female nipple piercing
July 11th, 2014
A woman wrote to me for a consultation about her failed nipple piercings. She'd been told that her problem was "rejection" but I disagree with that assessment.
Here's how they looked, and what she said:
June 15th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who had questions about nipple piercing placement on small anatomy:
I've read your blog for quite some time now, and I've found it to be very informative and interesting, and has given me enough knowledge to get some genital piercings, all of which have turned out great. I've wanted to have my nipples pierced for quite some time, but I'm concerned about the risks involved with doing so on less than ideal anatomy. As you can see in the pictures, my nipples are quite small and not well-defined. Even when they do become "hard", they hardly stick away from the rest of the areola. I know that piercing even inverted nipples is possible which gives me some confidence, but I'm still wary of having it done.
My main concerns are:
-Would this end up having the same risks as a surface piercing (namely in their tendency towards rejection)?
-Would the standard 14 gauge be appropriate in my case (not sure if it would be too large)?
Thanks for any help! Please feel free to use the pictures/message on your website if you feel it might be of assistance to others in the same situation.
I'm so glad to hear that my information has been helpful to you!
May 6th, 2013
I received this message from a woman concerned about discharge and crusting from her nipple (areola) piercing:
Hi Elayne, I had contacted you a little while ago regarding my nipple piercings. Its taken me a bit to remember too get photos/get decent ones.
To remind you, I have had my nipples pierced since I was 18, so going on 4 years. They are in areola (as shown in the first picture) not nipple. they get crusty just about everyday if I'm lucky its only every couple days, and when moved/lightly pinched to clean the crust off and avoid it going back into the piercing in the process a whiteish creamy liquid comes out. (Shown as best as I could manage in the second picture)
Other possibly pertinent info, I have never had children or been pregnant so the chances of it being a breast milk like substance is very low, especially considering its not even in nipple. My jewelry is and has always been stainless surgical steel. I do not change it ever, I clean it every shower. Do not wear acrylic balls. My gynecologist had been consulted because she had areloa piercing, she said its normal that it happened to her for ten years. Only stopping when she took them out after having children.
I think that's it, I hope it helps...and I mean I have no pain or irritation. It only mildly smells like plugs do once in a blue moon if its really oozing so it makes me think its normal? Please help! End my 4 year span of thinking I'm crazy haha
And also thank you so very much for being willing to help.
April 7th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was experiencing unusual discharge from a healed nipple piercing:
I had my nipples pierced when I was 18, took them out when I was 22. I am now 32, my left nipple when pinched has a creamy white (normal) discharge like an ear, but my right nipple has a thin watery brown discharge. I had no infection when I removed the jewelry, but its been 10 years and I still get a little brownish discharge sometimes. There is no pain, no swelling, no extra sensitivity. I clean the area daily, have a very healthy lifestyle, and was curious if there is anything I can do to stop it without going on antibiotics?
Have you ever tried a regimen of 2-3 daily saline soaks for 2 weeks or so? Sometimes that will dry up/clear up discharge issues with abandoned piercings.
Feel free to send a clear, close up photo or two if you like. That isn't something I have heard about or seen in my career.
The coloration and consistency of the discharge don't seem consistent with infection, so you probably don't need antibiotics.
My "better safe than sorry" suggestion would be that you pay a visit to a piercing-friendly physician for input and advice.
Please keep me posted!
Thanks for your response. I have been using saline twice a day for the last week, and it has gone away almost completely. Thanks so much for your help, I have been trying to get this to go away for 10 years.
March 22nd, 2013
I recieved a message from a woman who was concerned about the odor of her healed nipple piercings:
I am a female that has a nipple piercing from a reliable professional piercer who you recommend.
I have fairly large nipples and he used a large gage post for my piercing. I experienced many months of bloody leakage that finally healed. My piercing is over 2 years old, but now I have a daily discharge of white fluid that has an odor. I want to have an attractive piercing that isn’t stinky. Could I schedule a consultation to review my situation and possible options? Do I need to just remove my piercing? Can I exchange it for another gage? Can I change it out for a different piece of jewelry? I love having my nipple pierced and how it feels, but the drainage is really a bother. I hope you can advise me on my options.
Thanks for your message. If you've had your piercing for over 2 years and the discharge is smelly, I believe I know what you need. An appointment with me is not required. You're welcome to change your jewelry, but that is not required and is unlikely to have any effect on this particular situation.
The excerpt below is from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing, and it explains the issue:
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.
March 20th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who wondered if her water consumption could affect the healing process:
OMG! Let me start off by saying that I'm so excited that you have an advice column sort of thing. I have had your book for years, and I've always wanted to ask you questions. Anywho I've had my nipple piercing done for about 6 months. It still crusts up, and I know that it has not completely healed. It used to have previous issues until I had my piercer change the barbell to a longer one. I still use salt water soaks every time it gets irritated, but I've noticed that as I've been drinking a lot of water it has stopped crusting up as much. Is this because I'm in the final stages of healing or the amount of water I've been drinking?
Thanks for your message. I haven't ever heard of increased water consumption being responsible for a major healing effect. That said, being hydrated is important for overall health and well being, so it couldn't hurt to continue drinking a lot of water.
And, you may find (as described in my book) that you will have ups and downs over time. You may have stopped crusting now, and whether you drink a lot of water or not, you may have more secretion once again. Don't be surprised by that cycle.
February 24th, 2013
I received a message from a piercee who was concerned about her nipple piercing, which appeared to be migrating:
I had both nipples done back in August. The one had to be removed about 3 months later because of rejection and now I think the other is doing the same.
I have been under a lot of stress but I'm just not sure. It's not in the same place anymore.
Yes, sorry-that does appear to be migration.
Did you use the same jewelry the first time?
I noticed your jewelry appears to have a matte finish and that can cause problems, especially in a new/healing piercing. Initial jewelry should have a super-smooth, high polish mirror finish for safety. It is unclear whether the ring would have been wide enough for optimal safety when the piercing was new. The part of a ring that passes through the tissue should be relatively straight.
You should probably go ahead and remove that ring now to avoid further tissue damage.
February 21st, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was considering the possibility of having multiple nipple piercings:
So I got both my nipples pierced quite a while back. Because of my profession I can't get any visible piercings and I'm not quite ready yet to go into genital ones. So that's why I was thinking of getting my nipples pierced again
What are some of the perks and risks of getting additional nipple piercings? My piercings are also not horizontal, but diagonal. I let my piercer do this on purpose, for aesthetic reasons. Is it possible to put the second pair straight on there, so it makes a diagonal cross?
To some extent your anatomy will determine appropriate (or possible) locations for added jewelry. If the second piercing would end up too close to the surface, or too far into the areola, those are potential issues. Also there's another consideration, depending on how much space you have, and therefore how much tissue is in between the jewelry: it can pinch on the interior. And, if the jewelry is quite close together, it is not uncommon that due to pressure, the skin in between thins and dissipates, and the jewelry rests metal to metal inside. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you experience discomfort from interior pinching.
The drawing from my book, The Piercing Bible, shows the appearance of a double nipple piercing in an "iron cross" formation.