When the navel causes horror

How and why this strange phobia can develop, what can we do

Omphalophobia is a type of specific phobia. Specific phobias are also called simple phobias, are extreme, persistent fears that focus on one particular thing. And in this case, they focus on a person’s navel, as we usually say, the navel.

The phobia can be touching or making eye contact with him, with the person himself, with other people, or with anyone.

As with other specific phobias, the person probably knows that the fear they feel is irrational, but cannot avoid it. Anxiety can increase even in the mind of the object, it can even give the person physical symptoms.

But let’s look logically at what is relevant for the navel.

Is it possible to “bring back” the belly button?

Nope. The navel is the remnant of the umbilical cord. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed. Thus, with a clamp, the cord is cut close to the baby’s belly, leaving a small remnant. Within 5-15 days, this residue dries up and falls off, and after 7-10 days there is a complete recovery.

Some umbilical cords may look like “knots”, but that’s not the case. There are no knots, nothing to “untie”.

Signs that you may have omphalophobia

Not everyone is a belly button fan. Maybe you don’t like to look at it or touch it. You may wonder if this is normal or why it exists. However, none of these indicate navel phobia.

Omphalophobia can occur when someone:

  • He is absolutely terrified of the idea of ​​seeing a navel.
  • He actively tries to avoid them. This may mean avoiding pools, beaches, and locker rooms.
  • When he sees the navel, he feels panic, horror or fear.
  • Every belly button makes him want to run.
  • Even if he realizes that there is no real reason or danger, these thoughts are beyond his control.

Physical symptoms of phobias can include:

  • dry mouth
  • terrorism
  • don’t sweat
  • difficulty breathing
  • upset stomach, nausea
  • chest tightness
  • heartbeat

Possible causes of omphalophobia

Fear is a normal response to danger. When someone is in real danger, fear triggers the “fight or flight” response that can save their life. Phobia has nothing to do with it. It is excessive or irrational fear that causes problems in life.

Fears can arise after an unpleasant experience. When this happens, it is called an experiential phobia.

However, phobias can develop without such experiences. Then, according to experts, we deal with non-empirical specific phobias.

Children can also develop phobias when they grow up with family members who have phobias.

Genetic, developmental and environmental factors can also play a role in phobias.

How to control your phobia

You can manage your phobia yourself. If you can’t do this, a professional can help.

Help yourself

The following self-help techniques can help manage the anxiety and stress associated with phobias such as omphalophobia:

  • deep breaths
  • muscle relaxation exercises
  • mindfulness techniques
  • support groups for people with phobias

You can also try gradual exposure to the thing you fear. If this does not help, professional therapy can be very helpful.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a therapist can help you think differently about what you fear so that you react differently. CBT is a short-term problem-solving therapy that will focus on a specific fear and give you tools to manage it.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy, or systematic desensitization, is a special type of CBT in which the therapist slowly exposes you to the things you fear while helping you gain control. Repeated exposure over time can reduce fear and increase confidence in the ability to control fear.


Exposure therapy and CBT are usually sufficient for phobias such as omphalophobia. In some cases, medication may also be used to treat the anxiety associated with the phobia. These may include beta-blockers and tranquilizers, but should be used with caution and only under a doctor’s supervision.

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