Tongue Piercing Problem

I received this message from a piercer with a question about tongue piercing:

Hello Elayne,
I'm currently a body piercer in NY, I have recently returned to piercing after having been out for some time. My question is, I pierced a womans tongue over a month ago and she returned with a hard bump inside her tongue after a night of drinking she said. There doesn't appear to be any puss or leakage of any type, however, she said it is slightly tender. I have never had this situation before and I have done several tongues in the past. It is not discolored either, do you have any suggestions for this situation?..Mick

Hi Mick,

Thanks for your message. It could be from trauma. If she was drunk, she might not know that she was playing with it too much, or doing something to it that irritated it. Hardness in tongue piercings is often scar tissue formation that is caused by "overuse" during healing. And it may seem to her that it happened overnight, but there's a possibility that development of the bump/hardness occurred over time and she just became aware of it suddently.

I'd suggest she do some mild saline rinses, just in case something got inside the channel, resulting in localized irritation. It isn't all that likely, but it is still a possibility. As long as there are any signs of distress, the piercing should be cared for as though it is healing. The recipe for the saline and suggested care guidelines are here:

Is there any swelling? Had her jewelry been downsized since the piercing was done?

Let me know how it goes....

Elayne Angel
The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing

hello recently had my toungue pierced 3 days ago , the swelling has gone down , havnt rly been cleanin it that well nd av drank alcohol and smoked since ,, have a ball he size of a 5 pence piece , in aball shape around the piercing , a hard solid ball and a ait worried it wnt go ,, * no puss , no discoulirin ..

Hi Elayne,

I had my tongue pierced about four days ago, I decided it was right for me. I struggled to deal with the swelling and the ache so I went back to my piercer, she took it out for me today. Obviously it's still a little swollen but I'm more curious about the hardness. Is it just a bit of scar tissue formation? If so, will it go away?


Hiya, Ive had my tongue pierced for about 14years now...but in the last week has developed a pea size hard lump just before my bar! It's sore and dunno what to do really? Suggestions? 

Hello , I've had my tongue piercing for 2months now. It started getting irratated 2 days ago.. I gave oral sex to a guy 3 days ago.. I don't think it could be irratated from that, but I have been playing alot with my barbel since the 3rd day after i got it done.. could it be due to playing too much with it.. or taking it out too often maybe.. what can i do to stop the irritation and pain? Thank You.

Hi Elayne

I recently had my tongue pierced and after 3 days a brown color appeared on the top of my tongue. I rinced with peroxide diluted with water twice a day and salt water every available time because it reduced the swelling. The brown colour intensified so i went back to the guy who pierced me and he said it was an allergic reaction to the stainless steel stalk of the ring. This was the 5th day after. Now, on the 6th day I'm feeling a hardness in my tongue, where da stalk was inserted. The brown colour is receding but im only just feeling the hardness. Wat could be the cause? and there is a slight bump underneath