(I am writing this because a lot of people have been asking QOD for help lately on this issue, and I want to make sure that they can get the personal side of it too, and know what to look for)
At A Glance Author cuthalcoven Contact [email protected] IAM cuthalcoven When Two years ago Artist Mike Studio Steel Addictions Location Toledo OH
Hi...my name is Mandi, and I have inverted nipples. (Sounds like I should be sitting in a big room, surrounded by women with sympathetic looks on their faces, and a big "Inverted Anonymous" sign above our heads, huh?) Not quite. My nipples haven't been inverted for over two years, because of Steel Addictions.
I got them pierced the day I turned 18, because they embarrassed me. My boyfriend would mess around and things like that, and they wouldn't "stick out" or get hard or anything. Even when I was outside in the snow and freezing my ass off...my nipples stayed soft and hidden in my bra. Nothing would made those damn things come out, and I had tried to hide them for so many years. When I finally found BME and learned that piercing them could fix it, I jumped at the chance.
Went to Steel Addictions, and had the usual piercing experience. I filled out the forms, showed my ID, went back into the room and had them marked. I told the piercer ahead of time that I was getting them pierced primarily because I wanted the "look" of regular nipples. Knowing this ahead of time, he turned the temperature in the room down to what I like to call "damned chilly!". Yeah, it was cold. With the addition of the clamps pulling them out, my little nips turned red and achy. Mike explained that this was normal, and that they would be like that for at least a month due to not liking being forced out. I accepted that sentence of achy-ness, and proceeded to be pierced.
He was right. They were sore and tried to pull back in for about 3 months after I got them. They then settled down and I tried to stretch them to 12ga, since someone told me that they would a) heal better at a higher gauge, and b) look better, since I have a 44D chest, and 14ga just looked silly.
I stretched and failed. I knew I had failed see, because my nipples started calling me every four-letter word I knew, and they started hurting and got very red and angry. So I regrettably downsized to 14ga and I've been there ever since. Unfortunately, my nipples aren't happy with me, even now...after two whole years of having them. I looked up "inverted nipple" on the QOD, and immediately figured out the problem. Because of my inverted nipples, the 14ga isn't rejecting or doing the cheese-wire effect like usual, instead...my skin is actually covering MORE of the jewelry, trying to crawl back inside my chest, apparently. Must be warm. *shrug*
This causes a lot of pain, and now I can actually see the ring through the tip of my left nipple. There isn't much tissue left. My right one is doing a little better, but that's because the "spreading" symptom is more apparent. A LOT more tissue is still pierced on my right side, making it look like one nipple is majorly bigger than the other, since most of the left nipple has now inverted itself again.
I've decided that I'm going to retire them, and let the fistula heal. Then, I'm going to go back to Steel Addictions and have the jewelry placed behind the scar tissue. I'm hoping that the addition of a scar-and-brace type approach will ultimately help these piercings stay.
For people who have inverted or flat nipples, these are the things you should look out for and check before and after you get your piercings.
First, always make sure to tell your piercer that you have inverted nipples. This way, they can be sure to take the right steps by making the room colder and taking extra time to be sure that your nipples are "out" before piercing.
Next, BEFORE getting the needle jammed through your skin...stop and take a minute to inspect placement carefully. Make sure that your nipple is indeed all the way out, and not just halfway. I didn't do this, and I'm looking at getting them re-pierced as a result. If you only get the nipple pulled half-way out, it's going to try it's hardest to pull back in to where it's comfortable. By getting the nipple all the way out and piercing at the base of it, you ensure a healthier/happier piercing, and your chances of keeping it (and your sexy "new" nipples) increase dramatically.
While healing, make sure to check at least once a week to make sure that the jewelry is still mostly in the same place that it was pierced in. Some minor shifting is expected, the jewelry is just getting settled and finding a comfortable niche for itself. However, if you notice that there is less tissue pierced, or you notice that you can feel or see the ring through the tip of the nipple, go and see your piercer. While you may be able to heal it that way and keep it, your nipples will end up being different sizes, due to the jewelry sitting differently in each nipple. Since the main goal is to make your nipples look as "normal" as possible, having funky un-evenly shaped nipples is NOT the desired outcome. Chances are, you might have to take out whichever piercing is shallower and have it re-done. I wish I had done this when I noticed the left one was shallower, but I didn't.
Even after the 6 month "warning period" has passed, keep an eye on your piercings. I didn't notice the whole spreading effect thing until a couple of months ago. Piercings can seem fully heal, and then spontaneously act up one day for no apparent reason. If they start acting up, don't be afraid of being a piercing hypochondriac. Maybe it might be nothing, but what if it IS rejecting or pulling back in? You'll save yourself a bunch of pain, trust me.
Just for those wondering, these are the symptoms I had right before I realized that my piercings probably needed to go.
1) Sharp pains when I moved, since they would press on my bra and be pulled out by the pressure of the ring against the bra. This should have told me that they weren't as "out" as they were before.
2) Redness around the entrance and exit holes, combined with getting a boil on the right side of my left nipple piercing over the summer. Redness when your piercings are two years old symbolizes an underlying problem. When I got the boil, I should have automatically realized that there was stress and pressure on a piercing that didn't want to be there in the first place. (Yes, I'm blonde..so I apologize if I should have jumped on the fast-moving train sooner...the dye kills a lot of brain cells LOL)
3) "Spreading" around the ring. You can tell this because you'll be able to see where the curve of the ring is...usually it should not be covered when you wear the appropriate diameter jewelry. When it isn't covered, and then suddenly you notice that your nipples are giving your rings a tissue wedgie...well, then you know;)
4) And as said before, if you can see or feel the ring through the tip of the nipple instead of at the base...it's time to suck it up and deal with it....and take your beloved piercings out.
But don't think that I'm saying inverted nipple piercings can't heal, I'm not saying that at all. In fact, I'm setting out to prove that "Dammit, they can too heal!!!". It just takes some extra precautions, and a little extra awareness farther down the line. I hope this has helped people who are looking for more information, whether they have pierced nipples and need some assistance because they're acting up, or are considering getting them done.
I was so proud of mine, they made me feel like my nipples were finally normal, after so long of being embarrassed by them. Even after two years of fighting with them, I still haven't given up... and I don't plan on it, not in the least.
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