Keeping your piercings in good shape can be challenging, even when you're in the best of health, but we all get sick sometimes and being pierced can make that a challenge. Here are a few things to remember for those times when being pierced and being sick coincide.
As always, remember to consult a licensed piercing professional for any and all medical advice regarding your piercings and body jewelry.
Oral Piercings: You may need to remove these when you see your dentist. Not only are they taking up space in your mouth that can hinder your dentist's ability to maneuver, but they show up on x-rays which can hide potential problems. If you are not able to remove them easily, you can stop at your local trusted piercing shop shortly before your dental appointment and then return on the way home. Many piercers will do this free of charge, but regardless of whether or not they charge you, don't forget to tip them for their time!
If you unfortunately need to have a medical procedure that requires general anesthesia, you may also have to remove your oral piercings. This is in case something happens that requires you to have a tube inserted in order to help you breathe. You may be able to make a deal with your dentist but for the surgeon's anesthesiologist this will be non-negotiable.
If you have a fresh piercing or removing your jewelry is not an option, bioplast retainers may be the right choice for you. Bioplast retainers will not show up on x-rays and are more flexible than traditional metal piercings. As always, consult with a piercing professional before changing any jewelry yourself.
Navel Piercings:Belly rings may have to be removed if you need any kind of surgery. Depending on the healing process, you may or may not be able to get the piercing re-done.
If you get pregnant (congratulations!), you will need to change your jewelry to a pregnancy-specific bellybutton ring. These are longer and made with a flexible material called PTFE to accommodate your growing tummy.
Female Genital Piercings:VCH and other types of intimate piercings may have to be removed if you are having a gynecological procedure or if you are pregnant and planning on a vaginal delivery.
Nasal Bridge: Depending on how your piercing sits, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may need you to remove the entire barbell, or potentially just the ball ends. You should also be aware that it may affect how glasses fit you, but again, this will vary from person to person.
Nostril/Septum: If you're prone to respiratory allergies, nostril and septum piercings can become irritated (or simply an irritation) during allergy season. You may want to put some extra thought into your choice of jewelry; for example, choosing a stud instead of an ultra-thin hoop for your choice of nose ring so you don't inadvertently damage your jewelry/skin while blowing your nose.
Nipples: If you're female and pregnant and you plan on breastfeeding, you may have to remove your nipple jewelry temporarily. This is a very individual decision, but the jewelry may get in the way of the baby's ability to suckle. There is also the theoretical risk of a ball end coming loose and presenting a choking hazard. Whether you choose to remove the jewelry prior to each feeding or leave it out until the baby is weaned is up to you. Repeated insertion and removal of jewelry can cause irritation on its own, let alone during months of breastfeeding.
So there you have it. Piercings can come with some health risks, but medical issues can cause some risk to your piercings. Your best bet is to use the Boy Scout motto - "Be Prepared!" Keep necessities on hand like spare ball ends and a retainer or two and remember - if it's a choice between your piercing and your health, you can always replace a piercing!