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Infected Belly Button Piercing Causes, Pictures, Signs, Care and Treatment

What do you do if your navel piercing becomes infected? How can you tell there is an infection in pierced belly button? Well, the signs of infected belly button piercing are important and act as guiding factor on what to do. Explore more about what leads to infections, symptoms, how to clean, get rid of bumps and treatment for belly piercing if it is infected. We have included images to aid you visualize how infected belly button piercing look like.

bottom belly button piercing picture
bottom belly button piercing picture

Note that infections may occur on any belly button piercing places regardless of the shape or position around the navel. Furthermore, it can occur to an already healed piercing. Let us begin by looking at the signs or symptoms of infection.

Signs of infected belly button piercing

Is your belly button piecing infected? How do you really tell when your piercing has become infected or what signs and symptoms do you expect? In most cases, infections on your navel piercing hole or skin around it are caused by staph infections or disease causing bacteria. As we shall see, not all signs or symptoms are characteristic of an infection. The following are some of the most common signs or symptoms.

Severe swelling

A severely swollen navel piercing is one of the symptoms that will hint at an infection. In particular, the swelling would be accompanied with pain, tenderness and redness – what people refer to as “red belly button piercing.” According to Mayo Clinic, if you observe red lines that form and run from the piercing site it is also a sign of infection.

discharge from infected belly button piercing [courtesy of howshealth.com]
discharge from infected belly button piercing [courtesy of howshealth.com]


As a sign of infection, these discharges are characterized by a yellow or greenish discharge or pus that ooze from the piercing hole. The draining may also appear brown or gray in colour especially with a foul smell or odor.

Other infection symptoms

Sometimes infections may cause other symptoms such as dizziness, stomach upsets and vomiting.

NOTE: If the resulting wound causes excessive bleeding, your nerves in navel could be damaged.

Infected belly button piercing pictures or images

What does infected belly button piercing look like? Look at these images keenly and would have a hint on what infection signs may look like.

how to heal an infected navel pierce
how to heal an infected navel pierce


infected belly piercing signs
infected belly piercing signs


signs of infected belly button piercing
signs of infected belly button piercing

How do belly button piercing become infected or causes

While anyone is susceptible to belly button infections after getting them pierced, the truth is that many clients get the infection signs during the healing time. This is because some have a tendency to ignore cleaning or treating. These are some of the common ways or practices that lead to infections.

Infection during piercing

Infections are likely to occur due to these kind of services which are provided by those piercers in training. During the piecing procedure your piercer may use unsterilized tools or equipment. Besides that, the piercer’s hands may be contaminated if they are careless in handling. That may lead to direct transfer of germs and disease causing microorganisms to the piercing jewelry or equipment.

During healing or after piercing

Major cases of infections are mostly reported during the healing process. The following outlines why infections occur.

  • Improper aftercare such as poor or lack of cleaning, etc.
  • Poor handling of piercing,
  • Touching with dirty hands,
  • Attempts to remove or change the jewelry,

Infected old belly button piercing

Your piercing is at risk of infections even after you have completely healed. This implies that it is possible that your piercing is at risk of infections months or years after healing.

The major causes are due to poor cleaning methods and constant touching typical of individuals with poor personal hygiene. Another probable cause of infection is attributed to injury or damaged piercing holes. If not treated in good time, any form of physical injury may easily expose your navel to staph infections.


Belly button piercing aftercare

After getting a newly belly button piercing you are required to clean it properly and take good care of it. Let us look at some of the things to consider while cleaning including what you are supposed to use and what to avoid.

Cleaning belly button piercing

One mandatory routine is ensuring that belly button piercing – or any other body modification that involves creating perforations and holes in skin – are cleaned properly. The following are some of the aftercare tips including the piercing cleaning procedures.

Sea salt soak

Use of sea salt soak is the simplest cleaning any piercing is by using salt water. You can prepare your own solution by mixing a cup of water and half-teaspoonful of sea salt. Before you start to clean make sure your hands are clean. Here is how you do it:

  • Lean over the cup with soak and apply a suction so that the solution does not leak. While holding lie down on your back for about 10 minutes. Rinse with enough cool water and dry.
  • You can also use cotton swabs (Q-tips. Soak the swabs in the solution you made then apply to the navel area. Soak for 10 minutes. Rinse then dry.

Antiseptic products

If you have some of the signs we have mentioned like redness or excessive swelling around the piercing holes, use antibacterial cream or may clean using antiseptic cleaner. Go back to your piercer or please ask your medical practitioner to give you the right kind of antibacterial creams such as Neosporin.

What to avoid when cleaning

You are highly discouraged and NOT use these cleaning agents or products on your newly pierced navel or belly button. If fact some piercers give strict rules never to use them.

  • Alcohol
  • Avoid bacitracin or other antibacterial ointments
  • Antibacterial soap that are fragrant or chemical-free.

While cleaning, it is vital to remember that over cleaning is highly discouraged. If the symptoms persist (whether they seem infection signs or other symptoms see a doctor immediately. Consider revisiting your piercer for further checkup.

Other navel piercing care tips

What else are supposed to do or avoid in order to enhance healing? Besides cleaning here are more measures and other things you have to consider doing:

  • Avoid use of tight clothes that can cause damage or irritation. By observing this you also minimize chances of bleeding. Try to sleep on your back as opposed to resting on belly.
  • Strive to wear loose clothes only to avoid inflammation or unnecessary injury to your piercing.
  • Never try to twist or slide your jewelry back and forth. Just leave them alone.
  • At times crust-like things may form around the piercing hole. You are advised to leave them as they are part of the healing.
  • Avoid application of body oils during the healing process or after cleaning.
  • Also keep off smoke to prevent your piercing from getting inflamed.

Treatment for infected belly button piercing

How do you treat an infected belly button piercing? Apart from belly button piercing care or aftercare such as cleaning, you should know what to do and what to use for treatment.

Treatments based on medicines is one of the effective methods to get rid of infection symptoms. For some people, medical treatment could be the only best option to get rid of piercing bumps and other signs of infection.

Since most infections are due to pathogens, antibiotics are mainly used.

How to get rid of belly button piercing bump

scar on top piercing hole and scar tissue
scar on top piercing hole and scar tissue

If bumps or small ‘bubbles’ form after getting a navel piercing, learning to do a proper cleaning is part and parcel of ensuring that they heal and go away. The cleaning procedures have already been covered on Belly button piercing aftercare.

On the other hand, when you experience mild symptoms such as slight swelling and pain try applying some home remedies such as warm compress, chamomile tea bag. Keep in mind that whether there is a bump or not, pain may be indicative of an infection. In that case begin treatment using home products like tea tree oil and aspirin paste.

Infections vs. healing period

Unlike cartilage piercings, piercing around navel normally heal quicker because of a good supply of blood and presence of many blood vessels. If navel piercings are well taken care of healing usually take 6 – 12 months.

Healing will be slowed down if your navel piercing get infected frequently or infections recur. Once you realize that then you need to make regular visits either to your piercer or doctor.

Belly button piercing during pregnancy

What happens to a pierced belly button during pregnancy? Does it necessitate removal of piercing jewelry rings? These are some of the concerns for many people particularly women who have navel piercing that have not yet healed.

Well, even as the belly bulges there is no medical reason or possibility that disease causing microorganisms can penetrate to reach the fetus or growing baby in womb. To make it clear, “belly button marks where you connected to your own mom in the womb, not where your baby connects to you.” [whattoexpect.com].

Another important thing to note is that removing your piercing jewelry before healing will be a serious mistake. One of the outcome for removing it will result in closing of the piercing hole. Consequently, scarring may occur upon closure.

Risks and complications

Do pierced belly buttons pose any health risks besides infections? Yes. When it comes to matters of health risks, anyone is at risk of complications that sometimes come with poor piercing procedures. Of course this is a crucial fact and it is never based on superstitions of black people and any other beliefs.

1.      Nerve damage

Besides injury there may occur excessive bleeding when the piercing tends to be done too close to the bellybutton or navel. If you had your piercing from an unprofessional piercer, the nerves around your navel may have been damaged. This is one of the risks of getting a navel piercing.

2.      Keloids or scar tissue

Keloid formation is considered as one of the serious complications as a result of carrying out a body piercing. Identifying scar tissues during the initial stages of formation may be confused with bumps and this calls for you to be vigilant. If the bumps do not go away or have taken longer to heal see a doctor urgently.

3.      Piercing rejection or migration

naval piercing jewelry migration
naval piercing jewelry migration

Jewelry migration refers to the physical shifting of the piercing. It may be caused by a wrong type of jewelry material. On the other hand rejection of your piercing can lead creation of a larger hole.

4.      Allergic reactions

Moving on with our discussion, an allergic reaction may be produced by the type of jewelry material that was initially placed upon piercing. Or else you tried to change it all by yourself.

Some people may be allergic to particular materials but Nickel has been reportedly causing allergic reactions in clients.

Health tips on how to prevent infections

Ensure your hands are clean before touching it or cleaning. Wash clean your hands too afterwards. Also resist from swimming in pools if your piercing has not healed. Above all, keep your hands off it and minimize touching.

Finally, it is anyone’s wish that no infections occur during or after you have had a navel piercing. Our say on that is that smooth healing has to begin with you. Ensure that you get all your body piercings and other modifications from not only trusted piercers but qualified and more importantly those registered with any Association of Professional Piercers (APP) in your country.

Try to get all relevant and correct information from reliable sources before you decide to go for body modifications. Remember to always follow and adhere to all the instructions about cleaning or taking care of the wound as healing begins.

Article Resources
  1. Body piercings: Cleaning and Healing, University Health Services, https://uhs.berkeley.edu/health-topics/body-piercings
  2. What to Do with an Infected Belly Button Piercing, Rena Goldman, http://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/what-to-do-with-an-infected-belly-button-piercing
  3. Navel Belly Button Piercing Infection Symptoms How to Treat and Clean, http://www.healcure.org/navel/button-belly-piercing/infected-belly-button-piercing-signs-bump-treatment-pictures-ring/, accessed on August 11, 2016.
  4. http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/ask-heidi/belly-piercing.aspx

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