The navel (clinically known as the umbilicus, colloquially known as the belly button, umbilical dip or tummy button) is a scar on the abdomen at the attachment site of the umbilical cord. All placental mammals have a navel, and it is quite conspicuous in humans. Other animals’ navels tend to be smoother and flatter, often nothing more than a thin line, and are often obscured by fur.
I’ve seen new born puppies, kittens, and other animals. I’ve seen their umbilical cords attached. So I know that theoretically they have belly buttons. But the human belly button is quite noticeable. Young girls with their youthful flat tummies, pierce them and adorn them. I don’t judge. If I was 20 again, I’d go for a belly button piercing. You see the grotesque belly button outline in too small t-shirts stretched over the plump. During the summer everywhere you turn, there is a belly button staring back at you.
As we age, we cover up our belly buttons. At least I do. Maybe it’s a matronly thing, because it doesn’t seem to bother the large portion of men. They either let it all hang out, cover it up with one of those too tight t-shirts, or it peeks out at your from under a shirt that is just a tad too short. At my age, belly buttons have gone from something slightly sexy to something rather horrendous.
Thanks to my mother, I have a nice belly button. I remember being young and an aunt would have a baby. I watched as the umbilical cord fell off and then all the attention was put on taking care of the belly button. Making sure that the belly button was pretty. Making sure it was acceptable.
Over the last several months belly button hygiene has occasionally crossed my mind. I don’t remember being given any instruction on this sort of cleaning. Most of the time I jump in the shower and don’t give much thought to the ol’ navel. I’ve checked it out from time to time and thought, “You need to wash that out.”
Too much information? Maybe so. But it’s a legitimate concern. Something that has been on my mind. Almost to the point of being obsessive. But I’m glad to say that my belly button is clean.
I did some checking and the good news is that the belly button doesn’t seem to really require a lot of attention. Then I came across an article on “What Lives in Your Belly Button”
It’s an interesting and disgusting article. It says that “Belly buttons are a lot like rain forests.” From 60 belly buttons, the team found 2,368 bacterial species, 1,458 of which may be new to science.
So the next time you jump in the shower, show your belly button a little love.