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Children's Health

Discolored belly button

06/29/2009

Question:

Hello - My son is 4 months old, and he has an "outie" belly button that is discolored. He is a happy baby and has been seen by the pediatrician who expressed concern by phone but is now less concerned after seeing him. The doctor originally mentioned an umbilical hernia at 2 mos but said there is no hole now. However, the coloring is not resolving, and if anything, it may be getting darker. (It may be helpful for you to know based on what I`ve read about umbilical hernias that we are white, and there is no discharge, vomitting, etc.) Any thing to watch for or other concerns? Should I get a second opinion?

Answer:

Most likely your health care provider was initially concerned that the intestine could have been trapped or incarcerated in the naval area. Discoloration under this circumstance, especially associated with warmth, redness and pain are a medical emergency. Other naval discoloration in the absence of pain, warmth, redness, and/or loss of skin are of much less concern. Monitoring of the area at your regularly scheduled well child visits should be adequate. Of course, as a parent, you have the option at any time to seek a second opinion. However, if your primary health care provider does not think it is medically necessary, I would encourage a "watch and wait" attitude at this time.

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Response by:

Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati