healing abandoned piercing

Healing A Navel Piercing During Pregnancy

I received a message from a woman who had questions about navel piercing and pregnancy:

Hi! I've just gotten my belly pierced 2 days ago. Now I'm worried that it'll leave a scar because this morning I was positive that I'm pregnant. Should I take it off now? Because I googled and it appears to me that the belly button looks ugly when pregnant and the scar looks bad. What should I do?

My response:

Hi there,

Yes, if you're pregnant the jewelry should be removed and the piercing abandoned ASAP. 

This is a section about "retiring" a piercing from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Retiring a Piercing

Retiring a piercing is permanently removing your jewelry and abandoning the hole. Though body piercing has the potential to be a lifelong adornment, there is no doubt that a piercing—especially one that hasn’t been stretched too fast or large—is easier to be rid of than most other body modifications.

It is best to retire your piercing when it is in good health. A notable exception is when you have a rejecting piercing in which the jewelry has migrated too close to the surface. The main risk of removing jewelry is the potential to trap an infection inside. If there is any purulent drainage (pus), pain, inflammation, or suspected infection, do not abandon your piercing. See “Leave Jewelry In!” page 202, and subsequent sections for more information.

If your piercing is fine but you have decided the time has come to get rid of it, simply wash your hands and the area, open your jewelry, and remove it. A little bit of water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly can help to make the transition smooth. Wash the area daily when you bathe. Abandoning a piercing is that simple.

Here's another section that is relevant to your issue about healing a piercing during pregnancy:

Consultation: 11 Years With An Apadravya (Male Genital) Piercing- Will It Heal?

I performed a consultation for a man who abandoned an Apadravya piercing:

Hey Elayne.

I have had an Apadravya in for 11 years. I believe it was originally pierced as a 10G and then stretched to an 8G.

Apadravya Piercing
An apadravya piercing

It is time to take it out. I took it out about 48 hours ago. I almost feel like my penis is now more in danger than it was when I had the barbell in. And am curious to know if the holes will eventually close up or if an 8 Gage is too big of a gap or maybe too much time has passed to allow this to happen. Like a doctor couldn't cauterize the hole to gap it, right?

Maybe too much worrying going on in my head. I just don't want these new un-covererd holes from getting infected and I almost want to pump someone full of baby juice at somepoint. So this tripple pee spray is not the spread I want.

Thank you for any and all information.

Thanks for listening.

My reply:

Hello D.

When abandoned, a piercing that old won't "heal" per se, but it is very likely to shrink. Your piercing has "epithelialized" as cells have grown to line the channel making it a sealed hole within your body. So it isn't an opening wound, but a channel all to itself (a "fistula"). This is assuming, of course, that you weren't experiencing irritation, a flare-up, or other problem, which can indicate that there is open tissue.

This is from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Will It Close?

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