and infect.
The best way to treat growing navel fungi and other forms of skin disorders is to prevent them from reaching a real fungal infection stage. But how can you do that? Since fungus is especially prevalent in moist areas, it is especially important to focus on keeping the navel clean and dry. You can do this with the following advice:
- Be sure to wash the navel gently with a soap that fights bacteria. Wash every day.
- Thoroughly dry the navel after washing so that it remains dry and doesn’t become a centre for fungal bacteria to grow.
- Avoid lingering perspiration by washing and drying the navel after physical activities.
- Powder the navel with talc to keep it dry throughout the day.
- Change sports clothes regularly so that you don’t wear the same damp shirt that moistens the navel repeatedly.
- Wear loose clothing so that the skin in and around the navel can breathe, if the skin is always covered, moisture and sweat will form. Also, exercise in breathable jerseys that take sweat away from the body.
If you’ve got a red, sore and itchy navel accompanied by unpleasant odours, it may be a sign of a navel fungal infection. Whatever fungal infection it is, it won’t go away by itself – you need to act fast. Navel fungal infections must be treated to completely eradicate the infection.
You can do this with fungicidal ointments and creams from the pharmacy. In most cases, they will get rid of fungal infection completely, but in some cases, a tablet treatment is also required.
When should you seek medical advice?
If the symptoms do not disappear after two weeks of using the pharmacy bought ointments and creams, or if you have any doubts about the symptoms, consult your doctor. He or she will be able to examine the infected skin closer and use a simple skin scraper to give a better diagnosis.
In some cases, the fungi can survive the fungicidal cream and therefore it may be necessary to include tablets with the cream treatment to fight the infection both internally and externally.
Effective Gel Relief for Skin Irritations
If you’ve had a navel fungal infection before, you’ll know just how irritated and itchy the area becomes. However, you can soothe your skin with a Tea Tree Oil gel, based on active and natural ingredients that gently but effectively counteract your skin irritations. Australian Tea Tree Oil is known for its unique antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The gel helps your skin to stay healthy and clean.
The itchy, red and irritated skin will quickly be relieved by the active substance in the gel. You can rub the Tea Tree Oil gel into your navel even after the skin irritations have disappeared. This will help to counteract bacteria in the future that could cause skin irritation.