10:47 pm - 09/27/2009

What to expect when you're expecting inner labia piercings.

What to expect when you're expecting inner labia piercings.
While body piercing may have become an increasingly common practice in the United States, I've found that the majority of information regarding aftercare during the healing process, through both Google and local shops, is both contradictory and confusing. You get every aftercare regime propounded from "Do nothing at all" to "Put organic honey on 5 times a day and chant under the full moon." At first I thought it was just the intimate nature of these piercings that made it difficult to ascertain the proper way to clean them along with what discomfort and pain was normal and if I should or should not be playing in volleyball tournaments. It's not like I could call my piercer every time I sat down to pee or had to walk more than 15 feet. Then I realized, there are thousands of pages all with conflicting information regarding the best way to clean your piercings and how many times per day to do so but practically nothing telling you that you really shouldn't rotate the jewelry and taking Ibuprofen will help with the swelling - especially if you're going to be playing volleyball from 2-12 hours at a time.

So, here I give to you my experience, and after weeks of research, things I know shouldn't freak you out when you go to pierce your vage.

First off, as far as piercings go, the pain involved in the actual piercing of the inner labia is very minimal. It lasted only seconds after the needle went through and even though I was having 6 done at once, I would have to say this (or these rather) was one of my easiest piercings. The healing time for the inner labia is 2-12 weeks, much shorter than the nipples which take no less than 6 months.

I had done quite a bit of research prior to these piercings and it was only a week after having my nipples pierced. Since they were healing nicely and my nose has been pierced for a while, I felt confident in providing competent aftercare. What worked for my nose wouldn't work for my nipples and what worked for my nipples was far from what I needed to do on my labia.

So, here's what you do and what to expect.

1. Skip the antibacterial soap. By using it, you kill off your natural vaginal bacteria and let the beastie yeasties run wild. Not to mention, this burns like hell when you try to use it on new piercings down there and most antibacterial soaps are too harsh for our delicate lady areas. If you do feel you need to use soap, work with a good, non-scented, non-perfumed, mild soap like Dove. Just remember to rinse really, really well. Water alone in the shower is best.

2. Don't rotate the jewelry. It's not necessary and can actually introduce bad bacteria into your piercing.

3. Sea salt soaks. Do it. Once a day. Boil water and add 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt. Not table salt. Not just lukewarm tap water. Get non-iodized sea salt and actually measure this out. Too much salt is detrimental and can actually dry the piercings out. Sea salt soaks are recommended for general soothing/increasing blood flow/removing lymph or if you're having problems with dried lymph "crusties." Let the water cool just enough to not burn you and work yourself into whatever position is necessary to keep your piercings submerged for 5-10 minutes. If you have the right shaped container, you can lay back and invert it. Otherwise, just sit on the edge of the couch.

4. It stings when you pee. At first. It sucks. It helps to have a glass/cup in the bathroom that you can fill with warm water and wash over your piercings after you pee. Use toilet paper or paper towels as often as you can. Never towels since they can harbor bacteria.

5. Some have said they found pajama pants to be most comfortable but I personally found sun dresses to work for me. I wore bikini bottoms under my shorts when playing volleyball but I typically go commando. I found regular panties way to constricting.

6. You can still have sex but for the first couple of weeks, you need to really take care to keep saliva and semen out of your piercings. Angles are important too. Just trust me on this.

7. You may have a little bleeding at first. It's entirely normal. Some girls wear pads for the first few days but I didn't find that necessary.

8. Expect some sharp shooting pains as your piercings get caught either to yourself, your clothes, or other jewelry.

9. As I mentioned earlier, take Ibuprofen when necessary. Drink plenty of water and eat well.

10. And do not remove the piercing under any circumstances. This should also be widely acknowledged on websites, but I've found it to be lacking. (For those of you who may not know as much about piercings as the OP): When jewelry is introduced to the body, the blood and skin cells begin to attack the foreign body, resulting in a minor infection. This infection is present from the initial moment a needle punctures the skin and remains in place or is replaced by the jewelry. The newer the piercing is, the quicker it will close up, and the newer the infection is. Removing fresh jewelry or even jewelry that is in an unhealed piercing (and remember that healing times vary) will trap the infection inside of the skin. This will result in an infection brewing inside of the skin for however long it takes to begin to poison the blood. At first, the infection will be so minor you won't even notice it. By the time you do notice it, the infection will be so rampant that regular antibiotics will not be able to clear the infection, and a biopsy will have to be performed to drain the pus and eliminate the infection.

Thanks to tokio for #10.
natane 27th-Sep-2009 04:32 am (UTC)
this was really interesting :) thnak you.
tokio 27th-Sep-2009 09:26 am (UTC)
<3
flyffe 27th-Sep-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
As a fellow body-mod enthusiast, I really appreciate your informative post! I would like to comment on the last section though: it seems to me that you're confusing 'infection' with 'inflammation'. The latter does occur after a piercing, and persists to varying degrees until the piercing is healed properly. Infection on the other hand happens relatively rarely, especially with piercings that are given proper aftercare for the whole duration of healing.

In the case of an infection, (usually characterised by inflammation, redness of the general area and/or increased temperature of the surrounding tissue), it is indeed dangerous to take the piercing out, because this may cause the infection to be trapped inside the body, possibly necessitating drainage of the pus, and requiring antibiotics to treat. This only applies to infected piercings however - there is no reason not to remove the jewellery from an unwanted piercing that is still healing, if it is healthy. In the absence of swelling, excessive heat and pain, it's unlikely that the piercing is infected. (Though if there are any doubts it pays to consult a professional of course! Infections are easier to treat when caught early on.)

When you say the infection becomes 'rampant' and resistant to antibiotics, I take it you're referring to septicaemia, which is indeed a much more dangerous problem. It's more complicated to treat as it is a very dangerous condition, and antibiotics would generally be used.

Obviously it is unwise to remove jewellery from a healing piercing yourself if you're doing so to change jewellery, rather than with the aim of 'retiring' the piercing definitely. This will only cause unnecessary trauma to it, causing inflammation and potentially introducing pathogens into a healing puncture wound - raising the risk of infection. If it's a necessary change, like with a tongue or labret piercing (it is common to replace the original long bar with a shorter one once the swelling has gone down, to minimise jewellery movement and irritation), it's best to get it done by a piercer. If it's for aesthetic reasons it's safer to wait until the piercing's fully healed to change jewellery.

If you decide that you definitely no longer want a piercing, and it's still healing, it's generally better to remove it earlier as it tends to leave a less obvious mark. If it shows any sings of infection however, consult a piercer and/or doctor to make sure this is not the case before removing the jewellery.

I hope I didn't misunderstand the point you were making, but thought that more information is always better than less... In any case thanks for your interesting post, I've been considering inner labia piercings for some time now and it was great to read about your experience!
ladycat 28th-Sep-2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
I had a mini worry about number 10 too. I had an unfortunate incident with an incorrectly placed labial piercing that went through my erectile tissue. Because of the 'do not remove' mantra I sat on it (or rather, I couldn't sit on anything) for 3 days, whilst it bled and bled and encrusted with blood. I was terrified, but in the mid 90's doctors were clueless about piercings and I was miles from the piercer by then. For this reason I'd prefer the advice to be simpler, less scary, and say something like:

"If you're having problems with a piercing then removing it might not solve the problem and could even make it worse. Removing jewellry from a new or problem piercing can leave bacteria inside it. If you are having problems with a piercing then go to your piercer and ask for help. If you have no other choice or you have already removed the jewellry then flush the wound through with your cleaning salt and water solution - keep using the solution to clean the area until the wound heals."
ladycat 28th-Sep-2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
PS Fab post though!!
hadespuppy 27th-Sep-2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Great post! I'd like to add that most of this advice applies to all piercings, not just genital ones, although healing times will vary. Also, drinking pineapple juice is good for swelling, especially in the first few days after getting pierced.
dial_zero 27th-Sep-2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re #2: rotating the jewelry. I believe this practice came from the crappy mall ear piercers, who would advise their victims to "spin" their post earrings 2-3 times a day, or risk having the jewelry become stuck. I've never had a proper piercing (one done with a needle) that needed to be rotated. Gentle sea salt soaks remove any crusties, other than that, I think it's best with piercings to LITHA! (leave it the hell alone!) :) Good post!
ladysky61 27th-Sep-2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
Great advice. Yeah I use the sea salt soaking too and I've never had a problem with any of my piercing.
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