Medical Specialty >> Gastroenterology

Doctors Lounge - Gastroenterology Answers

Back to Gastroenterology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Bleeding and Discharge from Belly Button

 tammyw5456 - Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:31 pm

My husband is a very fit, 44 year old, who over the past couple of months has been having a bleeding, smelly discharge from his belly button. He says it is not painful. He had an appendectomy years ago, and they took it out through his belly button, and he's very active - doing massive amounts of sit ups every day.

He went to our internist about it and was told that it was a tear in his abdominal wall and that was basically his abdominal fluid leaking out. The way he is "treating" it is by having my husband make a paste of sugar and water and put it in his belly button. He said this is an old military trick used to dry out the belly button and cause it to heal. That sounds just plain crazy to me, and it is not working anyway. He's been doing it for a couple of weeks, but his belly button is still leaking. He tells me the doctor said if that didn't work, they'd do surgery to sew it up.

Does this diagnosis and this treatment sound accurate?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:42 pm

User avatar Hi there -

Yep, I'm afraid it's true. Most cases of unpleasant umbilical odor are due to a fistula having formed between the GI tract and the belly button, and the doctor is undoubtedly correct. I've heard of the sugar and water trick before, having worked in a military hospital for some time, but since that's not working (and yes, it does sound crazy, but sometimes it actually does work), a simple surgery will likely be necessary and will resolve the problem pretty quickly.

Best of luck to the both of you.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us