Botched Horizontal Clitoral Hood (HCH) Piercing with Photo

Here's an exchange I had with a woman who suspected right away that there was something wrong with her Horizontal Clitoral Hood (HCH) piercing:

I just had a HCH piercing done this afternoon, but 'm freaking out and need some help.... It's swollen a bit and all the time I check it, is still bleeding! Didn`t have any pain after getting it done, just felt a little unconfortable when I walked up to the supermarket few hours later. But is all about this bleeding that seems no to stop! Am so worried and thinking of taking it of... Please would love if you could give me an advice! Thanks ever so much!

My reply:
Bleeding, bruising, or swelling after piercing are all perfectly normal. Here is a section about what to expect from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

What to Expect
Immediately after being pierced, some bleeding, swelling, and tenderness or pain are standard consequences. Bleeding may continue—usually intermittently—for a few days. Localized bruising is normal, though not typical for most piercings. Heavy blood flow or bleeding that continues for longer than a few days may be cause for concern,and you should contact your piercer or a physician. The placements that routinely bleed freely are discussed in chapters 10–13.

If a piercing bleeds or swells substantially right after the piercing, an ice pack should be applied as soon as possible. Prepared piercers keep disposable instant cold packs ready for use. They can be wrapped in a clean dental bib or paper towel to maintain hygiene. Occasionally, a piercing will swell so much that your piercer needs to swap out your jewelry for a larger piece before you leave the studio. An adept technician will use an insertion taper to change it for you without causing pain or trauma to the area. Internally threaded jewelry is safer and easier to deal with in these situations.

Piercings that bleed under the surface can leave a colorful bruise. Arnica montana (a natural herb) may help to diminish the discoloration. Arnica is available in cream or gel form at health food stores. Apply it on the bruise, but do not put it directly into the wound.4

On occasion, some localized swelling of a fresh piercing can impinge upon a nerve, causing temporary numbness or tingling, loss of taste in oral piercings, or diminished hearing in ear piercings (rare). However, barring an unusual placement or healing complications, these are transient troubles.

You can expect slight swelling, redness, and oozing of fluid to persist for a prolonged period of time. You might not have bleeding or tenderness immediately afterward, but a few weeks or months later it might happen. This is normal, and in the absence of other problems, there is no cause for concern. Any time a piercing has a flare-up, treat it as if it were new by resuming or accelerating your aftercare regimen.

Feel free to send a photo if you would like to have me evaluate your piercing.

Hello, Photo of Botched Horizontal Clitoral Hood (HCH) Piercing
Unfotunatelly I become to know the person who has done mine hasn`t ever done before.... Is has been done a few days ago and is still bleeding, but today just a little bit.

Till yesterday I couldn`t stretch it to clean because started bleeding constantly. Is a bit swollen and bruised in one side and is twisting.

Please tell me what you think and if I should take it of.. Thanks so much. 

My response:
Hi again,

From what I can see in the photo, you may not be a great candidate due to the deep crease in the center of your hood. Sometimes the piercing will surface and come through in the center there, because of how it dips down. Have you been able to look in the center to be sure you haven't received 2 piercings--one on each side of your hood tissue?

Also, a bar is not suitable jewelry for this location because it is placed horizontally in an area that is shaped vertically.

Here's a brief section from my book about the HCH piercing and jewelry:

The HCH piercing is generally better at looking good than feeling good. This piercing, which traverses the hood tissue above the clitoris, is aesthetically appealing to many women. A genital piercing can be visually delightful and bolster self-image, even if it is not placed for action. But most women who seek a genital piercing desire to physically enhance their erotic pleasure. Unfortunately, because of the way most women are built, the HCH won’t be able to deliver.

HCH Piercing: Placement and Choice of Jewelry
You need sufficient tissue in the configuration of a hill to get an HCH piercing. If you are built with a valley and a deeply recessed hood, you are not a candidate. Most women are formed with a hood that nearly—or completely—covers the clitoral glans. Therefore, the ring in an HCH simply rests atop the hood. For an HCH piercing to be stimulating, your clitoral glans needs to be somewhat exposed, the piercing must be perfectly placed, and the jewelry accurately sized. Only when all of these conditions are met can the bead of the ring touch your clitoris to add sensation.

The piercing should be placed in the natural creases at the base of the hood tissue where it forms from your body. Your piercer should carefully check for blood vessels in the region, because they are sometimes visible where the piercing should be made. If apparent veins cannot be avoided, then the HCH piercing should not be attempted. Your piercer must also be certain that your hood tissue is pliable enough to pinch up and lift away from the nerve bundle of your clitoris below, so she doesn’t give you an unintentional clitoris piercing.

If you are not built symmetrically, which is common, the ring will usually twist or lean to one side. This type of pressure causes discomfort and migration or other healing difficulties. If you want this piercing solely for adornment rather than sexual enhancement, you may prefer it to be positioned for visibility toward the top of your hood.

The correct diameter ring will encompass the tissue without pinching and it will be situated so the ball rests on the desired spot. A bar is seldom comfortable or safe: if it is short enough to avoid twisting, it may embed or pinch. If it is long enough to accommodate your hood, it will be prone to shifting and causing problems when you close your legs.


...So, with a bar, it wouldn't be expected to enhance sensation at all--even with a ring it wouldn't, because your hood completely covers your clitoris. Your bar looks too short to accommodate the swelling, and that may be trauma that is causing ongoing bleeding.

If the piercing was done just for aesthetics, it should probably have been higher--above your natural fold-line in the center. As it is, it looks as though it might inhibit the normal motion of your hood.

For all of these reasons, you should remove the jewelry and abandon the piercing.

It is definitely NOT a good idea to be the guinea pig for someone's first of a type of piercing. Sorry for the bad experience.

She responded:

And yes, I I did end up with two piercings.... couldn't wait `till your answer so just decided to take it off, which makes me feel much better because I was going mad. In the future will try to find a place where they really know what they are doing and see if I am abble to get a VCH. Anyway, is not for now.

Had my clit pierced about four days ago and it's super swollen and pretty painful. It's a horizontal, the piercer said he had done several clit piercings but seemed hesitant when it came down to actually doin the piercing. Not sure if I should take it out or leave it in. How long will it be swollen if that's normal? 

I have a question regarding the HCH. About 2 years ago, i got a horizontal clitoral hood piercing. i had never had a piercing done prior to this (not even my ears), so this was a big deal for me. My piercer used a relatively small-medium sized barbell, which i think was perfect for me. i got up and felt no pain whatsoever and it healed extremely fast. i have bought different types of rings but i always compared them to my first one, which i believe was a 16 ga. Recently, I bought a curved barbell online and when i received it, the bar looked much thicker than the ones i usually wear and the balls were much bigger. 

I am guessing i purchased a 14 ga. with 5mm balls.. i struggled just a bit to get the bar in but it fit pretty well and i love the way a bigger piece of jewelry looks down there. My only problem is that i've been feeling a a fair amount of pain. is there a reason for this? Is the jewelry too heavy or is the bar simply stretching the pierced area? i didnt think of it much at first, but it's been a few days and i still find it painful and uncomfortable especially when i bend down slightly or walk at a faster pace. 

i would appreciate any thoughts, help or advice!

Hi i just got an hch done 2 days ago. Today i took my kids and dog for a two mile walk when i got home i was swellen and really tender to touch. I just looked at it again after my shower and it is still tender and swellen. It also has a purple color on the whole area. Is that normal? Is there anything i can do to get it back to normal?

i actually got mine done last year. and yes it will bleed a bit for the first week. after that, if it still is then go back to where you got it pierced and have them look at it. they will know if something went wrong. oh and the swelling is perfectly normal. mine was larger than usual for almost a month.

Hello My Name Is a

I got a piercing about three month ago . Well lately I been feelin some discomfort where the piercing was place and i look at it and there is a knot right under neather the bar should i take it out or what should i do my bar was place vch way

I can't evaluate you without seeing or feeling the piercing. If you believe something is wrong, you should visit your piercer for a check up.

You're welcome to send some clear, close-up photos. Just use the Contact navigation to send me an email. When you receive a reply, you will have my email address to send the photos.