What Is Umbilical Endometriosis?

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In rare circumstances, endometriosis lesions like endometrial tissue can grow inside the belly button (umbilicus). The medical term for this condition is umbilical endometriosis, estimated to occur in only about 1% of endometriosis cases.

Primary umbilical endometriosis occurs when endometrial-like tissue grow spontaneously in the belly button. The cause is unknown; however, one theory is that endo-like cells implant near the scar tissue that creates the belly button. Another is that cells left over from a baby's development as a fetus stay behind and later develop into umbilical endometriosis.

Secondary umbilical endometriosis is diagnosed only when there has been previous surgery on the abdominal area. Any surgical entry to the belly area, such as laparoscopic appendix removal or cesarean delivery (C-section), can spread microscopic endo-like cells to new places.

This article discusses umbilical endometriosis, its symptoms, belly button pain, and more.

A close up of a woman holding her abdomen near her belly button

Laurence Monneret / Getty Imagges

Endometriosis is a very common condition. About 10% to 15% of people who menstruate live with it. However, having umbilical endometriosis is very rare.

Umbilical Endometriosis: Belly Button Symptoms

Umbilical endometriosis has several common symptoms, including:

  • Slight swelling or a lump at the belly button during a menstrual period
  • A lump that may be hard to see or that is a brown or blue discolored area
  • Pain at the belly button that comes and goes, often with your period
  • Bleeding at or near the belly button

Many skin conditions have similar symptoms as belly button endometriosis. A healthcare provider can check for these conditions to help determine your diagnosis.

Umbilical Lesions Coinciding With Typical Endometriosis Symptoms

It is possible to have endometriosis in multiple locations in the body. Typical symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Pain throughout the abdomen and pelvis
  • Heavy periods with lots of bleeding
  • Spotting (bleeding between periods)
  • Difficulty or pain when using the bathroom (both urine and stool), including diarrhea and constipation
  • Difficulty getting pregnant (infertility)
  • Swelling in the belly area (bloating)
  • Tiredness or fatigue

Symptoms may just affect your belly button, or you may have endo symptoms along with belly button bleeding, pain, or other problems. Symptoms may appear similar to other causes in the early stages, so seek medical attention if you have new or worsening symptoms.

About one-third of women with umbilical endometriosis also have pelvic endometriosis. More research may be needed because umbilical endometriosis is rare, and it can be challenging for experts to collect enough data for accurate estimates.

Is Belly Button Pain During Your Period Umbilical Endometriosis?

There are many possible causes of belly button pain. Belly button endometriosis can cause pain that varies with your menstrual cycle, or you may have pain throughout the month.

Endometrial lesions at or around the belly button may be made of tissue similar to the endometrium (the uterine lining). Hormones stimulate the endo and endo-like tissue to grow during the menstrual cycle, and the tissue rich in blood vessels can swell and put pressure on the abdomen. Endo-like areas tend to bleed during your period, and the extra blood cannot escape from the abdomen.

A healthcare provider may recommend checking for belly button endometriosis, depending on your symptoms and health conditions.

When to See a Healthcare Provider 

Consult a healthcare provider if you notice:

  • A new or worsening lump on the skin at or near your belly button
  • Bleeding or drainage from your belly button
  • Pain at or near your belly button, especially if it gets worse
  • Redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation or infection at your belly button
  • Fevers, chills, or other signs of infection

Umbilical endometriosis is not a type of cancer. Scientists continue to research if there is a link between endo and cancer, but there is no proof of any relationship. It's difficult to collect accurate data for umbilical endometriosis due to the rare occurrence of this condition.

Who Treats Umbilical Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a benign condition, but some people seek treatment due to difficult symptoms like pain or heavy bleeding. Endometriosis can impact fertility, so people also seek treatment for that reason.

If you have pelvic endometriosis, you will likely be referred to a gynecologist for treatment. Healthcare providers may prescribe hormone therapy to address the condition, including when it occurs in the belly button. Some gynecologists specialize in treatment options for endometriosis.

Surgical removal of the belly button and nearby endo-like tissue is considered a safe and highly recommended treatment.

A few theories about how endometriosis develops are being studied by the medical community and include:

  • Retrograde menstruation: Period blood flows out the fallopian tubes at the top of the uterus instead of through the cervix and then the vagina.
  • Dissemination by way of the lymphatic system or blood: Viable endo cells could travel to other areas of the body through the lymph system or blood vessels.
  • Surgery: Procedures could cause endo-like cells to travel to atypical areas of the body.
  • Sex hormones: Hormones such as estrogen could prompt metaplasia, which is the replacement of one cell by another.
  • Ineffective immune system: The immune system may fail to find and remove endo-like tissue outside of the typical areas.

Surgical Removal of Umbilical Endometriosis 

Healthcare recommendations include surgical removal of umbilical endometriosis as the best way to treat this condition. In most cases, the belly button and a small amount of surrounding tissue are removed. The goal is to cut out all of the endometrial-like tissue.

Belly button reconstruction may be offered to recreate the appearance of a navel. Your surgical team will discuss options with you and help determine whether this can be done during the original surgery or requires a second procedure.

The removed tissue is sent to pathology for evaluation by specialists to confirm that the abnormal area is endometriosis and not another condition. Recurrence of umbilical endometriosis is rare; less than 5% of people say it returns.

Recovering From Laparoscopic Umbilical Endometriosis Excision

In most cases, laparoscopic surgery is a same-day procedure. You will receive sedation, so you will need a driver to take you home afterward. Even though you may go home the same day, anesthesia and surgery can be stressful for your body and emotions. Allow extra rest and recovery time.

You may be asked to limit activity and how much you lift. The goal is to keep the skin of the surgical area as close together as possible so it heals quickly and thoroughly.

It is normal for the surgical area to be sore for a few days to a week due to the inflammation caused by surgery. You may have dressings or bandages on the surgical area. Follow any instructions about cleaning the area and changing the dressings. You may also have limitations about when you can shower or bathe.

Watch for any signs of infection at the surgical site, such as redness, increased or unusual drainage, swelling, or pain. Follow up with a healthcare provider if you have generalized signs of infection, including fevers and chills.


Umbilical endometriosis is rare, but it is one possible cause of bleeding and pain at your belly button. For many people, the symptoms cycle with the menstrual period. A healthcare provider can provide a diagnosis and refer you for treatment. Surgical removal is the gold standard for treatment, and once the belly button endo is removed, it is rare for it to return.

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