Self-Performed PA (Prince Albert) Male Genital Piercing

I received a message from a man who had questions about the healing progress of his self-performed Prince Albert piercing:

Hi Elayne,

First of all, thank you for maintaining such a wonderful and informative website.  If only all interests had such a great resource online...

I'm writing today about a PA that I've had for about five weeks now that is still giving me some trouble.  A little bit of background on the piercing. I have to start out by telling you that it IS self-done.  I know I know... but to allay concerns as best as I can I took all precautions one can at home short of creating a sterile field, I used a sterilized needle and sterilized jewelry with clean hands and gloves.  I also didn't go this route out of being cheap or anything either (I've payed for piercings in the past plenty of times), I had a real desire to do this one myself and accepted all the risks and consequences of my actions!  That's actually not my question though, but may factor into your response.

Basically, my piercing is still just about as sore as the second or third week of having and has shown little change over the last two-three weeks.  There is also still some discharge from it and what appears to be some scarring or swelling on the glans-side of hole.  When I have an erection it is the most sore, and this is especially a problem when sleeping, where I have little to no control.  My question is basically, is the piercing fundamentally flawed (poor placement, etc.) and needs to be removed and redone, or do I just need to be more careful with it and give it more time?

A couple more technical details about the piercing/aftercare: I previously had an apadravya (done at Enigma in San Diego as per the referral on your website, thanks!) and reused the placement for this piercing. I used an 8g needle into a needle receiving tube and then immediately tapered up to 6g.  I'm wearing a medical grade stainless captive bead ring from painfulpleasures.com. I shower once a day, but otherwise don't go out of my way to really clean the piercing.  I will sometimes gently wipe away any softened discharge after urinating (a little graphic... sorry).  I've only had sex twice since doing the piercing and always with a condom and only if it's mostly pain free. I may have pushed it one of those times though a little too much...  

Any feedback you have will be much appreciated about any of the stuff I brought up! Is it fundamentally flawed or do I just need to be more patient? I have included three pictures: one flaccid, one erect, and once showing the placement.

Thanks

  Prince Albert self-pierced, flaccid.Prince Albert self-pierced, placementPrince Albert piercing-- self-pierced, erect.

My response:

Thanks for the positive feedback; I appreciate it.

It is still within the usual initial healing time frame (4-6 weeks or longer) so you can't expect it to be fully healed already. 

Also, you didn't say whether the original apadravya had closed completely on the bottom. In any case, if you have some residual scar tissue there, that could impact your healing course and possibly slow it down.

Are you certain the jewelry is a sufficient diameter to fit your biggest erect measurement without any pinching? And, there's a chance that by going with the 6 ga for initial jewelry, you're simply wearing something in there that's overly heavy against a fresh wound.

Is the jewelry super-smooth or are there any scratches? It wasn't clear from the images if there might be a nick or two in the metal, and that could surely delay your healing.

The photos didn't reveal anything else that was obviously wrong. One thing I can say is that the pierce-and-stretch method may have set you up for some faulty healing as described in my book,  The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Pierce and Stretch

This technique is fairly common, but it is even less advisable than dead stretching. A piercing is made with a piercing needle and then immediately stretched with a taper to a larger gauge. This takes a wound that was neatly formed by a sharp needle and distorts it, which can make it more challenging for your body to form the base layer of cells, the literal basis of tissue healing. Doing immediate damage in this way can also predispose the piercing to trouble, including delayed healing or excess scar tissue formation. 

Also from my book: some secretions are normal with any healing piercing….

Normal Piercing Secretions 

During much of the healing course, it is normal to experience “crusties,” a nonmedical term used to describe the dried discharge of serous exudates (lymph, dead cells, and interstitial fluid [liquid from between cells]) that comes from a healing piercing. A small amount of clear or straw-colored fluid seeps from the channel, dries, and forms a bit of crust on your jewelry and the tissue around the openings of your piercing. Never pick at it with dirty fingers!

This secretion is distinguished from pus, which is a yellowish-white, thick, often foul-smelling fluid. It is made up primarily of white blood cells, bacteria, and dead cells. Pus is secreted in response to inflammation or infection. You may see a small amount early in the initial stage due to inflammation; after that, this is not a normal piercing secretion. Compounds produced by certain microbes cause it to have a yellowish, grayish, or greenish appearance. Colored pus is indicative of infection.

Sebum is a substance from your oil glands that collects in healed piercing channels. It is a naturally occurring product of the body, containing fat, keratin (a fibrous protein), and cellular material. The purpose of sebum is to protect your skin and hair, keep it moisturized, and to inhibit the growth of microorganisms on the skin. People sometimes mistake it for pus, but it is more solid and cheeselike and has a distinctive rotten odor that reflects the dead cellular debris it contains.

You may want to try some saline soaks as explained here: http://piercingbible.com/saline-soaks

And/or some emu oil (if you don't object to using an animal product): http://piercingbible.com/emu-oil

Many people find it to be amazingly helpful for healing piercings.