People who work in breast health have seen it all, and they’re hoping we can learn from their experiences. The nipple is a delicate part of the body. However, it often gets overlooked when it comes to personal care. After speaking with experts that have been working in breast health for years, it’s clear many agree they don’t recommend nipple piercings. While there might be some personal benefits to nipple rings, there are some possible pitfalls experts warn about.
Recently, nurse practitioner Annie Zav, who specializes in breast health, shared a video on what she would never do after working in the space for years. Her video has over two million views and has started a wider discussion about breast health. Zav says after specializing in breast health, she would never get a nipple piercing. We talked to other experts to learn about the dangers of the piercing.
“Nipple rings can be really cute but definitely not worth the risk of deforming your breasts,” Zav says in her TikTok. She explains that nipple piercings can lead to abscesses. Not enough people are educated on this, which can make them extra dangerous. “I’ve definitely seen patients with really bad deformities and trauma after a nipple ring abscess,” says Zav.
“Infection rates with Hepatitis A, B, or C have been associated with piercings depending upon sanitary conditions as to where the patient may be going,” says Monica Grover, OBGYN and chief medical officer at VSPOT. “Other side effects can include infectious abscess, diminished blood flow, scar tissue or even keloids,” she warns. Additionally, the tissue that is pierced can tear. Dr. Grover says this would require surgery to fix. “Neuronal sensitivity can also be decreased if there is an injury to a nerve or the scar tissue.”
A common query regarding nipple piercings is their effect on nursing. Dr. Grover says “mammary ducts can be blocked due to buildup of scar tissue or from micro-injury. This can lead to an increased backup of milk flow or prevent the passage of milk.” Additionally, she notes that nipple rings can pose a choking hazard to babies, so it’s essential to remove and cleanse the area before breastfeeding. When it comes to surgery, New York plastic surgeon B. Aviva Preminger, MD strongly recommends removing nipple rings ahead of the procedure, “especially if a cautery is being used.”