Look What Your Belly Button Says About Your Health

If you’ve been looking down at your belly button in awe, you’re not alone. Navel gazing to contemplate the mysteries of the universe has roots in Hinduism and ancient Greece. Greek philosophers called this type of meditation “omphaloskepsis” – omphalos (sex) and skepsis (to see or examine). Hard to believe the gag didn’t catch on, huh?

Here are some random facts about belly buttons, and see if yours is “normal.”

What is a belly button?
Belly buttons are more than just a cool way to prove you’re not a cyborg. Your belly button is actually your first scar. Within minutes of birth, your umbilical cord is clipped and cut, leaving a short umbilical cord protruding from your abdomen. It shriveled, blackened, withered and fell off. (Who said babies aren’t cute?)

Inny or out?
The Greeks pondered many existential questions, but Socrates invited Plato to question his own omphalos, asking, “Does this seem okay to you?”

So what is a “normal” belly button? Most people have “innies,” the scientific term for an inward-facing belly button. In about 10 percent of the population, the protruding “external” form can be found. They are as common as left handed.

A long-standing theory, or old wives’ tale, is that doctors’ techniques for creating anomalies are “to blame.” But there is no guarantee that cutting the umbilical cord to a certain extent or to a certain length will have consequences. According to this plastic surgeon, the most likely determining factor is the distance between your skin and the abdominal wall. In other words, if you have room for innies to nest, you will nest. Otherwise, it won’t.

Pregnant women know that the innie is temporarily excluded as their belly expands and the belly button pops. This is all normal.

That being said, the inny seems to be a more desirable belly button. Plastic surgery is about changing your appearance into an innie. (Innies are hanging out, not so much.) Note: In case you were wondering, innies don’t live happier lives, make more money, or get better seats in Hamilton.

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