belly button

This Is The Real Reason Why You Have An Innie Or An Outie Belly Button

Humans can be categorized into two distinct boxes.

Humans can be categorized into two distinct boxes. One is an innie, while the other is an outie. Yes, I am talking about your belly button. Although most people are aware of the fact that a belly button is a physical reminder of where the umbilical cord was cut, most people do not quite understand why belly buttons can differ so much in appearance.

But first, let us define an innie and an outie.

An innie is the type of belly button that faces or turns inwards whereas an outie is one that pops outwards, kind of like a distension.

Innies are actually much more common than outies. So if you have a belly button that protrudes a little bit, just embrace it because you are one of the special few.

The umbilical cord is usually cut just seconds after birth and that is when your belly button is formed or created.

Although many people (along with myself) assumed that the type of belly button one got was based on how the cord was cut, this theory is actually not true.

In reality, the belly button is formed when the resulting scar tissue forms over the next few days. How the scar tissue heals will determine how the belly button will look like.

The remaining cord eventually dries up and falls off, and when the scar tissue is fully healed, a belly button is formed!

Outies tend to have a little more scar tissue hence the appearance. You can’t really naturally dictate the shape of your belly button so don’t feel bad if you don’t have the prettiest belly button out there.

An umbilical hernia can also occur when a newborn’s stomach muscles don’t fuse and grow in time thus making the stomach tissue peak and stretch through the muscle fiber.

This creates a lumpy outie and it can be even more evident and freaky when a baby cries, yawns or flexes its muscles.

This process usually naturally resolves itself within a year but if it is still there by age 4, then a surgical procedure can be chosen to reverse those effects.

In 2005 alone, more than two thousand people had cosmetic surgery done on their belly buttons. And most of those procedures were to go from outies to innies.

But sometimes, outies can become innies too! And this transformation doesn’t even require any surgery.

This process can occur when a pregnant woman’s belly expands too quickly thus forcing the belly button to flip outwards or when an obese person stretches their skin and stomach lining out too quickly.

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Rachell S. Anderson, Senior Writer

Written by Rachell S. Anderson, Senior Writer

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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