There are many forms of body art, and belly button piercings are some of the most common. Similar to ear and nostril piercings, these are generally quite safe as long as they are done by a trained professional. The professional knows that for the piercing to be safe, it has to be done in a sterile environment, using very clean needles. The professional should also give the right aftercare regimen, so the piercing does not become infected. However, despite the greatest of care, there may be times when a piercing becomes infected. In this case, a lot of care must be observed so as to stop the infection from spreading to other organs of the body. One thing to note is that a belly button piercing can take a couple of years to heal completely. In this time, a lot of care should be taken when wearing clothes or performing other activities where contact with the piercing is possible.
Causes of an infected belly button piercing
Swelling, discoloration and soreness is common when a piercing is new. There are times when the piercing may produce some body fluids, and you should clean it using sterile cotton wool and surgical spirit. The discharge should abate with time, but if it gets worse, then the piecing may be infected. The most common causes of infection to a body piercing are bacterial infections and allergic reactions to the pin inserted. For some people, the use of nickel jewelry has been known to cause allergic reactions that lead to infection, so you need to know if you are susceptible to this reaction before you have your belly button pierced.
If unsure, you can ask for the following metals which are considered safe:
- 14 or 18 carat gold
- Surgical steel
Bacterial infections come about when dirt and other foreign substances are allowed to get into the opening. This is the reason why you should go to a registered practitioner, who will follow the regulations properly. The environment should be hygienic and clean, and sterilized needles used.
Infected Belly Button Piercing – Signs to watch out for
There will be a lot of pain, redness and swelling when you have a bacterial infection in the piercing. There will also be a dark yellow, green, brown or gray discharge coming from the wound. The fluid may have a foul odor. There may also be red lines emanating from the center of the wound. In severe cases, one may experience vomiting, and an upset stomach; fever accompanied by dizziness may also occur.
When suffering from an allergic reaction, there will be some itchiness around the piercing and a serious rash which may spread in circles from the wound. The piercing may also seem larger than before and there will be some ebbing tenderness.
Belly Button Piercing Infection – Treatment and Care
You should never remove the jewelry on your own, when you suspect that your piercing is infected. Go to a doctor or to the person who did the piercing, so it can be removed in a clean environment, using sterile tools. It is quite unlikely for the jewelry to be removed, unless the infection is very serious. The most common mode of treatment is keeping the hole open, so the fluids may drain out; if the fluids remain in the hole then the infection will begin spreading inwards, and this may lead to the formation of an abscess.
The piercing should then be cleaned at least twice a day. The doctor will prescribe an antibacterial soap, or you can use a mixture of ½ a teaspoon of table salt and a cup of water. Many people think of using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, but these are not recommended since they cause the skin to dry and this wills create further irritation of the wound. When cleaning the piercing, you should first wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap, and then swab the piercing with a clean piece of cotton wool using the salt solution. Pat the area dry with a clean towel when done.
When a body piercing is infected, a warm compress will help the pus drain and reduce the swelling. Always dry the area with a dry towel after using a compress. You should also buy some antibacterial cream to use on the piercing to treat the wound and prevent further infection. You should always use cream and not ointments, since ointments block the wound, trapping the infection inside.F
Always ensure that the practitioner doing the piercing is accredited by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) and has a clean environment to carry out the piercing. Should you notice any signs of an infection, go see your doctor immediately. Any form of body art comes with the risk of infection and you should take any signs of infection seriously. Once you follow these steps, it will become easier to take care of the piercing until it is completely healed.
Filed in: Featured