I received a message from a woman who was concerned about her navel piercing, which is experiencing healing problems:
Hi! I have been having trouble with the healing process for my navel piercing, and it's just gotten so frustrating I don't know what to do anymore. I've talked to the piercer who did it as well as a piercer in my local area, though both said it was healing alright at the time, but...
It's been almost six months since I got it done, and it goes through cycles of being better and worse, and while I know that the crusty, goopy discharge is normal during the healing process (very slightly yellow in color), it just seems like it's taking too long. I go through a regimen of soaking it three times a day with a sea salt solution, which helps sometimes and other times doesn't at all, and while sometimes it discharges very little, others it gets so crusty, the bottom ball sticking to the hole, which can get quite uncomfortable. Other times still it bleeds as well, and my three time a day soak ended up not working anymore, to the point where I could barely move my belly without it hurting terribly, yet the discharge was never green or a darker yellow (aside from the mixed in blood every so often from how irritated the hole seemed).
Now, I'm in the military, and lately I've been loosening my belt and wearing my pants low, but my navel still gets squished around the piercing, which I'm worried might be part of the problem, yet there's nothing I can do about it seeing as I have to wear my uniform. Recently, combining wearing my uniform lower on my hips and just plain leaving my piercing alone, it got so much better I thought I was over it, but then again this morning it bled and crusted and started to hurt, I swear I'm near to the point of tears over how frustrating it is. I've looked online, trying to find answers to my questions about why it isn't healing, why traditionally accepted methods of aftercare aren't working, why my friend, who got hers done at the same time and is also military, is able to change hers out now. I've read that sometimes it takes years to heal, but the level of irritation I'm experiencing just doesn't seem normal. I worried about a rejection, but the last piercer I went to said that it was just irritated, probably because I cleaned it too often/it moved around too much.
I figured, if anyone could tell me what to do, it would be you. I will send the photos I took in an email, I look forward to your response! These were right after cleaning, if you need some with the discharge, I can have some soon as well, please feel free to ask, I need all the help I can get!
Pierings of the navel routinely take 6-9 months or longer to heal, so you're just at the beginning of the time frame when the piercing could be expected to settle down. But I think you're having an additional problem that is unrelated to your care of the piercing or the way your clothing fits! I was alerted to the issue by noting how nicely healed the top portion seemed to be as compared to the bottom. So I tooke a closer look and I think you need to change out your jewelry.
I blew up the image and made an arrow on it to show what looks like tool marks on your bar. I think that is tearing up your tissue!
Even with new jewelry, if you're not averse to using an animal product, I HIGHLY suggest emu oil. You can learn about it here: http://piercingbible.com/emu-oil
And here's another idea from The Piercing Bible to minimize impact to the area:
Even piercings concealed beneath clothes can be at risk unless you take extra precautions. A hard plastic, vented eye patch secured over the area can shield a nipple or navel from impact. Hold it in place with snug, stretchy workout clothing, or by winding a length of Ace bandage around your torso. Add a sterile gauze square or two between your skin and the plastic guard for a comfortable layer of clean, absorbent padding. These supplies are readily available at any drug store or pharmacy. The patch can be used for a range of circumstances, from shielding a navel piercing against tight panty-hose to protecting a nipple piercing from a bulletproof vest.