When it comes to rare disorders, omphalophobia is one of those that reaches positions of honor. The fear of belly buttons causes those who suffer from it to experience high feelings of discomfort and anxiety every time they are exposed to this part of the human body, their own or that of others .

Despite being one of the strangest and least frequent phobias , this disorder can become extremely uncomfortable for the phobic to the point of significantly deteriorating their quality of life.

Not surprisingly, it affects daily activities, such as taking off clothes or showering, of people who avoid seeing and touching their navels at all costs.

Belly buttons are natural to the human body so it is impossible to avoid them, and people who suffer from this phobia cannot do anything about it.

What is Omphalophobia

The phobia that concerns us is characterized by  an extreme, uncontrollable and irrational fear of the navels .

People who suffer from it are not only afraid to carry out daily tasks related to vision or touching the navel, but their difficulties to attend places where people are devoid of a shirt, such as swimming pools, beaches or changing rooms, are great.

The clinical characteristics of this phobic fear lead us to classify it as an anxiety disorder referred to a rare type of specific phobia.

We are talking about an irrational, uncontrollable and unfounded fear about the navel, so that all kinds of contact with this part of the body generates great anxiety for these people.

In general, it is a fear:

  • The fear index is very high
  • As much as the person becomes aware that there is no reason to feel that fear, nothing will be able to do to avoid its intensity, which appears automatically
  • Although a navel could in no way pose a danger to physical integrity, omphalobophics interpret it as a threatening element
  • The permanent and persistent nature means that fear does not disappear with time or is subject to certain vital moments or stages of existence

What causes this rare disorder

As in other specific phobias, the one that affects the navel also begins in childhood and in particular can be  the result of a traumatic or negative experience  that is associated with this part of the body.

Not surprisingly, many of these people tell of the fascination they felt as children for their navel, around which they poked and ended up hurting themselves.

Others claim to have observed something “dirty and dark” in it that they tried to remove with sharp instruments, as this “dirt” made them feel unhygienic, causing nausea today the sight of a navel.

For some of these phobics, the fact that babies are connected to the mother’s uterus via the umbilical cord makes them think that doctors accidentally left a part of the cord in the navel.

In the case that they are also nervous people suffering from other anxiety disorders, it would be encouraged that the knowledge is sufficient to  trigger a response of disgust / fear  provided that such thoughts are had about the navels.

What are the symptoms of an omphalophobic

The physical symptoms that arise in response to the phobic fear produced by the navels are due to an increase in the activity of the autonomic nervous system of the brain.

Its manifestations can vary significantly from one individual to another, as they do not follow a single pattern of presentation.

However, in general, an omphalophobic person will notice some of the following symptoms when facing a belly button:

  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Tachycardias and / or palpitations
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Drowning sensation
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Dilation in the pupils
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Dry mouth

How to overcome the fear of belly buttons

This phobia can be quite serious if constant thoughts in relation to the navels can lead to anxiety or continuous crying of the subject who suffers it.

Although some people refuse to receive treatment for it, the good news is that it is a highly treatable disorder.

Among the different therapies that can be received are  hypnotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy and psychotherapy  that help to get to the bottom of the question, always with the guidance of a good therapist.

On some occasions when the phobic response reaches high limits of severity, the individual may be prescribed anti-anxiety medications, especially if the patient’s daily life is being severely affected.

However, taking medications must be viewed as a specific circumstance and not as a long-term treatment, as they are intended for symptomatic relief and not for the cure of the phobia.

Phobias are difficult fears to control, and they are more frequent than you think, despite being very strange.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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