A health expert have cautioned Nigerian women against getting their nipples pierced, noting that engaging in the activity increases their risk of serious health complications in the short and long term, Punch Newspaper reports.

According to the expert, the act can lead to certain damages such as blockage of the milk duct, nerve damage, pain, and bleeding. Nipple piercing, they warned, can also cause serious infections like hepatitis B, and HIV.

The expert noted that piercing a nipple is not a medical procedure, adding that it is solely done for fashion.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, a lecturer at the Department of Physiology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Francis Agbaraolorunpo, stressed that the nipple is a special area in the breast that has abundant sensory nerves in it, warning that if damaged, can hinder lactation for women.

He explained that these sensory nerves are important because they are needed in the process of lactation.

Agbaraolorunpo said, “Lactation is milk production in a woman that just gave birth and there is a need for this area to be stimulated. When the area is stimulated, it will send a signal to the brain and the brain receives these signals and releases chemicals that will help in milk production and also in the release of milk in the breast. So if a woman has nipple challenge, then the process of lactation would be affected.”

“In the course of a harsh healing process, it can form scars in the milk duct and that can hinder the flow of milk. Equally, for some of the nerves that get damaged, the signals that should travel from the nipple to the brain may be hindered and so it could affect breastfeeding,” the expert explained.

He noted that while there has been an argument that only just a few milk ducts are affected by nipple piercing and that only a few sensory nerves could get damaged, he stressed that the procedure is still very dangerous to health.

Those doing it, he said, could develop infections if the instruments used are not properly sterilised.

“There could be an infection in the immediate term and that would be tetanus because it is equally an injury that is created.”

“So depending on the sterilisation of the instruments used for the procedure, it could cause either mild infection or strong infection.”

“Tetanus is strong, so for those who are not immunised against tetanus, it is a big risk. Hepatitis could also be picked up.

“Infection can also cause an abscess. An abscess is the presence of pus in the space of the tissue and if not properly medically attended to, can equally spread to the other area of the breast. This will result in a condition referred to as mastitis. Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast tissue,” he said

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