Granulomas, sometimes appear on body piercings but lucky they are easy to treat and often even go away by themselves!
- Granulomas are usually small and bright red in colour.
- They can appear as a perfectly round looking raised spot (like a red ball stuck to the skin) or as a lump which looks similar to chopped meat and is very uneven.
- They can look shiny or wet.
- Granulomas tend to bleed quite a bit which could pose an infection risk.
- Because of this bleeding these bumps are sometimes mistakenly thought to be blood blisters.
- Although they are generally pretty pain-free Granulomas can feel a little tender.
- Granulomas form when the body’s immune system attempts to wall off substances that it thinks is foreign but is unable to get rid of.
- In terms of piercings this could be from certain infectious bacteria or (most probably) from the jewellery itself. If the granuloma was stimulated by bacteria it can contain dead cells which may smell.
- It is thought that the granulomas that occasionally appear near piercings may be Pyogenic granuloma which (despite the name) are only loosely linked with ‘true’ granulomas.
Little specific is known about granulomas or exactly what causes them.
- On body piercings they tend to appear on the nose and navel but they can appear almost anywhere on the head, arms and torso.
- They are also more popular in children (particularly under 5s) and young adults and appear to be effected by hormones.
- The nasal septum seems to be another common place to see them.
- Certain medications such as hormonal contraceptives, protease inhibitors and retinoids (you would know if you used these type of medicines) seem to increase the risk of these bumps forming.
- The only prevention recommended would be to advise people (especially those at higher risk) to seriously consider if a piercing is worth the risk.
Luckily most granulomas go away by themselves but in the mean time they can be prone to infection so it may help to treat them.
- The best thing to do is to stop saline soaking your piercing and avoid creams, oils, soaps and sprays.
- Use a medicated or antibacterial talcum powder once or twice a day. This should help to keep the area dry and free of bacteria.
- When the granuloma bleeds make sure to apply pressure to stop the flow and let the scab / dried blood stay several hours before gently cleaning away with antibacterial soap or liquid.
- If the bump is causing problems it can be covering in a breathable dressing.
If the granuloma bleeds a lot or distresses you it can be removed or treated by a medical professional.
- Perhaps the easiest form of treatment is to be prescribed a topical imiquimod cream which activates immune cells.
- Granulomas do seem to respond well to curettage and cauterization which is where the bump is scraped away using a sharp blade and the wound closed using heat – all done under local aesthetic.
- They can also be frozen off, lasered away and surgically removed.
If you would like to know more about this bump please read the full version of the granuloma bump guide. Alternatively you may want to try reading more about piercing infections (which this bump can attract) and how to spot them. Another guide that may interest you is the guide to how piercings heal which discussed in-depth the unusual way in which body piercings actually heal!