Hard Lumps Around A Tongue Piercing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Following your heart to get a tongue piercing should be done with respect and awareness. Research your options of piercing parlors beforehand so that you can pick a professional who’ll take all necessary precautions against complications. 

Picking the right piercing professional is also crucial for aftercare. In case of adverse side effects, they should be the first person you call for advice. If you find yourself developing a hard lump around your tongue piercing, don’t panic straight off. While the lump could be symptomatic of something more substantial, it may have formed as part of the normal healing process.

A lump around your tongue piercing may be a sign of:

  • Healing
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Hematoma

What to Expect from a Tongue Piercing

There are a few different techniques for tongue piercing, but the most common one is the straight piercing technique. In this technique, the piercing professional will:

  • Mark the best position for the piercing
  • Grab your tongue with forceps to hold it in place
  • Push the needle through and the jewelry right after 

Healing Time

Without complications, the tongue heals within four to six weeks. The tongue heals from the outside inwards, so it may seem like it’s healed before it actually is. 

Swelling around the tongue piercing is normal. To help reduce complications as a result of swelling, the first piece of jewelry that they insert will be larger than the ones you’ll replace it with. This larger-than-regular-size allows for the tongue to swell without affecting the boundaries of the jewelry. 

During the healing process, it’s normal for a yellow or white liquid to come out of the piercing site. This is immune cells trying to heal the puncture wound. These immune cells might even cause a lump near your tongue. 

A Lump Near the Tongue Piercing

A lump near or around your tongue piercing isn’t an immediate cause for concern. If you’re following all of the recommended aftercare instructions, it’s likely a normal part of the healing process. A tongue piercing is a traumatic wound, and it’ll take your mouth a while to adjust to it. 

If you’re overly concerned that your reaction isn’t healthy, a good place to start your search for answers is by going directly to the professional who pierced you for advice. 

If you find that you’re experiencing a fever, pain, and/or a change in color to the tongue, seek medical attention right away. A tongue piercing can have severe consequences for your health if you do leave a severe complication untreated. 

Outside of the normal healing process, your body might be forming a lump near your tongue piercing as a result of:

  • Hyper-scarring/keloids
  • Infection
  • Hematoma

Built-Up Scar Tissue

Some people, unfortunately, find that they experience complications with the healing process from any traumatic wound. If you have a lump formed near your tongue piercing that isn’t painful to the touch and isn’t accompanied by any other symptoms, like fever, pain or swelling, it may be scar tissue. 

Hyper-scarring, or keloids, are raised areas of scarring that don’t threaten you with any health complications. They are, unfortunately, aesthetically unpleasing. Keloids require surgery to remove. If you’re prone to hyper-scarring, be aware that you may suffer this side effect in a tongue piercing or any future piercings you may get. 

Infection Around the Tongue Piercing

Owing to the fact that piercings are holes bored into your body tissues, they have to be carefully protected against infection. While it isn’t abnormal for a new tongue piercing to swell and even leak something that looks like pus, these can also be signs of a more significant issue. 

Lumps and bumps that are painful to the touch and accompanied by fever, nausea, or pain are usually a sign of an infection. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s imperative that you seek medical care. Infections in a tongue piercing can have severe consequences

Compromising the integrity of your tongue can lead to difficulties with speech and swallowing. Infections in your mouth can pass into your gums, risking the integrity of your teeth. The infection may even spread into your blood since your tongue is a highly vascular organ, with key blood supplies running through it. 

Tongue Hematoma 

A tongue piercing has its own set of potential complications. Your tongue gets its main blood supply from your lingual artery, which branches off of your carotid. That means there’s a substantial blood vessel in your mouth that may cause complications for a tongue piercing. 

If your piercer makes a mistake and nicks these blood vessels during the piercing process, you may experience some dramatic effects. 

Since these are major blood vessels, you may form a substantial hematoma from such a mistake. A hematoma is like a bruise but deeper under layers of muscle. It results from blood seeping into your tissues and can look like a smooth lump.

Preventing Complications

There are special care instructions for tongue piercings. It’s important to avoid medication that may increase bleeding. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — NSAIDs — increase the likelihood of bleeding by thinning out the blood. This prevents coagulation and delays blood clotting. 

It’s recommended that people getting a tongue piercing avoid taking these medications the day before the procedure and for the seven days following. 

If you weren’t aware of needing to avoid these medicines, before or after the piercing, you might be experiencing a complication exacerbated by blood thinners.

You should also work towards ensuring your mouth is as clean as possible at all times. A regular salt water rinse can help with this.

The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.​

Getting a Piercing Eyes Wide-Open

When you get a piercing, you have to accept that you may be facing some unintended side effects from the procedure. Piercings, while pretty mainstream, are also results of a self-inflicted trauma that your body will need to heal from. Tongue piercings require special attention as complications here can be severe. However, what may seem like a problem could also be the result of the natural healing process of your tongue. 

Lumps around a tongue piercing may be typical post-piercing symptoms or results of excessive scarring, infection, or hematoma. As a general rule, if a lump is accompanied by pain, fever, or a change in color to your tongue, it’s time to seek medical attention.

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