How Much Do Belly Button Piercings Hurt? (Pain Guide)

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 15, 2018
    Last Updated: January 14, 2021

The belly button piercing scene has been growing in popularity in the past few years. It seems whether you’re a celebrity, a young college student, or just a person who thinks they’d look cool with some navel bling, belly button piercings are the current thing to do.

Although underneath the excitement that people have about getting their new navel jewelry, there also seems to be a lot of worry about how much belly button piercings hurt. Let’s look at how tough you have to be to get your belly pierced.

Belly Button Piercing Pain

When compared to other piercings, belly button piercings are generally low on the pain scale and can be compared to ear lobe piercings when trying to imagine how much one might hurt. While you should expect at least a little sharp pain and pinching, the procedure will be over very quickly.

Even if you are someone with a lower pain tolerance than the ordinary person, you still shouldn’t be too afraid to get your piercing done. The pain won’t be so bad that you’ll embarrass yourself by breaking down and crying in front of your piercer.

It might feel like a bee sting or getting an immunization while it happens. Over the following few days, there will also be some soreness. On the whole, however, the pain probably won’t be half as bad as you’d imagine it to be.

What to Expect at the Shop

Your piercer will prep your belly by sterilizing it with disinfectant. You’ll want to opt for a piercer who uses a hollow needle rather than a piercing gun.

A super sharp needle will be much more gentle on the surrounding tissue of your belly than a piercing gun will. This can cut down on how sore you’ll feel in the days after the piercing.

Don’t be alarmed by the size of the needle. If you get squeamish about that kind of thing, look away and keep your mind on something else. Your piercer should skillfully get the needle through your skin in seconds. It won’t sting for long!

You’ll then be sent home with your aftercare instructions. You should follow those closely so you can have an infection-free recovery.

How Much Do Belly Button Piercings Hurt

How Long Will it Hurt For?

While the initial needle pain will be over in mere seconds, your discomfort will last a little longer than that. It will feel sore for a while afterward.

That soreness may vary from a couple of days to a week, depending upon what your pain tolerance is and how strictly you stick to your aftercare instructions.

If you don’t take good care of your piercing and an infection sets in, be prepared for additional pain that lasts longer. As well as this, rejected belly button piercings are also a possibility, and these can cause lingering pain, too.

Pain Factors

There are so many things that can factor into how much your belly button piercing hurts. Let’s look at some of the most common influencing factors.


When people are overtired, they get wimpier. Everything seems harder and worse than it actually is. A good night’s sleep can make you feel a lot better about any pain you’re experiencing. Plus, getting enough sleep will promote faster healing so your pain won’t last as long.

How Healthy You Are

Your physical condition can influence your pain level and how fast you heal. If you have a medical condition like diabetes, it can delay healing.  So can smoking. That can lead to longer-lasting pain.

If You’ve Been Using Drugs or Alcohol

You definitely want to lay off the drugs and alcohol during your recovery time. Both drugs and alcohol can slow down your healing and that can cause longer-lasting pain for you.

If You Use a Numbing Product

Numbing creams are an effective way of cutting down on your piercing pain. On the other hand, remember, in the aftercare phase, you want to avoid creams so your piercing can get as much air as possible.

Bear in mind, while you might be able to dodge some pain when the piercing happens, you’ll still have to deal with the pain as your belly heals.

One of the most effective piercing numbing products currently on the market is Zensa Numbing Cream, which contains the highest level of Lidocaine allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter use. The feedback left by thousands of customers for this product is nothing short of exceptional.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging, apply shortly before your piercing procedure is due to begin, and look forward to a less painful and more comfortable piercing experience.

Whether Your Piercer Uses a Gun or Needle

You definitely want to make sure your piercer uses a hollow needle for your belly button piercing. It’s more sanitary and it hurts less during the recovery phase because it’s easier on tissue.

Less tissue damage means less pain and faster healing.

Whether You’re Getting One Piercing or Two​

A double belly button piercing will likely hurt twice as much as a single one during the initial piercing procedure, so keep this in mind if you want multiple piercings but also want the amount of pain to be kept to a minimum.​

Piercer Experience

Have you ever had an IV put in and felt like a human pin cushion because of how many attempts the nurse had to make on your arm before finding a vein? That comes down to experience.

A piercer is no different. They have varying degrees of experience that can make your piercing feel better or much worse. Do your research and choose your professional wisely.

Ways to Deal With Belly Button Piercing Pain

Whether you’re a champ at ignoring pain or you start to fall apart at the first sight of a needle, there are some tried-and-tested tricks you can use to take your mind off the pain.

Bring Some Tunes

Music gets people through some of the hardest times of their lives, whether they’re dealing with emotional or physical pain.

Bring some kick-ass music that inspires you or makes you feel tougher – you’ll feel indestructible while the piercing happens.

Bring a Wingman/Wingwoman

No one likes to go through tough times alone. Ask your piercer if you can bring a friend with you while you’re having your belly button done. It’s hard to be a baby about something while one of your besties is watching.

Think Positive

This may seem like new-age garbage, but the power of positive thinking is a useful tool for dealing with tough situations. If you convince yourself something is no problem, it usually is enough to power you through.

Safety in Numbers

It can help to remember all the people who have had this procedure done before you have. It’s a brotherhood or a sisterhood. You’ll all have been in the same exact spot, and you’ll survive it just like they did.

Have a Snack

Before you go to get your belly button pierced, eat a light snack. That will help bring up your blood sugar and make you less likely to feel faint as you watch or feel the needle go in.

Get Comfortable and Breathe

Don’t wear tight clothes to get your piercing done. It may feel fine on your way there, but you’ll regret it on your way back. Restrictive clothes will rub against your raw piercing and will cause you unnecessary pain.

When the piercing is happening, make sure to take slow, deep breaths. It will help get you through the pain.

Clean Gently​

Cleaning your belly button piercing can be quite sore during the first ​few days, so being as gentle as possible while looking after the area will help to keep pain levels down during the initial healing process.


While piercing your belly button will be a bit painful for most people, it’s nothing compared to other pain you’ll face in life at one point or another.

By keeping your fear under control, you’ll feel a lot better about the procedure and any soreness you’ll have in that first week.

Belly button piercings hurt, but just remember that pain is temporary; your awesome and beautiful piercing will last forever.

If you want to ensure your piercing heals as best as it possibly can, it’s imperative that you follow your piercer’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality aftercare solution to aid recovery.

The best piercing aftercare product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using up to this point is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan-friendly, 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.​ Click here to buy from Amazon

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