3 Jul 2012

I received this message from a concerned piercee:

Hi, I would like your help and advice on a recent spontaneous piercing.
Navel Piercing  I went into a tattoo and piercing shop yesterday at niagra falls, inside the tourism area and got the piercing done to my belly button. However, the girl did it wrong the first time (it was not straight), so she pierced the same ring again a second time. I do not remember her sterilizing my belly or ring. She only sterilized the ring by dipping it into dollarama hand sanitizer gel the first time. She did not give me any cleansers or solutions, and I was not asked to sign a consent form or anything like that.

Today my piercing area is a bit red and sore, it hurts when I bend over or even sit down on a bus or chair. I am a fitness instructor and my movements are very limited at the moment I can not exercise. I am wondering if this is a sign of infecton? I have applied water and sea salt mix with a Q tip, and coconut oil and tamanu oil to reduce the redness, and to help heal any possible scarring... is that ok? I am now worried about the two piercings, will the first one create a scar even though the barbal was taken out immediately after? Any information you have is greatly appreciated.

My reply:

Some tenderness is to be expected under ordinary circumstances, and yours were not normal (being pierced twice in the same session).

Given the situation, I have doubts about the jewelry quality, and appropriate body jewelry is crucial for successful healing. Scarring from the extra poke is not likely to be a big issue since the location was abandoned immediately.

The piercer clearly did not follow acceptable protocols, which may place you at higher risk for infection and other complications. You should report this piercer and studio to the health authorities or whoever regulates body piercing in that area. 

You should follow the care as outlined here. Those oils are not suggested for use on piercings. Saline soaks are much more effective than applications with a swab. Here's a section from The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing. It explains all about saline soaks: http://piercingbible.com/saline-soaks

And, importantly, you should know that even a properly done piercing is apt to get in the way of physical activity, at least for a while.  Here's a brief excerpt about that from my book:

Navel Piercing: Exercise and Activity

Of all the body piercings, navels are most vulnerable to stresses caused by physical activity. Because the abdomen is so affected by the movement of the torso, this piercing is extremely challenging for active individuals to heal. During your entire healing period you should be cautious with movements that affect your upper body. To work out your abdominal muscles, especially during initial healing, avoid full sit-ups. Perform only controlled partial crunches or do exercises that simply contract the muscles with minimal movement of the body. Physical impact to the area must be limited for the piercing to heal. To prevent injury to your piercing during exercise or sports, wear a plastic eye patch over the piercing (see “Protective Patch,” page 187).

Sexual activity can be perilous to your navel piercing due to friction on the wound and the potential for contamination from your partner’s bodily fluids. Application of a waterproof bandage before sexual encounters is helpful for preventing problems.

Navel Piercing


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