How to Recognize and Treat a Nipple Piercing Infection

Nipple Piercing Infection: What Is it?

The most common type of infection is called “nipple piercing” or “dental piercings”. This type of infection occurs when bacteria enters your body through a pierced area. Usually, these infections are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a virus which causes genital warts and cervical cancer. It spreads from person to person through sexual contact.

What Are the Symptoms of Nipple Piercing Infection?

Symptoms of a nip piercing infection include: redness, swelling, pain and tenderness around the piercing site. Sometimes there may be itching at other areas too. Other symptoms include fever, chills and muscle aches. These are some of the signs of a nip piercing infection. If you have any of these symptoms then you need to see a doctor immediately.

How Do You Know if Your Nipple Pierced?

If you have had a piercing done, then chances are that you have been exposed to HPV. When you get infected with HPV, it is known as “genital warts”. They usually appear on your genitals and sometimes they spread to other parts of your body such as mouth, throat or eyes. They can cause various types of problems including genital warts, genital herpes and even cancer.

What Should You Do if You Have a Nipple Piercing Infection?

You need to see a doctor immediately if you think you have signs of a nip piercing infection. The doctor will examine you and ask you questions about any symptoms that you might have. A little crust can be normal, but if it is accompanied by swelling, redness or pus then you should seek medical attention immediately.

How is a Nipple Piercing Infection Treated?

It will all depend on what is causing the infection. A yeast infection of the skin usually responds well to antifungal creams like clotrimazole or econazole. If the infection is due to a sexually transmitted disease, you will require an antibiotic such as erythromycin or tetracycline. If you have a severe infection, you may need hospitalization and intravenous treatment with antibiotics.

What are the Side-Effects of Nipple Piercing Infection?

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that an infection will clear up with treatment. In some cases, the piercing will have to be removed. This is called a “core stitch”. The jewelry that was placed in the skin has to be surgically removed. This is necessary because dead skin and bacteria can become trapped in crevasses between the skin and the jewelry. This can lead to serious infection if not treated properly.

Does a Nipple Piercing Always Cause an Infection?

No, it is not always going to cause an infection. However, the risk of having one is certainly higher than if you did not have one at all. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you may still have an infection. Your body will try to fight it off and there will be no obvious signs. Sometimes though, the infection can reappear even without any obvious reason.

In most cases a nip piercing infection should clear up after treatment. If you do not experience any symptoms after a couple of weeks, then it is highly unlikely that you will get any in the future. However, if you do notice any symptoms recurring, you should go and see your doctor immediately.

What is the Long-Term Outlook?

If you take care of the piercing properly and follow your doctor’s recommendations, you should have no long term problems. Some skin discoloration around the area is normal for up to a year. Call your doctor if you have any concerns.

Sources & references used in this article:

Mycobacterium fortuitum Breast Infection Following Nipple‐Piercing, Mimicking Carcinoma by CG Lewis, MK Wells, WC Jennings – The breast journal, 2004 – Wiley Online Library

Is chronic nipple piercing associated with hyperprolactinemia? by GEC Sun, KM Pantalone, M Gupta, L Kennedy, C Nasr… – Pituitary, 2013 – Springer

Mycobacterium chelonei Breast Abscess Associated With Nipple Piercing by MD Pearlman – Infectious diseases in obstetrics and gynecology, 1995 –

Risk factors for development and recurrence of primary breast abscesses by V Gollapalli, J Liao, A Dudakovic, SL Sugg… – Journal of the American …, 2010 – Elsevier

Body piercing: medical concerns with cutting‐edge fashion by LM Koenig, M Carnes – Journal of General Internal Medicine, 1999 – Wiley Online Library

Complications associated with intimate body piercings by B Lee, R Vangipuram, E Petersen… – Dermatology online …, 2018 –

The Piercing Bible Guide to Aftercare and Troubleshooting: How to Properly Care for Healing and Infected Ear, Facial, and Body Piercings by E Angel – 2013 –

Body art and pregnancy by N Kluger – European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and …, 2010 – Elsevier

Public health 3: legal regulation of tattooing and body art by R Griffith, C Tengnah – British journal of community nursing, 2005 –