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Infected Belly Button Piercing

Infected Belly Button Piercing

Infected belly button piercing is surely a matter of great concern because if it's not treated at the right time, it can get quite serious. This article will give you information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment measures to cure this infection effectively.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2018
Belly button piercing, also known as navel piercing, has become a popular type of body piercing. As compared to others, navel piercing takes a long time to heal, sometimes even taking more than a year. It is important to follow the aftercare instructions given by the piercer carefully, so that the piercing heals properly.

If an infection occurs, there are chances that it may pass into the bloodstream, which can also become life-threatening. Hence, recognizing the symptoms of an infected belly piercing is necessary so that one can seek the appropriate treatment.

Causes of the Infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Not using sterilized equipment
  • Change or removal of the ring
  • Allergy to metals
  • Rejection of piercing by the body

Identifying the Infection

Though it is very easy to recognize this infection, many people still can't. Here are a few important symptoms of the infection.

Pain and Swelling: In majority of the cases, the first symptom of belly button infection is severe pain around the pierced area. Along with the pain, you may also observe swelling on the site where the piercing is done.
Flaky Skin: Your skin may become hard, dry, and flaky around the piercing.
Bleeding: You may experience bleeding as the piercing irritates the skin.
Pus: Another sign of an infection is the occurrence of a greenish-yellow discharge oozing out of the piercing area.
Foul Stench: Some may also notice a foul odor caused by the pus forming at the pierced location.
Inflammation: One may also observe redness and inflammation around the site of piercing.
Blisters: When an infection occurs, you may find the formation of blisters on the belly button.
Warm Sensation: You may also feel warm around that area of piercing when it is touched.
Abscess: If the drainage of the pus gets blocked, it may result in abscess, which may take a long time to heal.
Abdominal Infections: In rare cases, it may also result in abdominal infection and food poisoning.


It is important to take proper care of the infected belly button piercing. Here are some aftercare tips that you can follow.

Saline Water: One of the most effective ways of treating belly button infection is to clean it with saline water. In a cup of water, add a teaspoon of sea salt and soak the infected area with a cotton ball. Do this regularly, at least twice a day, and ensure that you do not use the same material used for cleaning again.

Topical Creams: If the infection is not very severe, over-the-counter antibiotic, or antiseptic creams are also a good way of getting rid of this infection. Take some cream on your fingers and gently rub on the navel area where the piercing is done. However, too much of these creams can clog the area of piercing and may delay the healing process.

Hydrogen Peroxide: A good way of treating the pus developed due to infection is by using hydrogen peroxide on the infection. Hydrogen peroxide heals the infection by taking out the pus from the pierced area. However, this should not be used once the infection has fully cleared.

Clean Clothing: The problem with this type of piercing is that the jewelry is likely to come in contact with the clothes, thus irritating the piercing and leading to an infection. Hence, wear loose-fitting, clean cotton clothing to avoid the piercing from getting snagged, stuck, or pulled. Also, do not sleep on the same bed sheets if you have infection; change them every day.

Hot Compress: Increase blood circulation by using hot compress on the affected area to get rid of the infection. However, do not forget to utilize a clean cloth and a sterile container for the purpose.

Cleaning Area: It is important that you keep the area of the infection clean. You may use antibacterial soaps to clean the area with a cup of warm water. Your piercer may also suggest cleansing liquids specially meant for treating the piercing.

Piercing Area: A mistake that most people make when they observe an infection is to remove the jewelry. However, this has to be avoided because once the jewelry is removed, the hole is likely to close, which can cause abscesses in that area. Hence, it is important that the infection is treated while the jewelry is still in its place.

Medical Help: Do not hesitate to seek the help of a doctor if the piercing doesn't heal in a couple of days. If the infection spreads to the entire body through the bloodstream, it can even prove fatal.

Prevention and Precautions

Do not use belly rings that are made of nickel as they may cause allergy. Use rings made of hypoallergenic materials, or surgical steel instead.

Avoid wearing piercing jewelry if it is not sterilized and sanitized.

Don't use alcohol, or alcohol-based cleansers to disinfect the affected area. It may increase the infection further.

Do not leave the piercing without taking proper care of it. Treat it with Neosporin cream or any other antibacterial soaps.

Avoid using the same cloth to clean the infection; instead use cotton balls.

Stay away from swimming as the chlorine in the pool will make your piercing dry and flaky. Also, hot tubs and jacuzzis can increase the bacterial infection.

Don't keep on touching the pierced area as it may make the infection severe.

Try not to use lotions, perfumes, and soaps which have a strong scent as it will irritate the skin around the piercing.

Though the infection can be healed with proper treatment, the discomfort it causes can be quite frustrating. Hence, it is best to prevent it from occurring by following the aftercare instructions carefully. If you find that the infection is increasing in spite of adopting these treatment procedures, consult your doctor immediately who can recommend further steps to cure this problem.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.