The umbilicus, also known as the navel or belly button, is a common trait amongst most people. Still, we don’t really think about it that much. But then again, why should we? It’s just a part of your body that used to be helpful, and now it’s just there.
A belly button is where the umbilical cord was attached to our body when we were in the womb. The other end of the umbilical cord is attached to the mother’s placenta, and it’s where babies get nutrients from. After delivery, the umbilical cord gets cut, and your body will automatically close the small gap, leaving you with a small scar named the belly button.
Believe it or not, for such a tiny part of your body, the belly button has a ton of interesting facts. Some of them may be gross but interesting nonetheless. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about belly buttons.
8. Belly Buttons Cause Sexual Arousal
Belly buttons can be attractive, and that’s why many people try to put something extra and add a piercing to make it more attractive. Although, that’s not necessary since the belly button by itself is a pretty common erogenous area.
According to psychologist Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., the belly button is an area that can be a sexual trigger. “From a heterosexual man’s point of view, seeing the exposed navel and surrounding area can be very attractive. It accentuates a woman’s waistline, her curves and brings out the beauty and fertility of a woman’s body,” says Seltzer.
7. Belly Buttons Can Also Cause Fright
Sure, you probably suspected that the navel could be attractive, but did you know some people are afraid of it? This is called omphalophbia, which, as you can guess, is the fear of belly buttons. People who have this phobia can’t even see or touch their own belly buttons, let alone someone else’s. You’ve probably heard of this phobia before since celebrity Khloé Kardashian admitted she was scared of belly buttons.
6. Belly Buttons Come in Different Shapes
There are different types of belly buttons out there, and you probably didn’t even know it. We’re not talking just about innies and outies; there are many shapes of belly buttons, and doctors can’t determine what a baby’s belly button shape will be. That happens naturally.
On top of that, people have different preferences on belly buttons as well. FASEB Journal published that people prefer belly buttons that are T-shaped, oval, or vertical with a small hooding. Likewise, the most unattractive types of navels are outies and Minnie belly buttons that are too deep.
Doctors can’t shape or change your belly button when you’re born, but plastic surgeons can. The process is called umbilicoplasty, and it’s such a big deal that a Japanese physician performed over 3000 operations during the 1960s and early 70s.
5. Outie Belly Buttons Are Rare
If you have an outie navel, you’re part of a selective group who managed to keep it throughout your childhood. You see, most of us started with an outie belly button when we were children, but most of them start to fold during the healing process and become innies.
Adults who have an outie belly button represent only 10% of the population. Although, it’s worth mentioning that women’s belly buttons can turn become outies when they’re pregnant during the second and third trimester. After they deliver the baby, the belly button should go back to its normal shape.
4. People View Belly Buttons Differently Around the World
Believe it or not, people have different options about the navel depending on where they live. It used to be considered taboo by many cultures in Western civilizations, but in other cultures, the belly button is celebrated.
The Hokai Hesso Matsuri, also known as the Belly Button Festival, is an event celebrated in a town called Shibukawa, Japan. Japan believes that life began in the belly button, and that’s why they celebrate it. It takes place in Shibukawa because, in Japan, this town is known as the belly button of Japan.
3. Belly Buttons Used to Be Banned
Even though you can see and show your belly button pretty much anywhere, including mainstream media, that wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1950s and 60s, belly buttons were banned from TV.
A classic example is the popular show I Dream of Jeannie, where star Barbara Eden couldn’t show her belly button during the show despite wearing a midriff-baring genie costume. Eden remembers how big of a problem that was and how scared the NBC executives were when her producer told them he wanted to show Eden’s navel.
2. Belly Buttons Are Filled with Bacteria
Even if you wash it constantly, your belly button is filled with more bacteria than you want to know about. According to a study, the belly button contains at least 67 different types of bacteria.
But before you start panicking, the bacteria you find there are not only predictable but also helpful for your body. This bacteria can help your body’s immune system and protect you from any harm.
1. You Always Have Lint (And Always Will)
We can’t say gross facts about the belly button without mentioning lint. It doesn’t matter how clean you are; chances are you’ve found lint on your belly button. Well, the good news, if you can call it that, is that there’s a scientific explanation for it.
As you probably know, some people grow hairs in their abdominal area. This hair grabs small fibers from cloth, sheets, or towels and “help” these fabrics get stuck in your belly button. If you don’t grow much hair in your abdominal area or shave it regularly, you won’t have much of a problem.