Belly Button Piercing Infection: Care Instructions

The trend of body piercing has increased over the years, and belly button piercing is one of the most popular. However, like any other piercing, belly button piercing comes with risks. One of the most common risks associated with it is infection. Belly button piercing infection can be painful, uncomfortable, and interfere with the healing process. 

If you have an infection, keep reading to learn more about this issue and how you can treat it with effective solutions. Scroll down!

Symptoms of Belly Button Piercing Infection 

It’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of a belly button piercing infection to get treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common symptoms of infection:

  • Redness and swelling around the piercing site
  • Pain or discomfort around the piercing area
  • Heat or warmth around the piercing site
  • Pus discharge from the piercing
  • A foul smell from the piercing area
  • Fever, chills, and nausea


Belly button piercing infection is usually caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that enter the piercing site. “The belly button is a warm, moist environment, which is ideal for bacteria to grow.”- said Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City. A 2020 study published in the journal Dermatology found that the infection rate for belly button piercings was 10%, which is higher than the infection rate for other types of piercings. The most common causes of belly button piercing infection include:

  • Poor hygiene practices during and after the piercing process
  • Using unsterilized equipment for piercing
  • Touching the piercing with dirty hands
  • Allergic reactions to the jewelry used for piercing
  • Swimming in public pools, hot tubs, or lakes

How to treat an infected belly button piercing

According to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the prevalence of belly button piercing was 19%, and the incidence of infection was 31% among adolescents. The study highlights the importance of proper hygiene practices and seeking medical attention for any signs of infection. So, if you suspect your belly button piercing is infected, follow these steps:

Wash Your Hands

Before touching the infected area, make sure your hands are clean to avoid introducing more bacteria.

Saline Solution Soak

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 8 ounces of warm distilled water. Ensure the solution is not too hot.
  • Soak a clean cotton ball or gauze pad in the saline solution.
  • Gently press the soaked cotton ball or pad against the infected piercing for about 5-10 minutes. This helps clean the area and soothe irritation.
  • Do this at least twice a day.

Avoid Harsh Cleansers

Refrain from using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or antibiotic ointments, as they can be too harsh and delay the healing process.

Maintain Good Hygiene

  • Keep the area clean and dry. After each saline soak, gently pat it dry with a clean, disposable paper towel.
  • Avoid tight clothing that may rub against the piercing and introduce more bacteria.
  • Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, and other bodies of water until the infection has completely healed.

Do Not Remove Jewelry

It’s essential to keep the jewelry in place during the healing process, even if it’s causing discomfort. Removing the jewelry can trap the infection inside the piercing.

Antibiotic Ointment (Optional)

If the infection does not improve within a couple of days or appears to be worsening, consult a healthcare professional. They may prescribe an antibiotic ointment.

Monitor for Signs of Improvement

Watch for signs of improvement, such as reduced redness, swelling, and discharge. It may take a few days to see significant improvement.

Consult a Professional

If the infection persists, worsens, or if you develop symptoms like fever, seek medical attention promptly. An oral antibiotic may be necessary for more severe infections.

Prevent Re-infection

Once the infection clears, practice good piercing aftercare to prevent re-infection. Continue saline soaks for a few weeks, avoid unnecessary touching, and be cautious with clothing choices.

Tips to prevent piercing infection

  • Choose a reputable and licensed piercer for your belly button piercing
  • Ensure the piercer uses sterilized equipment and follows proper hygiene practices
  • Clean the piercing site with saline solution or warm water and mild soap
  • Avoid touching the piercing with dirty hands or fingers
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes that rub against the piercing
  • Avoid swimming in public pools, hot tubs, or lakes for at least six weeks after piercing


  1. Is it normal to have redness and swelling after getting a belly button piercing? Yes, some redness and swelling are normal after getting a belly button piercing. 
  2. How long does it take for a belly button piercing to heal? Belly button piercing can take up to six months to heal fully. 
  3. Can I go swimming after getting a belly button piercing? It’s best to avoid swimming in public pools, hot tubs, or lakes for at least six weeks after getting a belly button piercing. This is because these bodies of water contain bacteria that can cause infections, which can interfere with the healing process.
  4. Can I use hydrogen peroxide to clean my belly button piercing? No, hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for cleaning belly button piercings as it can damage the skin and delay the healing process. Instead, use saline solution or warm water and mild soap to clean the piercing site.
  5. What should I do if I notice pus coming out of my belly button piercing? If you notice pus discharge from your belly button piercing, it may indicate an infection. It’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately to get treatment.

Final Takeaway

Belly button piercing infection is a common risk associated with body piercing. Preventing infections starts before the piercing process and requires proper hygiene practices during and after the procedure. If you suspect that you have a belly button piercing infection, seek medical attention immediately. Home remedies can be helpful in treating mild infections, but severe cases require medical treatment. Remember to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer and take good care of your piercing. With proper care, your belly button piercing will heal quickly and without any complications.