Pierced ears have long been a fashion accessory. By some estimates, more than 85% of women have pierced ears. For thousands of years, cultures around the world have also pierced other body parts. The practice has only caught on in Western society over the last few decades. Today, it's common for people to pierce their tongue, lips, nose, eyebrows, and even that most sensitive of areas; the genitals. It's not just rock musicians and street artists who are having genital piercings. Some professional women are hiding jewellery beneath their business suits.
Correct anatomy structure plays an important role in many genital piercings. A ‘vertical clitoral hood’ piercing is the most common female genital piercing. This is considered surprisingly easy to receive and heals quite quickly, probably two key factors as to why it is increasing in popularity. There are a few options regarding the type of jewellery a woman can wear and the clinic should of course discuss them in full with anyone considering undergoing this procedure. The priority should be safety with the piercing being comfortable and healing quickly. Different sizes or styles of jewellery can be tried once healing has taken place.
But are there risks to genital piercings, even the more straightforward ones? Whenever you create an opening in the body, there is a chance of infection. Going to a questionable piercing shop can put you at risk of tetanus, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Sometimes, genital piercings can lead to bleeding, scarring, or an allergic reaction. Piercing behind the clitoris may interfere with blood flow. There is a fear with many female genital piercings that you could lose all clitoral sensation. Provided that the piercing is performed by a reputable body piercer, the risk is extremely low. However, it is something to be aware of and factored in before going ahead.
Alison Johnson, a senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, who undertakes cosmetic claims, says: “Piercing is a fairly safe procedure, as long as it is carried out by a licensed practitioner and patients take care to avoid infection. Medical advice should be obtained immediately if you think your piercing may be infected. A delay in treatment can result in a serious infection. When choosing a piercer, make sure they have a piercing licence which is obtained from local councils. The licence should be clearly and prominently displayed on their premises and means that they meet the required safety and hygiene standards. Never choose a non-licensed clinic or piercing studio based on price.
“We deal with many claims involving scarring or infection from tattoos or piercings which have gone wrong and understand how ‘taboo’ these subjects are deemed to be. In a number of cases, women have suffered a cosmetic/gynaecological injury leading to loss of sensation, loss of sexual desire, pain upon intercourse and associated psychological factors. Typically the settlements for the physical pain, suffering and loss of amenity can be around £30,000 upwards, depending on the severity of the injury. It can also be possible to claim for associated financial losses which may include loss of earnings from time away from work, the cost of private revision surgery if recommended, travel expenses, care and medication.”