The belly button piercing gives you a chance to don magnificent jewelry. When well taken care of, the piercing heals off without issues. However, this is not always the case. At times infections will occur. We look at belly button piercing aftercare and how to deal with any infections that may arise.
Belly Button Piercing Aftercare
Although some might see the belly button piercing as a simple process, it requires to be carried out by a professional using the right tools. The right initial jewelry also has to be used. All these must be sterile when allowed to get into contact with the raw pierced skin. This way the possibility of complications resulting from negligence is minimized. When this is observed, it is important for it to be followed up by proper belly button piercing aftercare for the healing to be seamless. Below are the healing stages and various aftercare procedures.
Stages of a Piercing’s Healing Process
After the procedure has been carried out, the piercing will take at least six months to heal. For some, this may be as long as 12 months. During this time, the piercing goes through three stages of healing. These are:
The Inflammatory Stage
This is the first stage of the healing process. At this point, the piercing is an open wound. During this time you can expect tenderness and swelling. Avoid handling the area unless you are cleaning it.
The Growth Stage
This is the second stage in the healing process. In this stage, the body starts to react to the healing wound. Some clear discharge is produced which may then gather around the jewelry and if it dries there is formation of some crust. These normally form around the jewelry.
As tempting as it would be, crusts should not be picked with our hands. Only get rid of them when cleaning the area as at this time they will have soaked and softened up to get off the area when wiped off. At this phase the body normally seals the piercing channel. By the time this phase comes to an end, the piercing is considered almost healed.
After the piercing channel has been sealed, it matures. The piercing forms scar tissue. At times, there may be movement from stage three to stage two for a number of times before it heals. There is therefore a need for proper after care. This will help to prevent infections as piercings can quickly regress if mistreated or not well taken care of.
When there are infections, pus which is a thick drainage that is yellow or green will be produced. It could produce a bad odor as well and is an indication of an infection. Pus is not to be confused with sebum which is a normal secretion. This normally is produced by the body, can be foul smelling as well but is not an indication of an infection
Belly Button Piercing After Care
The healing of a belly button piercing can go to beyond six months. Some people will take up to a whole year to heal. It is therefore necessary to know how to take care of the piercing. We look at various ways on how to take care of a belly button piercing properly.
Basic Aftercare Tips
Even before putting into place regular care procedures, there are some basics that should not be ignored. These will go a long way in preventing infections. Some of these include:
- Always wash your hands with soap before handling the jewelry or piercing.
- In case you are changing jewelry, ensure that it is sterilize before putting it on.
- Always follow the instructions given by the piercer when taking care of the piercing.
- Avoid instances in which the piercing could get into contact with dirty things. This includes avoiding swimming before you are completely healed.
There are a lot of ways through which a navel piercing can get infected. Proper after care though can enhance quick healing. The right choice of jewelry and how professional the piercer is also affect how long it takes for the piercing to heal. Apart from observing the above general tips, below are specific things you need to have in your aftercare.
This involves observing cleanliness with the aim of keeping the piercing clean and avoiding passing microorganisms to the area. Observing good hygiene in matters concerning belly button aftercare involves:
- Wash your hands before handling the piercing
- Using disposable products to clean the area
- Avoiding as much as possible the exchange of body fluids around the pieced area.
- Avoid sleeping with your pets.
- Change the towels and bedding at least once every week.
- Ensure that any sweat is cleaned out properly.
- Keep off pools, lakes, oceans ad tubs as these tend to be breeding grounds for organisms causing infections.
Belly button piercing may not be for everyone depending on the kind of lifestyle you live. After the piercing has been done, some care you can give it involves adopting the correct lifestyle to facilitate healing.
- Get enough rest to avoid straining the area.
- Eat healthy and ensure your meals are balanced. This will ensure that the body has enough to form repair tissue for the area.
- Avoid straining the area and get enough rest.
- Take a lot of water to stay well hydrated.
- Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol. Also keep off recreational drugs. These tend to delay the healing process.
Any kind of trauma no matter how slight is bad for the unhealed piercing. It could cause the area to get infected, result in migration and even rejections. To ensure that the area heals properly avoid things that may pull or push the piercing and the jewelry.
- Avoid playing with the new piercing as much as you can. The initial jewelry should not be changed until such a time that the piercing is deemed healed.
- When cleaning it, handle the area gently.
- Watch what you wear as clothes may rub against the new piercing. Wear loose clothes to reduce friction around the area.
- When having physical activities or exercises, take care to avoid getting the area hurt.
Cleaning the Piercing
Other than taking the precautions mentioned above, the area must also be cleaned. There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to this.
- Use saline solution to clean up the area every day. You could soak a cotton ball in the solution and place it over the area for about five minutes two times each day. This will help to loosen any crusts that may have formed and thus ease their removal. Soaking the area with saline solution should go on even when the area seems healed. In case you have none, add a tablespoon of sea salt to a glass of clean water to make one at home.
- When cleaning up, take a shower as opposed to taking a bath. Start by cleaning up the rest of the body before washing up the area using a mild antibacterial soap. Do not use finger nails to remove crusts. Instead settle for gauze pads or cotton balls.
- Avoid using products such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, bactine and rubbing alcohol to clean the piercing as they irritate the piercing and make it worse.
While following the instructions discussed above goes a long way to prevent belly button infections, you may follow them to the letter and still end up with an infection. The piercing could secrete fluids that crust around the belly button piercing. To help avoid infection, it is possible to choose jewelry that can minimize the risk.
For first time piercings, choose rings made of gold, stainless steel or titanium. You could also settle for jewelry made from PTFE material. This is not to be confused with flexible plastic jewelry. The later cannot be used for initial piercings. Real PTFE does not come in colors and is white. It is also used as retainer jewelry for belly button piercings in pregnancy.
Belly Button Piercing Swimming
When one gets a new belly button piercing, some of the things that may seem harmless may end up causing infections. A lot of caution has to be taken especially in matters regarding what comes into contact with the area. With this in mind, can you go swimming with a new belly button piercing?
When getting instructions from your piercer, one of the things they should tell you is that you should not go swimming with your piercing. Avoid swimming whether it is in chlorine treated pools, in the sea, river, ocean or lake. These swimming places are known to be unsanitary. They may contain bacteria that could cause infections on the piercings.
This being the case, how long before you can go swimming after belly button piercing? This will be totally dependent on an individual’s rate of healing. Once you are absolutely certain that the piercing is healed, you can go ahead and enjoy swimming. Ensure that you know how to swim with a belly button piercing to avoid infections.
Belly Button Piercing Rules
When you make a decision to have your belly button pierced, the thinking is that it will heal soon and you will be in a position to flaunt the new body modification art within no time. No one is ever prepared for the nastier side of it. The oozing of pus, general discomfort and at times lumps around the area can be discouraging. To prevent these, there are some belly button piercing healing rules that should be followed. These are as listed.
- Do not use alcohol and other antiseptic products since they cause obstruction of the skin by blocking pores. Although they disinfect the area, they do not promote healing. Instead, if you have to use topical treatments settle for water based ointments as these promote air movement.
- Any infection that does not get better after three days should be checked by a doctor.
- While having a new piercing, avoid bathing in tubs and swimming in pools, lakes and other open water areas as these tend to harbor bacteria which can cause infections.
- Avoid using waist bands until the new piercing heals.
Belly Button Piercing Infection
Infections in the belly button are common. Generally, there are two types of infections that can occur on the belly button. These are yeast and bacterial infections. The fact that the area is warm and dark ad can easily retain moisture makes it vulnerable to infections as these conditions are favorable for the growth of micro-organisms. Belly button piercing infections are as a result of bacteria. This is the same kind of infection you are likely to get if you accidentally scratch the area.
Signs of a Belly Button Piercing Infection
Generally, persons with deep belly buttons are at a higher risk of getting infections. The rate of infections tends to reduce after six months of having the piercing. When you are having an infected piercing, it is unlikely for it to go unnoticed. Some of the telltale signs of infection include:
- The initial symptoms are mild pain, the area reddening and may feel hot when touched.
- There will also be production of pus in the initial phase of infection. This can be in the form of gray or green discharge. With time, there could be bleeding.
- The discharge will at times produce a foul smell.
- As the infection advances, the infected area will become swollen.
- Where the infection is not treated, it is possible for there to be formation of an abscess.
- In severe infections, you may experience nausea.
Belly Button Piercing Infection Treatment
To avoid the infections, you should follow the aftercare instructions given to you by the piercer. Also ensure that the piercing is done by a professional. Let the establishment be a clean one to minimize the likelihood of infection. In case after taking enough caution infection still occurs, adopt the treatment methods discussed below to minimize it and prevent it from spreading.
- Each day, clean the piercing with a mild soap and warm water daily. Since there could be irritation to cleansing products, ensure that a very mild cleanser is used.
- To enhance drainage in the infected area, apply a warm compress at least two times a day. This will also help to relieve discomfort and pain on the area.
- When an infection occurs, do not be tempted to remove the jewelry. Leave the belly button piercing in. Taking out the ring may cause the hole to close. When this happens, abscess could get trapped beneath the skin. This will make it hard to cure the infection as there will be no means to drain the area.
- In case there is excessive swelling, pain redness and abnormal discharge, red bumps or lumps on the piercing see a doctor. They will prescribe appropriate antibiotics to help get rid of the infections. Avoid using over the counter products on the infected piercing.
- To help heal and get over the infection with ease, wear loose fitting clothes. This will ensure that trauma on the area is minimized.
- Ensure that the area remains dry as excess moisture will worsen the area.
It is important to note that during pregnancy, belly button piercing infections are common. You could get an infection even when the piercing has healed. To avoid this, take good care of the piercing. Opt for maternity jewelry as oppose to normal jewelry.
Neosporin on Belly Button Piercing
Neosporin is an antibiotic product that is used to prevent infections and speed up the healing of wounds. There however are varying sentiments on whether Neosporin on belly button piercing is appropriate or not. Is it okay to apply it to new piercings to avoid infections? Can you use it on infected piercings?
While it may be great on wounds, putting it on is known to block fresh air from infected piercings and delay healing. Neosporin also comes with instructions not to be used on puncture wounds. This thus disqualifies it for use on piercings. Bearing this in mind, it is important to keep it away from your piercing which is a puncture wound.