Belly button piercings can easily become infected for various reasons. In order to prevent an infection, it’s important that the procedure is done with sterilized piercing equipment and proper aftercare steps are taken to get the piercing clean. If an infection does occur, it could range from minor to severe. Here you will find all the answers for how to prevent a belly button piercing infection and what to do in the case of infection.
Do Belly Piercings Get Infected Easily?
The short answer to whether belly button piercings get infected easily is yes. The belly button can harbor more than 60 different kinds of bacteria, which is completely normal but this can make belly button piercings easily susceptible to bacterial infection.
Reasons for infection may range from improper sterilization of piercing tools and procedure, improper jewelry being used for the piercing, or not following correct aftercare steps to keep the piercing clean.
Belly button infections are more common during the healing process, which is why it’s important that the proper jewelry is worn and the piercing area is cleaned well throughout the healing process. It is less likely for a belly button piercing to become infected years after the piercing has healed, but still possible.
What are the Symptoms of a Belly Button Infection?
The symptoms of an infected belly button piercing closely resemble symptoms that one will have during the healing process, but the conditions are typically worse.
Symptoms of Belly Button Piercing Infection
- Severe redness or dark color (depending on skin tone) or swelling around the piercing site
- Excretion of blood or discolored pus (green, yellow, or white)
- You are experiencing symptoms above with addition to fever, chills, or feel ill
Redness and swelling is a common symptom that will occur for a few days or up to a week after the piercing is performed. If the redness or swelling worsens, then the piercing may be infected. Clear pus that crystallizes around the piercing is a normal part of the healing process, but if the pus is green, yellow or white it is a sign of infection.
What Happens If my Belly Button Piercing Gets Infected?
If your belly button piercing becomes infected, it’s important to consult with a doctor on the proper steps to take in order to heal the infection. Do not remove the jewelry if you believe your belly button piercing is infected, as the infection can be treated without removal.
When a belly button piercing becomes infected, you will experience some or all of the symptoms listed above. Cleaning the piercing properly can help heal the infection, but an antibiotic cream or gel prescribed by a doctor may be necessary if the infection cannot be treated at home.
Piercings that contract a bacterial infection will often be treated with a prescription cream or gel called Bactroban. Bactroban is an antibiotic topical treatment for bacterial infections that contains mupirocin, which prevents bacteria from growing on the skin. Bactroban cannot be found over-the-counter and will require a prescription from a doctor.
How Do You Get Rid of a Belly Button Piercing Infection?
There are a few ways you can treat a belly button piercing infection. Cleaning the piercing with a saline solution no more than twice a day helps keep the piercing clean. Using a warm compress over the piercing can help drain the piercing. Seeking medical attention is a more effective way to get rid of a belly button piercing infection. As stated previously, Bactroban will most likely be prescribed by a doctor to clear up the infection.
How to Treat an Infected Belly Button at Home
Treating a belly button infection at home is possible as long as the proper steps of care are taken. You do not want to remove the jewelry in the case of infection, unless a doctor tells you to remove the jewelry, because this could cause an abscess to form.
Steps to Treat a Belly Button Infection
- Use a saline solution to soak the piercing site for 2-4 minutes
- Clean the piercing area with fragrance-free antibacterial or antimicrobial soap
- Rinse off any soap residue with water
- If prescribed with an antibiotic cream or gel, apply it to the piercing site and wipe any excess away to keep the area well-ventilated
The saline solution soak will help remove any dried material that has crusted around the piercing. Clean the piercing area with the saline solution and fragrance-free antibacterial soap two times each day to help get rid of the belly button infection. If the infection does not clear up or worsens, consult with a doctor to figure out the next steps you need to take to get rid of the infection.
Is Tea Tree Oil Good for Infected Belly Button Piercings?
Tea tree oil can be used to help cleanse a belly button piercing, but it should not be the only product used in an attempt to treat a belly button piercing infection. Tea tree oil is a good compliment to piercing aftercare because it has antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is evidence of using tea tree oil as an effective method for reducing redness and irritation to a piercing site and preventing infection, but further research on tea tree oil for piercings is still needed. It is recommended that tea tree oil is diluted with water as the substance can be overwhelming to the skin when used by itself. Another helpful tip is to do a patch test on the skin with the diluted tea tree oil to ensure it will not cause irritation or an allergic reaction to the skin.
You can use a soft tissue or Q-tip to apply the diluted tea tree oil mixture to the piercing site to help clean the area. Do not use a towel of any kind because towels harbor bacteria or could get snagged on the piercing. Once you are done cleaning the belly button piercing with the mixture, be sure to wash off any excess by rinsing the area with water.
Will Neosporin Help an Infected Belly Button Piercing?
Neosporin is not recommended to help clean or get rid of an infected piercing. Although Neosporin is used to treat minor skin infections and small cuts or scrapes, the ointment can trap bacteria in and around the piercing site because it does not allow oxygen to reach the area.
When one gets their belly button pierced, it is advised to not wear any tight clothing during the healing process. The reason for this is because the piercing needs proper air flow that can reach the piercing site to help it heal.
Trapping the piercing with tight clothing or an ointment can cause or worsen bacterial infections. It is important to consult with a doctor about what kind of topical treatments can be used to get rid of a belly button piercing infection.
Can I Take my Belly Button Piercing Out If It’s Infected?
The short answer to this question is no. Unless your doctor tells you to remove the jewelry, do not take the belly button piercing out in the case of infection. If the belly button piercing is still in the early stages of the healing process, taking the jewelry out can cause the piercing hole to close up and result in an abscess.
Treating a navel piercing infection can be done without the removal of the piercing. In some cases, a doctor may advise an individual to take the jewelry out as the only way to treat the infection.
How Do You Prevent Infection From Occurring?
In order to prevent a piercing infection from occurring, it is important to first get pierced by a professional. Professional piercers will use sterilized equipment and single-use needles to perform the procedure. The piercer will also wash their hands thoroughly before the procedure and wear disposable gloves when handling the equipment, needles, and while performing the procedure.
After the procedure is done, it is up to the individual to take the proper steps to prevent infection. Aftercare is very important for the healing process of any piercing. Since the belly button is vulnerable to bacteria build-up, cleaning the piercing site with a saline solution or fragrance-free antibacterial soap once or twice everyday is necessary to keep the piercing clean and less susceptible to infection.
Can a Belly Button Piercing Get Infected After Years?
It is possible for a belly button piercing to become infected years after the piercing is done, although it is far less common. Snagging a belly button piercing on an object or piece of clothing can result in injury and cause an infection. If a piercing is fully healed the odds of getting an infection are very low as long as the piercing is properly cared for and is not harmed.