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Shaman's Navel Piercing Stretch - Corrected a Crooked Navel Piercing

On my 21st birthday, more than three years ago, I had my navel pierced at a local shop. At the time, I was very interested in piercing, but didn't have anywhere near the knowledge I have accumulated since. The piercing was initially done professionally in a shop, but under less than ideal conditions. The piercing was done with a 14k gold captive bead ring that was entirely too small in diameter for the depth of the piercing. It was also pierced at a 16 gauge, which, in hindsight, was probably too small of a gauge for the location of the piercing. I believe these conditions that contributed to the piercing healing crooked.

I recently took fancy to black niobium body jewelry. Unfortunately, the company I wanted to order the jewelry from made the jewelry in 12 gauge or larger. But my navel was initially pierced at 16 gauge. If I wanted black niobium in all my piercings, including the navel piercing, I would have to stretch the piercing to 12 gauge.

I started by looking through my jewelry to find something in a 14 gauge. I found a 14 gauge black acrylic circular barbell in my collection. The balls on the end were held in place by tension alone, not by screwing on as many other pieces of jewelry do. This had the fortunate effect of having no threads on the jewelry. The end was smooth and somewhat tapered. I tried to simply push the jewelry into place, but the hole was very tight and the jewelry did not want to fit into the hole easily. I decided to get in the shower, hoping that the heat would make the skin more pliable. Once the piercing was heated with warm water in the shower, the 14 gauge jewelry slipped in a little more easily.

In a few days, the piercing started to itch. I switched the jewelry to a 14 gauge titanium circular barbell, and the itching subsided.

After approximately 2 weeks, I decided to stretch the piercing to a 12 gauge. The new niobium curved barbell in 12 gauge had arrived. Initially, I tried to slip the 12 gauge jewelry in the 14 gauge hole. It didn't even come close to fitting. So I again got in the shower and applied moist heat to the piercing. I used a 12 gauge taper this time, to ease the transition from 14 gauge to 12 gauge. Even with lubrication, the taper did not want to go through.

I decided, at this point, to take a very slow approach. I put the taper in the hole, and stood in the shower with the warm water pouring above the piercing (not directly on the piercing). I put slow but steady pressure on the taper. It took about 20 minutes, but the taper did go through. I put the edge of the jewelry behind the taper, and attempted to slide it into place. But part way through, the taper came out and the jewelry got stuck.

I tried to apply pressure to the jewelry, but this started to push the fistula (the tunnel of scar tissue that is the piercing) out the bottom end. It was also rather painful. I then inserted the small end of the taper into the bottom side of the hole, hoping to guide the jewelry out from the bottom. After another 15 minutes of pushing on the jewelry, and attempting to guide the jewelry with the taper, the jewelry poked through the bottom side of the hole. I screwed on the ball, and got out of the shower. I stood in front of the full length mirror to look at the new piece of jewelry in my navel.

To my surprise, it wasn't crooked anymore. Where then hole had once leaned slightly to the right, it was now sitting completely straight.

Over the course of the next two days, the piercing was obviously somewhat bruised. It wasn't just uncomfortable from the minor stretching; there was some bruising around the hole.

This was, in my eyes, a relatively small stretch (from 16g to 12g). However, it wasn't as simple of a stretch as I thought it was going to be. Although I did my research beforehand on stretching piercings, and had some experience stretching other piercings on my body, this experience wasn't what I was expecting. In hindsight, I can see that I shouldn't have attempted to push the jewelry in unaided, even at the smaller gauges. When I had the issues with the taper and the 12 gauge jewelry, I should have removed the jewelry and made another attempt with the taper. The subsequent bruising was rather unpleasant.

The overall outcome was better than expected, however. The straightening of the piercing was a wonderful, if unexpected, side-effect. I have noted in my research that navel piercings sometimes heal crooked. I intend on doing more research to see if stretching the navel piercing has straightened out the piercing for anyone else.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 April 2003
in Navel Piercing

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Artist: Myself
Studio: At+home
Location: Canyon+Country%2C+CA

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