Both Nipples Re-pierced.
Ten years or so ago, I had both of my nipples pierced. Seven months ago, I finally took my jewelry out, and last week I had new piercings put in. I don't know how unique my experiences were, but some avoidable mistakes were made so hopefully this testimonial will be of some use to someone.
When my nipples were originally pierced, the installed jewelry were 14ga CBRs. The initial piercing was intensely painful and the jewelry never quite felt right. That being said, I treated them well, and they healed reasonably enough. Every several years I'd stretch up further, but the more I messed with them, the more problems resulted. The first significant problems began when I stretched up to 10 gauge. I got some barbells thinking that the curve of the CBRs was causing a problem (I had been more tender and crusty than my aftercare indicated that I should expect), but I also got some rings made that hung off of the barbells so that I'd still have rings hanging from my nipples. Since the rings hanging from the barbell were 10 gauge as well, I had a comparatively heavy set of jewelry hanging off of me. In retrospect, I suppose it was the weight that prevented the stretching from really healing well; my nipples were pretty much constantly tender and frequently crusty. After wearing the heavy 10ga jewelry for a couple of years, I decided to stretch up to eight gauge. My rationalisation was that that if I stretched up to eight and let them heal, I could then comfortably go back to my heavy 10ga jewelry without complication. This was somewhat goofy and uninformed thinking (my goal should have been "Heal what I have now", not "Make it worse", but I'm occasionally stupid. Hindsight, etc. What was even more unfortunate than my decision to stretch unhappy nipples was my decision to get them stretched while I was vacationing in Santa Monica, from one of those shifty body-piercing joints on Venice Beach. To sit here writing it all down, it really does seem like an obviously bad idea, but it made sense at the time (Well, to me... My wife never thought it was a good idea). I'm sure there are boardwalk Piercing joints that do a bang-up job and are staffed with sensitive, capable people, but this particular place was not. The girl who stretched me jabbed the taper in so hard and fast, it actually slipped clean through my nipple and fell to the floor (it was hastily replaced with a sterile taper). The pain of the stretching was about as bad as my initial piercing and I started bleeding. Note to the Community: Research the stretching process. It's not rocket science, and it's easy to notice what to expect. This was easily the worst stretching experience I've ever had.
Complications aside, the deed was done. My new eight gauge nipple jewelry (curved barbells. Again with the curved Jewelry, which I never took well to) looked nice, but my nipples refused to behave. Constant tenderness, constant crusting, etc. I cleaned them religiously, soaked them frequently, and would even flush out the wounds with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in hopes of getting things totally disinfected and making things heal (in case I have to write this, it's not recommended to use peroxide or alcohol on piercings. Don't do it). Unfortunately, after a year or so of this, I determined that I had just gone too far in bad directions. Really heavy jewelry, really improper stretching... all sorts of recipes for trouble. Eventually I realised that my left nipple ring was migrating out, and the skin holding on the jewelry was getting threadbare. It bothered me to part with the piercings I'd had for almost a decade, but I determined that doing it right would mean doing it over.
I've gotten tattooed at Chameleon in Harvard Square, and I've always felt comfortable with their studio. It's bright and clean, and I've never had a problem with their staff. I spoke to the folks there about my nipples and was told that if I were going to get re-pierced, I would have to remove my jewelry and let myself heal for five months or so. After five months of looking at my strangely unadorned nipples in the mirror (they closed up and healed without complication, obviously happy to have me not mangling them further), I went in to have them re-pierced.
My first inclination was to get my nipples re-pierced at as high a gauge as possible. After all my prior problems with stretching, I assumed that I should just start big, but Owen was adamant about not piercing into the areola if he can possibly avoid it (no 4 gauge dermal punches for me!). We finally determined that my nipples could handle a 10ga. repiercing, and that 3/4" straight barbells were going to be the lightest, lowest-impact jewelry. The actual piercing was a quick and positive experience. Owen marked me up, double checked everything, and was slow and careful with the preproduction. He let me get totally relaxed, talked me through everything that was going to happen, and made sure there were no surprises. When it was time for the needle to go through, he was fast and precise. There was less bleeding than expected, MUCH less pain than expected, and all was good. Before I continue, I should re-iterate the point about pain, since this was an interesting element of this experience. It's not accurate to say that it didn't hurt at all, but it was vastly different from what I had prepared myself to expect. The first time I was pierced, I remember feeling a wave of intense, sharp, hot pain washing over my body from the nipple outwards. It's probably the worst pain I consciously remember enduring. With this re-piercing, there was none of that. There was an uncomfortable, burning tugging sensation, almost as if my nipple was being clamped and forcefully pulled, but it was a strong discomfort more than a pain. Why there was such a difference between my experiences I can't say, but I do know I was very relieved. Since my left nipple was so successful, I assumed my right nipple would be a piece of cake. The second nipple is always easier than the first (thanks, Endorphins!). Unfortunately, my right hadn't migrated as much as my left, so the new piercing was going right through scar tissue. It all turned out fine, and wasn't TOO much of a problem, but it did take a quarter of a second longer than my left nipple, and that's a long damn chunk of time when you're getting a needle shoved through a nipple.
All said and done, it was a completely positive experience. The scar tissue snag was an unavoidable side effect of the previous piercing, and I think that Owen performed admirably. The new Jewelry is completely unobtrusive (not to mention Light), so I expect that this time through, a little wiser for the wear, I'll make sure to take much better care of my beleaguered nipples.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 12 Sept. 2007
in Nipple Piercing