How hygienic is your navel? Unclean ones are susceptible to developing navel stones – and may even require surgical intervention.

Compacted dirt, dead skin and other debris can create ‘umboliths’ in rare instances, causing irritation and infection.

Name: Umbolith.

AKA: Omphalolith.

Age: Takes many years to develop.

Appearance: Small, dark, firm to the touch.

Is it some sort of fossil-like formation? Yes, exactly.

And where might I discover one? In some ancient sedimentary outcrop along the coast? No, in your belly button.

Come again? Umboliths, also known as navel stones, are lodged deep within the darkest regions of your innie.

Who says? Dr Sermed Mezher, who recently posted a short video called Well I’m Gonna Go Clean My Bellybutton Right Now #hygiene.

And who is Mezher? He’s a YouTuber and medical professional who creates videos that are, typically, commentaries on other videos, in this case some footage of an umbolith extraction.

I feel dizzy. You’re not alone – a lot of people are triggered by the idea of umboliths.

What are they made of? Compacted dirt, dead skin, sebum, clothing fibers and other debris.

OK, now I think I’m going to vomit. And while they usually don’t cause problems, according to Mezher: “They can begin to emit a strong odor.”

That’s it, here we go, hold my hair. What Mezher doesn’t mention is that umboliths are quite uncommon.

I wish you had started with that information. According to WebMD: “Most individuals will never develop one.”

Why do we even have navels? The navel is the remaining scar after the removal of your umbilical cord at birth. They come in different shapes – innies and outies – but only excessively deep belly buttons are susceptible to navel stones.

I don’t think mine is unusual, or at least I didn’t until this moment. In any case, WebMD says: “Being cautious about cleaning your belly button will prevent navel stones.”

Well, I’m gonna go clean my bellybutton right now. A swipe with a cotton swab couldn’t hurt, but as long as you’re washing regularly, you should be fine.

OK, I’m feeling better now. Do umboliths ever pose serious problems? Very rarely, they can cause irritation, infection, and an unpleasant discharge, which may require surgical removal.

You’re making me queasy again. Given how rare umboliths are, there are surprisingly many online videos depicting their removal.

Interesting. Once I’ve witnessed the procedure, will I be able to erase it from my memory? I’m afraid not.

In that case, I’ll pass. I wish I had, to be honest.

Do say: “Less navel-gazing, more navel bathing.”

Don’t say: “Oh no – now I’ve dropped my tweezers in there.”

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