How to Tell if You Have a Belly Button Piercing Infection

Posted by Melissa Morganite on

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If you’ve recently had your navel pierced, and are wondering how to tell if you have a belly button piercing infection, there are a few ways you can figure this out. 

The first thing that you need to do is realize that having a belly button piercing infection means more than having some swelling and redness.

Fresh piercings nearly always become red and also swell, too. It’s also common for some minor irritation to develop. So, if those are your only symptoms, chances are that you don’t have an infection. 

However, if the swelling is very extreme, and the redness seems to be expanding, and you also have some of these other symptoms, you might have a belly button piercing infection:

  • Colored discharge/pus with a pungent odor
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Burning sensation (especially when touched)

If you have a combination of two or more of the above symptoms, it’s recommended to schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you should keep the piercing area as clean as possible. Warm compresses might also help with the discharge and swelling. Our other blog covers more tips about navel piercing healing.

Treatments for Belly Button Piercing Infection

Infections develop from bacteria or foreign bodies being present within the piercing. There is a big difference between infection and irritation. If you have a belly button piercing Infection you should be treated by a medical professional.

  • Note: Irritation can usually be successfully treated using home-based methods (e.g. saline/saltwater solutions, compresses, etc.).

Treatments typically include antibiotics in conjunction with antibacterial solutions (depending on the cause of the infection). Antibiotic treatments can be administered orally as well as topically (but with a belly button piercing infection the medication is usually applied topically). 

How to Avoid Getting a Belly Button Piercing Infection

The cause of infection in navel piercings comes down to two factors: poor hygiene (i.e. not cleaning the piercing) and poor quality piercing practices (i.e. not using industry-grade needles and/or jewelry). 

The very best way to avoid getting a belly button piercing infection is to choose a reputable studio, make sure your piercer is experienced, and to carefully follow the aftercare instructions they give. Avoid swapping out your piercing for low-quality jewelry (especially when it’s still healing). 

Navel piercing complications usually arise from improper piercing technique and/or not keeping the piercing clean (after it’s been pierced). Using an experienced piercer might be more expensive, but it will be worth it in the end. 

  • Experienced piercers know exactly where to make the piercing.
  • Inexperienced piercers, or those working at low-quality studios, might make the piercing at the wrong spot on the navel (which can cause serious migration and/or rejection issues).
  • Another tip is to make sure that the piercing studio you choose follows current APP standards.
Note: Most high-quality studios and piercers will be able to help you with any problems that you might develop after getting pierced.

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