June 20th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who has an unhealed navel piercing that is showing signs of developing granuloma:
Hi! My navel piercing is about 2 and a half months old. I irritated it at first from playing with it (I know-big no no) but it cleared up when I stopped touching it and cleaned with H2Ocean. I quickly ran out of the solution and stopped cleaning it about a month ago. I ocassionally do sea salt soaks but only when it flares up. I've been taking my ring out a lot lately (another no no) and I recently (about 2 days ago) noticed this pink/red fleshy bubble/growth coming out of the bottom hole of my navel piercing. It is squishy, moves easily, doesn't hurt, but bleeds easily. It looks a lot worse than it feels. It secretes lymph and often sticks itself to the bottom ball on my ring. I ordered some H2Ocean and tea tree oil the other day to try and get rid of it. For now, I put 3% hydrogen peroxide on it 2x a day and do a sea salt soak. I just don't know whether it is a granuloma or hypergranulation? It freaks me out because it's kind of large. Probably half the size of a pea. What can I do to make it go away? How long will it take? Will I have to abandon my piercing? I love it and I don't want to take it out!!! I have attached quite a few pictures!
Thank you so much! -A
April 28th, 2013
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?
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:
March 6th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who wanted to try another navel piercing after two rejections:
Hello there, hope all is well. I am currently 27 years old and had my navel pierced when I was 17 and again when I was 19. Both times I kept the piercing in for over a year, cleaning and treating it, but it would not heal (and kept cycling between infected and not infected). I’m left with this horrid scar and I’m getting an itch to pierce it again. I’d only do it if I knew of a material that my body wouldn’t reject, but I don’t. Clearly “surgical steel” isn’t working. I’m assuming it’s the nickel in it.
I don't know if the piercers were members of the APP. However I can tell you that I first got pierced in May 2003, took it out (due to it not healing, keloids forming, and constantly having to treat it) in Jan 2004. When I went to get it re-pierced in June 2004, the piercer told me that the previous guy didn’t take enough skin when he pierced me, thus it was too far out and refused to heal. However, the same thing happened with this piercing, and thus I took it out about 8-10 months after that.
BOTH piercings were done with externally threaded surgical steel.
The area does not fold in when I sit, however I do remember the jewelry getting caught onto my jeans a lot when I sat/stood. Of course I tried to avoid that as much as possible, but sometimes I’d forget.
March 2nd, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was concerned about her navel piercing:
Yesterday was my 3 month mark with my navel piercing. I've been through hell and back with this thing but I am not giving up!!! I adore this piercing and I don't want to take it out!
I got a granuloma on the bottom hole of my piercing about a month ago. It's healing, slowly but surely. I apply tea tree oil to it 2-3 times a day and it has decreased in size.
Lately I have noticed my bar hanging out a bit more. I know that usually happens since the piercing bars are longer to accommodate for swelling of the piercing. However, I am worried it is hanging too much. I have seen pictures on Google of navel piercings that look much, much shallower than mine. I still have quite a thick amount of skin in between my balls. The reason for my concern is that right behind my top hole, there is a purple dot. I am wondering if that is where my hole used to be and it is moving?
Should I put in a smaller bar? I think I may have a little scratch on the bottom of my bar, but I can't quite tell...maybe you can?
Thanks for your help!!!
The piercing looks quite normal for its age, and there is an appropriate amount of tissue between the entry and exit holes.
The darkened appearance can be perfectly routine during healing.
This is from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:
February 26th, 2013
I received a message from a piercee who was concerned about her severely troubled navel piercing:
I've had a belly piercing since sept 2011 and it has refused to heal. At first, I thought it was because I hadnt changed the ring, but then I did n it became worse. I dont know what 2 do, n I dont want 2 take it off cos I've grown accustomed to it. Bt now it brings out yellow pus, n it itches n looks like its about to fall off. Please what do I do? And if push comes to shove and I have to take it off, when it heals, can I get another piercing? Thanks a lot And I also want to know if I cn repierce it after it heals if I unfortunately have to take it off. Thank you very much.
You're having a serious problem there. I believe part of it is from poor quality jewelry, and part of it is that your piercing is too shallow. It is clearly on its way out.
I HIGHLY suggest you do some saline soaks to foster drainage. You don't want to trap any infection inside when you abandon the piercing.
Information on saline soaks is here: http://piercingbible.com/saline-soaks
February 21st, 2013
I recieved a message from a woman whose new navel piercing didn't look the way she had hoped it would:
I had this done yesterday and was wondering if it looks this way because im too fat or did the guy mess up and should of pierced me further OUT of my belly button. I got this in hopes that it would help me feel more confident about myself but instead I feel so much worse. I mean my belly button ate the whole bottom part.
Thanks for your message. Did the piercer stand you up to mark the placement? That usually helps a skilled piercer to mark a piercing that will show better when you're standing as the baseline. Naturally, it looks different when your body is in different positions….
If you're not happy with your new piercing, you should consider removing it. You may want to talk to the piercer first about a possible repiercing in a more forward placement for the underside, and the top commensurately further from the edge of the lip (like I marked on your photo).
Another option is to change the jewelry to a j-curve.
You can get them here if your piercer doesn't stock them:
February 19th, 2013
I got a message from a piercee who was concerned about his new navel piercing:
Hi! I got my navel pierced ten days ago and it's still really red and tender. I bumped it pretty hard about a week ago and then again just last night. I came home from work last night and there was blood crusted on the bottom and I was really concerned, so on my way home I bought an eye patch and did my salt soak and then slept with the eyepatch on it (I'm a stomach sleeper and the eye patch prevents me from rolling over for some reason) and it felt a little less tender today, but when I came home from work tonight, I sat down to look at my piercing, and there was blood and pus! The lighting in my bathroom is really yellow so I couldn't tell how yellow it was (but it was definitely not green or dark yellow). The top hole is especially tender to the touch. I'm just paranoid about the possibility of it being infected, migrating, or possibly even rejecting! I would love for you to take a look at these pictures (I had just done my salt soak so there's a big ring and it's a little flush from the warm water) and tell me if it looks overly inflamed for being so new, if I should go to the doctor, or if I should just keep doing what I'm doing because it's normal. Thank you so much!
Also, I got it pierced at Club Tattoo and the guy who did it had a really nice portfolio. And is it ok to sleep with the eye patch on or will that hinder the airing out? Thank you!
Given the recent trauma, and how new the piercing is, I'd say it is looking pretty normal.
February 13th, 2013
I received a message from a woman who was concerned about the placement of her navel piercing:
Thanks for your time.
I recently read your book and then went out and did the opposite of what I should have done. I was on holiday and eager to get new piercings. Yesterday I went to the only piercer in the area, after receiving a recomendation from someone (I had no access to the internet or any other way to research the piercer). I wasn't aware of the price until the end, but she only charged me NZ$60 for 2 nipple and one naval piercing. The naval piercing is now concerning me, the placement seems to high, and it seems a little crooked also. I am worried that the placement of the lower exit hole above my belly button instead of inside it is causing the lower ball to put pressure on the piercing and will cause it to migrate or reject. I've attached some photos for you to see. I plan on seeing a trusted piercer ASAP to evaluate the piercing. Any advice or If you have any recommendations for piercers in Auckland, NZ that would be appreciated.
You're correct; your piercing is not properly placed. That's an abdominal surface piercing--not a navel piercing. In a properly placed piercing, the bottom of the jewelry comes out beneath that natural lip. Even if it were properly placed, I would not suggest you use that jewelry. That ball is too large to wear on a fresh piercing, and should be reserved for a healed piercing only. The navel takes 6 months or longer to heal.
I would strongly suggest you remove it ASAP to minimize scarring. You should allow the wound to heal completely and for the tissue to normalize before seeking another piercing in that area.