Do you have or plan to have a belly button piercing on your body? If you find bumps, abscess or redness and irritation around your piercing, you may need a doctor. It could be an infection. Navel piercing is common among women.
The infection ranges from mild to severe. It includes bumps, abscess, boils, fever etc. If you have a concern about the infection on your body, you came to the right place. Here, you will get to know more about the infection, its causes, signs, and treatment.
Many of you are familiar with infections. But navel piercing infection can be dangerous. It is never easy to deal with infections. However, it can also lead to nerve damage.
A navel piercing has greater chances of catching infections. It is because the piercing is in contact with clothes most of the time. And navel piercing infection can be all around the area of the belly and not just in the piercing.
Extreme conditions in piercing infections can lead to the development of abscess containing puss.Moreover, it can also occur with the development of scars and the formation of bumps in the belly button area. You may need to consult a doctor.
So, it is important to have the right cartilage piercing information and the knowledge of its procedures and care.Hence, a better understanding is the key for you or your loved ones to prevent such problems of pain and suffering and to treat it.Now, let’s see the condition, its signs, causes, care and treatment in details.
Table of Contents
What Is Belly Button Piercing Infection?
You see, body piercing is one of the oldest forms of art. Of recent, body piercing is gaining popularity and is in trend. Women prefer navel piercing despite the risks. Getting the body pierced is thought as a sign of being cool and stylish. Belly button piercing is done by a professional jeweler by using a needle after sterilising the tissue.
When the skin is perforated, it takes longer to heal. As blood supply in cut regions, it usually takes 9 months to 2 years. This is with proper aftercare. If not tended with care, it can lead to infection. To be exact, any piercing is dangerous.
Usually, a navel piercing is done in two steps. After pinching the skin tissue, the pain of piercing follows. But this isn’t the end. It is seen that poor and unhygienic ways of piercing and care hinders healing. It includes swelling and infection of the ears or nose causing pain in the affected areas.
Extreme conditions can lead to the development of abscess containing puss. And even deformation of tissues.
Getting a bump is an indication that you have an infection, but there are other symptoms too. Some may appear after 3-4 weeks of the piercing. You will experience severe pain and hotness when you touch the area.
Other symptoms include redness of the skin with tenderness and pain around your piercing. You should know the symptoms to get your infection treated during its early stages.
The risk of having infection can be immediate or may take time. Immediate infection involves risks during and post-piercing infection. It is mostly due to non-sterile equipment or bleeding. The risk of allergy and bacterial infection is also present.
Hence, consult your doctor at the first sign of infection to avoid further damage.
Causes Of Belly Button Piercing Infection
Navel piercings are prone to getting “bumps“. Bumps are small, raised scars around the holes of piercing. Often it is just bad luck. But sometimes they are caused by incorrect jewelry, rough handling, or use of a piercing gun. Although these bumps aren’t dangerous, they can be unpleasant and itchy.
Immediately after ear piercing, you should have a slight swelling and pain that may last shortly. It does not mean they are infected. This argument is based on equipment used and whoever did it.
A navel piercing infection occurs only a few days after piercing. However, even a healed piercing on belly button can get infected.
Infections on anybody piercings often come as a result related to the piercing process and care are given to the piercing. Here are some of the common causes.
1. Unprofessional Piercing
One of the main steps to follow before getting any type of piercing is sterilization. Any piercing involves making contact with blood with another external thing. It may be a needle or the piercer’s hands too.
However, if the piercing is done by unprofessional it can be unhygienic. It can lead to infections.
2. Unhygienic Procedures
It is the most common cause of infections of piercing. You may go to a piercer who makes use of unsterilized equipment like the gun or the needle.
Getting the piercings done with the unsterilized equipment is can lead to an infection as the bacteria can transfer from person to person.
Bacterial infection may occur by using poor procedures. You should get your piercing done at a certified store.
3. Wrong Jewellery
Some people suffer from an allergic reaction that often leads to more serious infection because of wrong jewellery. It may lead to migration and rejection too. Nickel, for instance, causes an allergic reaction in many people.
So, ensure you only use jewelry made of stainless steel, titanium or gold. Furthermore, avoid going for jewelry that is too tight or loose.
4. Constant Touching
Majorities tend to ignore it but it is another common cause. As you know infected piercing is primarily caused by pathogens.
Most of these pathogens live on human skin. If you touch your newly pierced ear with dirty hands, the infection causing pathogens transfers to the holes.
Constant touching by clothes also further irritates the piercing.
Therefore, don’t be surprised your piercing is infected for months or a year after complete healing.
5. Poor Hygiene
Poor hygiene could be dangerous. Accumulation of dirt will make it get an infection. You need to pay attention to keep your pierced area clean and dry while it is healing. Failing to maintain personal hygiene can increase chances of getting infections.
Basically, infections will spread from other body parts through indirect contact or touching.
Besides, you may end up getting your cartilage piercing infected as a result of some physical injuries that result from the process of piercing, over cleaning, irritation and the usage of a piercing gun.
Regularly touching the jewelry also leads to an infection.
There are also external factors that can lead to infections.
6. Swimming in waters which are stagnant and contaminated usually causes infections.
7. Wearing tight clothes.
8. Disinfectants contaminated with species of bacteria as well as benzalkonium chloride used as antiseptic in hospitals are also the sources of infection.
9. The improper use of piercing guns, needle, jewellery or other methods of piercing using metals may also amount to infections.
10. Improper techniques of incision and drainage are the primary causes of cartilage infection and swelling.
Daily Care Routine For Belly Button Piercing Infection
Don’t touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. Unwashed hands carry bacteria and can cause infection. While healing, your piercing needs cleaning once daily. Note that cleaning often also harms your piercing.
You need to use an antibacterial soap that has chloroxylenol or triclosan.
Some of the other aftercare are listed below-
1. Warm Water And Saline Solution
Saline solution soothes if the piercing hurts and aids in the healing process. One of the most common ways to take good care of your piercing is cleaning it with warm water. It can be done after you shower with soap.
Warm water relieves pain and minimises chances of swelling. Also, cleaning promotes healing as it discourages microbes from accumulating near or in the piercing.
2. Avoid Touching
Avoid touching unless you have a reason such as cleaning. Resist touching especially if it is a newly pierced. When you require changing piercing jewellery (studs or earrings), cleanse both your hands and rinse all tools you are going to use to avoid germs transfer and infection-causing microbes.
Dry your hands too. However, during the healing phase, you shouldn’t change your piercing jewellery often.
Furthermore, touching twists your piercing thus slowing the healing time. It can also lead to breakage of naturally formed crust around the piercings
3. Avoid Smoking Or Smoke
Smoke is one of the various irritants apart from chemicals. Hence avoid it
4. Don’t Change Your Jewellery
Unless you have a different problem with your upper ear piercing, don’t change the initial studs until it has healed.
5. Use Fitting Hypoallergenic Jewellery
Don’t use non-standard jewellery other than standard titanium or other jewellery that your piercer recommends. Use of quality ear jewellery is an important aftercare tip to prevent possible contact allergy that may cause your outer ear to swell badly.
Some of the other things that can be helpful are down below
- Keep the piercing clean and dry
- Try to avoid tight clothes without. It is important to minimise injury to your piercing when removing or wearing clothes such as T-shirts.
- Don’t allow your friends to touch your ears as it is a potential means of transferring germs directly by contact.
- Avoid the use of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide during cleaning.
- Ensure that your body and bedding are tidy, cleaned or regularly changed.
- Satisfy your nutritional diet to promote healing.
Signs Of Belly Button Piercing Infection
Piercing is a dangerous procedure. Are you scared of the risks of piercings? You might be wondering how you would know if your cartilage piercing is infected so as to be treated early. It is simple.
Here are some of the common cartilage piercing infection signs and symptoms that you will never miss.
Tenderness and pain, redness of the skin, inflammation of the area, discharge from the piercing on your cartilage that might include pus that might be green or yellowish in color.
The color around the piercing site changes its color, prolonged bleeding, crust formation and scabbing. Fever especially if you have been infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, nausea, vomiting etc.
One of the common symptoms is indicated by skin around your piercings. Fresh piercing is usually red but afterward if it turns red or a color different from that of skin. It can be an infection.
A severely swollen navel piercing often hints at an infection. In particular, the swelling may be accompanied by pain, tenderness, and redness also known as “red belly button piercing.”
Again, if you observe red lines that are from and runs from the piercing site it is also a sign of infection
If your piercing becomes painful to touch, beware it could be an infection sign particularly when signs of reddening or aching are present.
People think it could be normal to get white or pale yellow oozing or discharges. Well, this isn’t always true. But, if you see a green or brown pus-like discharge leaking from cartilage piercing something is wrong.
There is high chance that it is infection signs. An abscess can lead a more dangerous infection.
v. Bad Smell
The smell may come out of the piercing. It is most of the time bad odor.
It is another serious sign of severe piercing infection. It doesn’t occur often. And, bleeding can also be common after an injury that easily exposes your piercing to infections.
vii. Fever And High Temperature
In severe cases, you may experience high temperature or warm feeling when you touch the area around the piercing site. This should be a serious concern and cannot be something to ponder. You should seek medical help immediately if fever and ache develops
Other symptoms include allergic reaction, tissue tear, Boils (bacterial pocket) and abscesses, Keloids – A large darker colour that surrounding your skin, nausea, damage to underlying blood vessels or nerves, vomiting, stretching and associated problems, Scarring – it occurs due to the pressure exerted during the piercing period, redness and red bumps.
How To Clean An Infected Belly Button Piercing?
Treatment with medicines and remedies are effective as long as you clean your infected area properly. It speeds up the healing process and ensures there are no chances of re-infection or spreading of the infection to areas around the piercing.
To clean an infected belly piercing, you need to get a cleaning solution such as piercing solution, saline solution or even an antibacterial soap and cotton swabs.
Dip your cotton swabs into the cleaning solution and gently begin cleaning the area around the piercing, removing all discharge and debris.
Then, you should rotate your piercing 3 to 4 times. Do this twice a day. Avoid over cleaning since it slows down the healing process.
It is advisable to also clean your piercing when taking a warm shower. You may use antibacterial soaps.
However, you need to avoid perfumed soaps since they can easily irritate your piercing.
Belly Button Piercing During Pregnancy
You are advised not to use your piercing after the end of the second trimester. This is because during pregnancy the skin undergoes stretching. The muscles move and hence it can irritate the piercing leading to infection.
Also, if blood loss occurs due to bleeding it is not good. So, you must remove your piercing during pregnancy.
Here, I have listed some before and after piercing precautions.
a. Suitable Materials
You should consider using surgical stainless steel, 18-carat gold, titanium, niobium, PTFE.
Don’t use 9-carat gold, silver or gold-plated jewellery in new piercings. Because in a healing cartilage piercing the gold plating can wear off from the jewellery before the piercing is healed. Avoid Nickel at all cost.
b. Changing Jewellery
You are prone to damage your piercing if you change jewellery during the healing period. This should be done by a professional piercer. Don’t change it often when healing. When the piercing is healed, you can change it yourself.
c. Cleaning Agents
Never use alcohol swabs, chemicals like Betadine, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, methylated spirit, or tea tree oil to clean the piercing.
It disinfects but also destroys your healing flesh. The killed flesh then becomes easy for infection.
d. Viral Infections
Viruses like Hepatitis A, B, and C, and HIV can penetrate the piercing if it is not healed. These viruses may be present in the blood, semen, saliva, sweat and vaginal secretions of infected persons. Until your piercing has healed avoid bodily fluids from contacting your piercing.
Studies show that vitamin C and zinc promote healing. If you are taking medications, ask your pharmacist to make sure there are no interactions between them and the medicines you intend to take.
Like, vitamin C delays the absorption of the contraceptive pill – they should be taken at different times.
Don’t forget to take your daily intake of minerals too such as iron.
Treatment For Belly Button Piercing Infection
As a first-aid, you should do daily cleaning routine using anti-bacterial soaps. Treatments and care options can help get rid of infections in the belly ring area.
However, if you do proper aftercare before and after healing, you might be able to prevent infections.
1. Even with meticulous care, piercings become infected most of the time. The good news is that the treatment for infected piercings is simple if caught early. If there is no pus and no abscess, the infection can be treated with common antibiotics.
Common antibiotics that are known to cure an infected piercing fast includePolysporin, Bactine, Neosporin, Bacitracin, and Mupirocin.
2. If pus is draining from your piercing or an abscess, you may need to go to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics and possible surgical drainage of the infection. It is a medical emergency.
3. If fever, nausea, and vomiting occur with swelling, you may be given oral antibiotics.
4. Other medical complications include allergic reactions to jewellery and scarring, and two severe medical conditions called keloid formation and Pyogenic granuloma.
5. Allergic reactions are common if the jewellery is made of nickel. It is easily treated by removing and replacing the jewellery with gold or nylon ones. Nylon (plastic) studs are inexpensive and rarely cause allergic reactions.
6. Pyogenic granuloma is a medical complication of cartilage piercing causing a red or flesh-colored lump near or around the piercing. It is caused by an overgrowth of tissue during wound healing.
Keloids are another medical complication of piercing that also results in a flesh-colored bump, usually at the piercing. Specialised treatment from a plastic surgeon is necessary for both of these conditions.
Now, I will tell you regarding home remedies that can go hand in hand with the medications. It involves the use of lemon, chamomile, aspirin, tea tree oil etc which are easily available in the kitchen or in the convenience stores.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Belly Button Piercing Infection
I shall now tell you the remedies in details-
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps in healing the infected area fast. Therefore, you should increase your Vitamin C intake.
With anti-inflammatory benefits, aloe can help with infected belly button piercing. You have to take the gel out from the leaf and apply it to the infected area. Wait until the area is dry then wash with a wet cloth and dry gently.
3. Tea Tree Oil
The antibacterial property of tea tree oil makes it a great remedy for cartilage piercing bumps. Just dab a cotton ball in the oil and apply it to the affected area. Do it once a day to see results.
4. Warm Water Cleansing
If you don’t have oil available at home, you can simply use warm water for pain relief. Just dab a flannel cloth or gauze in warm water and use it to clean the affected area.
Make sure to keep your piercing area clean, as it accelerates healing.
5. Sea Salt Soaks
Saline solutions should be used after a bath. It helps in disinfection and so sea salt soaks are used. For this, Take a clean bowl and add a quarter cup of warm water with a quarter teaspoon of sea salt to it.
Mix well and dab it with cotton directly on your bump. Leave it there for 10 minutes and then rinse it off completely. Doing this helps to get rid of your cartilage piercing bump.
6. Cold Compress
A cold compress helps if the area is swollen inflamed or is aching. For a bruised and swollen skin, wrap a cold pack in a clean towel and apply it to the infected area. You should avoid placing ice directly on your skin. It damages the tissues.
Sea salt treatment becomes more effective when coupled with chamomile tea bags. For this boil, the chamomile tea bags for few minutes, let it cool and apply it to the affected area. Leave it for 10 minutes or till the tea bag dries.
8. Warm Compress
Warm compress helps in circulation of blood. Thus, it aids in healing.
Owing to its anti-bacterial property, aspirin can be used. For this, crush an aspirin and then add a few drop of water to form a paste.
Apply the paste to the affected area and leave it on for pain relief. It also helps open up your blood vessels and promotes healing.
10. White Vinegar
It stops the discharge from an infected navel piercing. White vinegar is acidic and helps stop infections from spreading. For this, mix two-two parts of warm water with white vinegar.
Then, soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply it to the piercing wound. Leave it for 15 minutes then rinse off using warm water. Pat dry using a clean towel.You should repeat this two to three times a day.
11. Lemon Juice
Mix a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice with water in a bowl. Dip a cotton ball and apply it on the bump. Lemon juice helps in getting rid of cartilage piercing bump.The paste of lemon juice, aspirin, and warm water also helps relieve pain and itch.
Lavender oil can be used for the better healing of the piercing area because it acts as a lubricant for cartilage piercing and helps in the healing of the scars and prevents tightening.During the healing process, you should take proper care of nutrition, you must avoid alcohol and smoking. This ensures you with good blood circulation to help you heal faster.
It is essential for you to bear the pain and duration of the healing process. It is so because the slightest mistake may aggravate the duration and the extent of suffering.And, you should be careful to ensure that the affected area has been treated completely. Because the piercing area may appear as healed but the tissues within may not have actually healed.
Carelessness causes complications which can lead to the unusual discharge of fluids from the piercing area. This may give rise to pain and reddening of the piercing area.With the knowledge of healing time, care and aftercare, cleaning, treatments etc, you should be able to know when to see a doctor.
If you suffer any serious symptoms of infection see a doctor as soon as possible for proper treatment.Hence, piercings are very sensitive in nature and so it must be done by only a trained and a highly experienced piercing so that you can flaunt fashionable accessories with slight pain but no suffering.
However, it is advisable to get treated by a dermatologist in case the situation worsens.Taking Precaution and proper care is the best key.