Q:

Why does my belly button itch?

A:

An intensely itchy belly button may be a sign of either a yeast or fungal infection of the skin, explains The Merck Manual Home Edition. Redness is usually present, and there may also be a discharge. The condition is treated with antifungal creams, powders or sprays.

The navel provides the perfect environment for yeast and fungus, according to MedBroadcast. It is dark and moist, two qualities that allow the organisms to proliferate. Risk factors involve a weakened immune system due to corticosteroid use and cancer therapies; antibiotic use; pregnancy; and poor hygiene. Diabetes and obesity are other risk factors.

Infections are diagnosed based on the appearance of the rash and any discharge present, states The Merck Manual Home Edition. If necessary, a doctor takes a sample of the skin cells and views it under a microscope to confirm the type of organism present. Sometimes, the organism is allowed to grow in a culture to determine what medication can effectively kill it. If the infection is localized to the belly button, an antifungal cream or spray is prescribed for treatment over several weeks. Infections affecting the navel that are part of a larger infection may be treated with oral medication over a much longer term. Home care involves keeping the skin dry and clean.

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