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Body Piercing and Diabetes

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What to do before your piercing

If you are thinking about having a piercing, it is important to have your blood sugars well controlled before and after, as this will help your piercing to heal. High blood sugars can delay healing and also put you at risk of developing an infection.

Stress can also cause high blood sugars, this may affect you before, during and after your piercing!

You may want to contact your Diabetes Specialist Nurse beforehand, to get advice about infections and Sick Day Rules.

What to do after your piercing

After piercing it is recommended that you check your blood sugars regularly, at least once a day. It is important to take your insulin at your usual times, don't miss any injections out.

If you have an infection, you may have high blood sugars and have the following symptoms

  • Prolonged redness and swelling (this maybe normal in fresh piercings)
  • Sensation of heat at the site of the piercing
  • Pain
  • Yellow or green discharge

If your blood sugars are regularly over 10mmol, you will need to increase your insulin dose. If your blood sugars are over 17mmol or you feel unwell you should follow your sick day guidelines.

You should test for ketones either by using an Optium blood ketone meter, or by using Ketostix for urine testing. Test for ketones twice a day until your blood sugars are below 10mmols. If you have ketones, you will need to increase your insulin dose and drink plenty of water.

If you are unsure about "Sick Day Rules" or how to adjust your doses, you can contact your diabetes specialist nurse or doctor.

However if you feel unwell, feel very drowsy, have abdominal pain or are vomiting it is important to contact a doctor immediately.

Mouth and tongue piercing

  • If you are unable to eat it is important to still take your insulin.
  • You can drink sugary and milky drinks or fruit juice instead. Make sure you rinse your mouth with water after.
  • If you stop your insulin, your blood sugars will go high even if you don't eat.

Genital piercing

  • If your blood sugars are high, you will pass glucose out in your urine.
  • You will also produce urine more frequently, especially during the night.
  • Large amounts of glucose in urine will put you more at risk of developing an infection at your piercing site.
  • Your piercing will also take longer to heal.

It is important to follow your aftercare guidelines from your body piercer.

If you are unsure about anything, contact your diabetes clinic staff or your GP.

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