Because the urachus is found between the belly button and the top of the bladder, diseases of the urachus can appear anywhere in that space.
In newborns and infants, drainage or “wetness” of the belly button that does not go away can be a sign of a problem. The most common problem at the belly button is a granuloma. This is an area that is reddened because the base of the umbilical cord stump did not heal correctly.
Sometimes the area can be very red even after the umbilical cord stump comes off. Dabbing a small amount of alcohol on the site twice a day will often lead to full healing in 2 to 3 days. If the redness does not go away or gets worse, talk to your health care provider.
There can also be urachal issues without wetness. About 35% of these problems are from an enclosed or infected urachal cyst. This type of problem is seen more often in older children and adults. Instead of visible belly button drainage, the signs are:
- Lower belly pain
- A lump that can be felt
- Pain with voiding (urinating)
- UTI (urinary tract infection)
- Blood in the urine (Hematuria)
Other Health Issues around the Belly Button
There have been a few reports of other problems causing pain and swelling with the umbilical cord. These include infections of the remnant blood vessels. Also, the vitelline duct, between the belly button and the small intestine, sometimes has its own remnant problems. Sometimes a health problem like appendicitis or an ovarian cyst can mimic some of the signs of urachal problems.