Fear of belly buttons
Ophalophobia is a type of specific phobia. Specific phobias, also called simple phobias, are extreme, persistent fears that focus on a particular thing.
In this case, the focus is on the human navel, or belly button. Phobias can include touching or looking at your belly button, other people, or both.
As with other specific phobias, you may be fully aware that this is not rational, but you cannot help it. Thinking about belly buttons increases your anxiety, and you may also experience physical symptoms.
Phobias come under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. About 12.5 percent of adults in the United States have a certain phobia during their lifetime, and there is a long list of common and unique fears. Some well-known phobias include fear of blood, spiders and darkness.
Anyone of any age can develop phobias, but they can be successfully treated.
Follow us when we discover the fear of belly buttons, how to recognize a real phobia, and what you can do about it.
Can your belly button be exposed?
No, the belly button is the rest of the umbilical cord. Once a baby is born, the bone is no longer needed.
Therefore, by clamping at each end, the cord is cut close to the baby’s abdomen, leaving about an inch of stump behind. Within 5 to 15 days, the stump dries and falls off. After about 7 to 10 days, you have a completely healing belly button.
While many belly buttons look like someone tied a knot in it, it’s not. It’s not a knot, and there’s nothing to uncover.
Symptoms You may have a belly button phobia
Not everyone is a fan of belly buttons. You may not enjoy seeing or touching them, even yourself. Or you may be wondering if your belly button is normal or why you have autism.
None of this points to a belly button phobia, but to personal preference. If you’re not crazy about belly buttons, you can avoid them for the most part.
On the other hand, here are some symptoms that you may have ophthalmophobia:
- The thought of seeing a belly button scares you.
- You are actively trying to eliminate them. This may mean avoiding changing pools, beaches, and backs.
- When you see the belly button, you are overwhelmed. Feelings of fear, panic and terror flood your mind.
- Stomach cramps provoke a strong urge to run.
- These thoughts are out of your control, even if you recognize that there is no real cause or danger.
Physical symptoms of phobias may include:
- Dry mouth
- I’m sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach upset, nausea
- Chest tightness
- Fast heartbeat
Possible causes of ophalophobia
Fear of danger is normal. When you are in real danger, fear produces a fight or flight-related reaction that can save your life. A phobia goes beyond that. It is an excessive or unreasonable fear that causes trouble in your life.
Phobias can develop after a bad experience. When this happens, it is called experimental specific phobia.
Again, a bad experience is not necessary to develop a phobia. This is called nonspecific phobia.
Children can also develop phobias by growing up around their family members.
Once you are afraid of belly buttons, you can start associating them with feelings of nervousness, so start avoiding them. Avoiding them strengthens the fear and your reaction to it.
Genetic, developmental and environmental factors may play a role in phobias.
Fear of belly buttons is unreasonable, so you can’t pinpoint the exact cause.
Phobia treatment options
You will be able to manage your phobia on your own. If not, professional treatment is effective and helps most people with phobias.
These self-help techniques can help manage phobias-related anxiety and stress.
- Take a deep breath
- Muscle relaxation exercises
- mindfulness technique
- Support groups for people with phobias
You can slowly try to expose yourself to the belly buttons to see if you can learn to tolerate them. If that doesn’t work, occupational therapy can be very helpful.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
In CBT, the therapist can help you think differently about the belly button so you can react differently. CBT is a short-term problem-solving therapy that will focus on the specific fear of the belly button and give you the tools to manage it.
Exposure therapy, or systematic desensitization, is a specific type of CBT in which the therapist will slowly come to terms with the abdominal buttons while helping you control. Over time, repeated exposure can reduce fear and increase your confidence in your ability to handle it.
Exposure therapy and CBT are usually taken to overcome the fear of abdominal cramps. In some instances, medications can be used to treat phobia-related anxiety. These may include beta blockers and sedatives but should be used with caution and only under medical supervision.
Ophthalmophobia is the intense fear of seeing or touching the belly button, whether it is yours or other people’s. This is a specific type of phobia that can be successfully treated.
If you are having trouble dealing with the fear of belly buttons yourself, a therapist can guide you.