Nipple Piercing - Side Effects
Nipple piercings are one of the most popular
piercings in male and female adults. The piercing consists of a
generally horizontal barbell or ring at the base of the nipple.
Because of the location on the body and the sensitivity of the area,
the nipple piercing is at risk for infection if not cared for
properly during the healing process.
Infection occurs in all piercings when proper after-care techniques are not followed. According to BME, one major cause of infection in nipple piercings is frequent touching or fondling the piercing. Playing with the nipple piercing introduces bacteria to the piercing site. Other forms of infection can occur when the piercer was not working in a sterile environment. This can happen by reusing equipment, not using proper hand-washing and gloving techniques or failing to disinfect the facility before piercing. Bodily fluids such as saliva can also cause infection in new piercing sites.
With many women, nipple piercings takes 3-6 months to heal on
average. Some may take even a year. However men's nipples heal
faster due to differences in tissue composition and hormones.
Experienced women usually complain extra issues with healing during
their menstrual cycles. So far none of the researchers state any
interference between well-healed piercings and breast feeding,
although it is not recommended to get new piercings before, during
or after pregnancy due to changes of body state.
Signs and Symptoms
After the piercing, the the body's natural waste removal system will secrete lymph from the wound. This white, yellow or green pus is a common and normal side effect of piercing.
The pierced area may be sore and red for days, weeks and even months. As nipple piercings can take up to two years to heal, redness is expected--extreme redness, however, may be a sign of infection.
Infection can develop in a nipple piercing. Signs of this include extreme redness, heat, swelling, and bright-red or green lymph, and treatment must be prescribed by a doctor.
One of the more severe side effects, hematoma are blood-filled cysts that form at the piercing site. These require medical attention and drainage.
Keloid scarring is the growth of permanent scar tissue at the piercing site. Keloids do not shrink in size and must be removed surgically.
If a serious infection is suspected, contact your physician to prevent permanent damage or spreading infection. The most common treatments recommended by FamilyDoctor.org are over-the-counter antibiotic creams, soaking with sea salt and warm compresses to draw the infection out of the body. Throughout treatment, proper hand-washing should be maintained.
While not necessarily infection, nipple piercings are also prone to rejection. Rejection occurs when the body heals the skin behind the piercing and forces it out of the site. This can occur due to allergic reactions to the metal or because not enough skin was pierced to hold the jewelry in.
While it is hard to resist, avoiding touching the piercing can make the difference between causing an infection or not. It's important to keep all other bodily fluids (even your own) away from the piercing site to not introduce any external bacteria. Using proper after-care techniques is crucial to healing the piercing as fast as possible without any infection occurring. Wearing loose clothing and not allowing frequent rubbing and irritation helps heal the piercing quickly. The Center for Young Women's Health also recommends making sure to wash off all sweat after exercise. It's most important to follow the piercer's after-care instructions for proper cleaning.
Follow these tips to avoid piercing infections
1. To thoroughly clean and rinse the nipple piercing, clean the piercing under the shower.
Once the piercing is healed, the person finds the tissue more developed, with increased sensation and responsiveness.
2. Use a fragrance free anti-bacterial soap. Lather the soap and wash all areas of the piercing. Rinse the piercing site and jewelry until all soap has been removed. You can pat the site dry when you leave the shower.
3. Do not use any alcohol-based cleaning solutions, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, skin cleansers, antiseptic solutions or cream. These can dry out the skin and can sometimes result in prolonged healing times.
4. It is recommended to rotate the jewelry while cleaning the area. This will help get the entire piercing clean and avoid infection.
5. Avoid swimming until the piercing has healed as water can pose a risk of infection.
6. Do not wear tight clothing at the piercing site. This will irritate the wound.
7. To deal with the pain use an over the counter pain reliever. A nipple piercing can cause discomfort and this can help lessen the pain and reduce swelling.
8. During the healing period touch the piercing area only when necessary. If the nipple piercing is touched too often, it will take a longer time to heal. Make sure not to use your fingernails to move the jewelery.
Once the piercing is healed, the person finds the tissue more developed, with increased sensation and responsiveness. Men especially report increase in tissue thickness and tactile sensitivity. A variety of jewelry styles is available for wear including curved barbells, horseshoe attachments and many variations for attaching chains and dangles to increase the sensual pleasure.
Most jewelry types can be worn in both male and female nipple piercings. Nipple jewelry can be made from gold, white gold, steel or gold-plated steel. Popular varieties include a ring (with or without a bead or pendant threaded through it), a dumbbell and a D-shaped ring with the straight side through the nipple.
Here are all the possible risks and side effects, but that doesn't mean that the person will experience all, or any, of these.
1. Infection of the nipple, which in women can quickly travel through the milk ducts and into the lymph nodes under the arm.
2. Nerve damage,
4. Growth of a cyst inside the nipple
5. Allergic reactions,
6. Keloid scarring (raised, red scarring).
7. Nipple piercing is also associated with hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection, and even HIV.