Fear of Belly Buttons

Aamir Ranjha

Fear of Belly Buttons

Here in this post, we are discussing “Fear of Belly Buttons”.  You can read more about psychology-related material on our website. Keep visiting Psychology Roots.

A persistent and extreme fear of belly buttons is called omphalosphobia (navels). Those who suffer from omphalophobia are terrified of their own or other people’s belly buttons. They may avoid places where they are likely to encounter belly buttons, including public beaches and swimming pools.

Fear of Belly Buttons
Fear of Belly Buttons

What Is Omphalophobia?

Fear of one’s navel, or “omphalocophobia,” may be debilitating and long-lasting. Even though omphalophobia isn’t a formal diagnosis in and of itself, it is classified as a particular phobia under the category of anxiety disorders in the DSM-5 (DSM-5).

A specific phobia (also known as a simple phobia) is an unreasonable and persistent anxiety over a particular stimulus (an object, an animal, a location, an event, etc.). Fear of heights (acrophobia) and claustrophobia (fear of enclosed places) are two examples of prevalent particular phobias. Many people who suffer from certain phobias are aware that their concerns are not based in reality, yet they nonetheless struggle to overcome their symptoms of extreme anxiety.

The DSM-5 categorises distinct phobias into the following five categories:

  • Species of Animals (such as a fear of snakes or spiders)
  • Types of Natural Environments (such as a fear of storms or water)
  • The Injection-Type Bleeding Injury (such as a fear of medical procedures or shots)
  • Personality that varies depending on the circumstances (such as a fear of flying)
  • The Other Kind

The fear of belly buttons is relatively rare and falls into the “other” subtype.

Symptoms of Omphalophobia

Those who suffer with omphalophobia experience extreme nervousness, fear, and/or anguish if they are near a belly button. There are two sides to the omphalophobia coin: revulsion and fear.  Anxiety and/or panic attacks manifest itself when a person with a certain phobia encounter or merely thinks about the object of their fear. Examples of such symptoms might be:

  • Panic or a sense of being helpless
  • Chest tightness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Constricted airway
  • Extremely dry throat
  • Symptoms of numbness or tingling
  • Confusion
  • extreme heat or cold sensations
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Disoriented and dizzy

Those who are afraid of belly buttons will often go to extremes in order to avoid circumstances in which they could be exposed to one. Those who suffer from omphalophobia, for instance, may go to tremendous efforts to avoid places like swimming pools, fitness centres, and beaches. Constantly avoiding things that cause you pain may have a devastating effect on your relationships, productivity at work, and enjoyment of life in general.


Healthcare providers, including mental health professionals, will inquire about your medical history, personal history, and present symptoms to arrive at a diagnosis of omphalophobia. Your loved ones may be able to provide more insight into your condition. In order to rule out any possible health issues, your doctor may order further testing.

Your fear of belly buttons has to have persisted for at least six months, together with other symptoms, in order to fulfil the DSM-5 criteria for a particular phobia. You also need to rule out other mental health conditions, such PTSD or OCD, as a possible cause of your symptoms (OCD).


It has yet to be determined what triggers omphalophobia. Researchers have, however, uncovered a number of potential triggers for phobic disorders.

Psychologically, those with certain phobias tend to have abnormally high activity in some regions of the brain, including the amygdala, which plays a role in processing fear and reacting to threats. Some phobias, particularly those that manifest in early life, seem to be heritable. This might be the result of both innate and acquired tendencies. Some people acquire phobias after experiencing trauma. People with omphalophobia, for instance, may have had negative experiences with medical professionals, physical discomfort, or maltreatment that included their belly button.

The research reveals that introversion and emotional numbness are two personality factors that contribute to the development of certain phobias. Many individuals who suffer from a phobia also deal with another mental health problem, such as generalised anxiety disorder, a phenomenon known as comorbidity (GAD).


Individual or group psychotherapy is often used to treat particular phobias like the dread of belly buttons. Your doctor may also suggest medicine for you to take.


Most experts agree that psychotherapy is the best first line of defence against certain phobias like omphalophobia. In exposure therapy, the client progressively confronts the feared object or situation while under the care of a trained therapist. Studies show that when paired with CBT techniques, exposure treatment is more successful (CBT). People with particular phobias may benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy because it helps them confront the irrational fears prompted by false assumptions about the feared item.


Medication isn’t typically the first line of defence against phobias, but it can help. Some data suggests that the following drugs, when taken for a limited time, may boost the efficacy of exposure therapy:

  • Antibiotic seromycin (D-cycloserine)
  • The beta-blocker Inderal (propranolol)
  • The steroid hormones known as glucocorticoids

Other medicines, such as antianxiety meds, sedatives, or antidepressants, may be suggested by your doctor if your fear is very severe or long-lasting.

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I am a senior clinical psychologist with over 11years of experience in the field. I am the founder of Psychology Roots, a platform that provides solutions and support to learners and professionals in psychology. My goal is to help people understand and improve their mental health, and to empower them to live happier and healthier lives.

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