Disclaimer: Some of these are really gag-worthy. You have been warned.
While a lot of you may be wondering, “Oh sweet God, why?” I’d prefer to think, “Life’s too short, ergo, I might as well.” And yes, before you ask, learning 12 slightly disgusting facts about my belly button does happen to be on my bucket list. So put your big boy pants on, people, and prepare to be somewhat horrified but mostly surprised. Enjoy!
1. Your Navel Actually Happens To Be One Of Your Very First Scars, For Real.
Move over Harry Potter, you ain’t the only baby with a scar. Your belly button is actually scar tissue, which is a remnant of your umbilical cord that joined you to your mommy’s placenta during your time in the womb (1).
2. There Are Two Types Of Belly Buttons – Innies And Outies.
Most people possess an “innie” belly button, but some, however, can have a bit more scar tissue that protrudes, which we colloquially refer to as an “outie.” There are a few rare cases, though, when the outie is actually a result of an umbilical hernia (2).
This is when portions of your intestines protrude through your belly muscles and manage to pop out of the confines of your abdomen through your belly button. Thankfully, in a majority of cases, this condition usually disappears all by itself during the baby’s first year. However, if it doesn’t, the baby has to undergo surgery (3).
3. Belly Buttons Are A Bacterial Haven.
According to a 2012 study, which was literally – I kid you not – titled ‘A Jungle In There’ (Huh! Science does have a sense of humor), researchers investigated the potential biological diversity in roughly 60 different belly buttons and discovered a whopping sum of 2,368 different species residing in those tiny, dark holes (4) !
They estimate that the average person has 67 different species crawling in there. Yikes.
4. Would You Like To Pierce Your Belly Button? Well, Prepare To Wait For At Least 9 Months To A Year For It To Heal.
Yep. Unlike genitalia piercings that take 10 weeks max to heal, patience really is key when it comes to belly button piercings.
5. Quite A Few Mammals Actually Have No Belly Buttons At All.
According to Stacy Hackner, a researcher at University College London (UCL), all mammals that were nourished through the placenta in their mother’s womb start off with a belly button (5). But most mammals (including some humans) can have their belly button fade with time or even have a small bump or thin scar instead of a traditional hole.
6. Belly Button Lint Is Real! And You’re More Likely To Have It If You’re An Older, Hairy Male With An Innie.
According to a Belly Button Lint Survey conducted by ABC Science, volunteers were asked to shave the hair on their bellies to assess whether this prevented any accumulation of lint. It was discovered that belly button lint is formed through a mix of hair, clothing fibers, and skin cells (6).
7. Now That We’re On The Subject Of Lint, Did You Know Somebody Hold’s A Guinness World Record For The Largest Belly Button Lint Collection?
In November 2000, Guinness officially recognized a man named Graham Barker for possessing the world’s largest collection of navel lint. Barker has been faithfully collecting his belly button lint since 1984 and has amassed 22 g to date, filling 5 large bottles. Fun stuff.
8. Speaking Of Fun Facts, Gazing At Your Own Belly Button Happens To Be A Form Of Meditation.
Uh-huh. Historically, Greek Christian monks from Mount Athos utilized a special form of meditation involving “navel contemplation”, which they referred to as Hesychasm that they believed allowed them insight into divine glory.
9. FYI, The Official Term For Navel-Gazing Is Omphaloskepsis.
Just in case you were wondering.
10. Belly Button Fetishes Actually Do Exist.
A 1975 study published in The Psychoanalytic Quarterly analyzed a 27-year-old man’s infatuation with “protruding” belly buttons. So obsessed was this high school teacher with “outies” that he decided to fashion his own “outie”, once using a razor blade and the next time with a needle (7).
The report narrates that the man felt no pain during this self-procedure “until his ecstasy had waned through the ensuing masturbatory orgasm.”
11. It’s Possible To Make Cheese From Your Belly Button.
It’s true! A biologist named Christina Agapakis teamed up with an odor artist for a project titled ‘Selfmade’ where they successfully created 11 different kinds of cheese from the bacteria residing in human armpits, belly buttons, toes, and mouths.
My gag reflex just went into overdrive.
12. Did You Know The Earth Has A Belly Button Too?
No kidding. There exists a unique geological landform at the center of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument located in Utah that is locally called the Cosmic Navel. Geologists believe this strange formation may be close to 216,000 years old. Like, wow.
Congratulations! You now know 12 absolutely random and somewhat disgusting facts about your belly button that you could have probably lived without.
Emaan is a voracious and rather indiscriminate reader. She is also a writer, history buff, insomniac, amateur doodle artist, terrible poet and a self-professed philosopher (but only after 3 am). Currently, she is pursuing a degree in medicine.