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Tiny Red Bumps in the Belly Button

author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Tiny Red Bumps in the Belly Button
Red bumps on your belly button may signify an infection. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Hives, contact dermatitis, bug bites and bacterial infections can all cause red bumps on your belly button. A recently pierced belly button increases your risk of unsightly bumps. Most bumps are not a cause for concern and will clear on their own; however, sometimes medical attention is required.


Hives result from the body's release of histamines after exposure to a certain trigger. Some triggers of hives include reactions to medications, viral infections, exercising and foods, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Insect bites or stings can cause small red bumps in the belly button because of venom or other substance injected into your skin by the insect, according to the MayoClinic.com. Contact dermatitis occurs when you have an allergic reaction or irritation to an area of skin that touches a chemical or other substance. Metals are common triggers of contact dermatitis, so if you recently had your naval pierced, you may find this is the trigger of your red bumps. Bacterial infections due to open sores or poor hygiene can also cause red bumps


Hives will typically appear as small red clusters of bumps that usually itch or sting. In more severe cases, hives may be accompanied by swelling or difficulty breathing. Contact dermatitis can manifest as hives or as raised red patches of dry skin. As with hives, the skin may itch or burn. Insect bites usually itch and occur as an individual bump or as several bumps. A bacterial infection may have pus-filled blisters that might ooze or crust over.


Hives can typically be diagnosed by observing the bumps and finding out what activities you were involved in prior to the hives outbreak. According to FamilyDoctor.org, if hives regularly occur around your belly button, you may need to see an allergy specialist. For both hives and contact dermatitis, your doctor may do a patch test by placing small amounts of allergens onto your skin and covering them with a bandage for 48 hours. Once the bandage is removed, the doctor can determine what is causing the red bumps. Bug bites can typically be diagnosed by observation. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a skin biopsy may be needed to identify the cause of a bacterial infection so the doctor can observe the skin under a microscope.


Symptoms of hives, contact dermatitis and insect bites will often disappear on their own; however, symptoms can be relieved with an over-the-counter antihistamine. If hives or an insect bite are associated with swelling or breathing problems, an injection of epinephrine may be required, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Contact dermatitis can also be treated with topical corticosteroids or by taking a cool bath in uncooked oatmeal, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To treat a bug bite or sting, remove the stinger, apply an ice pack, and cover the affected area in hydrocortisone cream. A bacterial infection will need to be treated with prescription-strength antibiotics.


Belly button piercings are one of the most common body piercings. Good hygiene, as well as regular cleansing of the pierced area will help prevent an infection. According to KidsHealth.com, a collection of pus that forms under the skin may signify an infection. If your piercing is not healing and red bumps develop, seek medical advice.

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