Body piercings help me relate to my husband’s life with hemophilia

For this columnist, piercing pain and hemophilia bleeding pain share similarities

Alliah Czarielle avatar

by Alliah Czarielle |

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The piercing bug has bitten me again! After watching TikTok videos of teens and young adults with unconventional piercings, I decided to get a few more myself: a nose (septum) piercing, a center labret piercing, and a couple more ear piercings. My inner child is elated!

My husband, Jared, who has severe hemophilia B, finds it amusing that I choose to pierce myself with needles for decoration, whereas he must occasionally use an IV butterfly needle to infuse his lifesaving factor.

Piercings helped me understand wounds and infusion tools

I’ve had pierced ears since I was 6 and got unconventional piercings when I turned 17. This personal experience has given me an understanding of needles and the way wounds heal.

Through piercings, I also learned about needle gauging, so when Jared first mentioned using a 23-gauge needle for infusions, I already had an idea of its size in comparison to my piercings. (It’s thinner than the smallest piece of piercing jewelry I’ve worn.)

Fresh piercings are tiny wounds, while hemophilia bleeds are huge ones that can either be internal or external. Hence, the experience of piercing pain and bleed pain share some similarities. The way I care for my piercings while they heal parallels Jared’s approach to managing his injuries.

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The pain of a fresh piercing is like a persistent dull ache, even when you’re trying to relax. Cartilage piercings throb, while flesh piercings sting or feel heavy with swelling. Similarly, Jared experiences persistent pain with his injuries, which varies depending on the location and type of bleed.

After a few days, a piercing site may begin to itch, tempting you to scratch it. However, resisting this urge is crucial to avoiding further irritation and potential infection, which would require urgent medical care.

The same applies to bleeds. Jared must avoid excessive movement of the injured area and allow sufficient time for healing. Otherwise, it could bleed anew, leading to more problems down the road, such as a lengthier healing time or a hemophilic pseudotumor, which must be surgically removed.

For me, getting pierced is the easy part. The aftercare is much more challenging, requiring mindfulness and modification of my habits. An average piercing can take months to heal, so one must stay disciplined with aftercare for just as long.

In Jared’s case, infusing factor is the simplest part of healing a bleed. However, caring for a bleed is a long and mindful journey, as he must take absolute care not to disrupt a forming clot, even accidentally.

Because of piercings, I don’t fear wounds or pain

People often ask if my piercings hurt. I always answer that a piercer’s needle punctures hardly ever produce more than a quick sting. Witnessing how much pain Jared endures during bleeding episodes makes me feel like my piercings don’t compare.

I can’t imagine going through the pain of a bleeding episode without a choice. Getting pierced and healing my piercing wounds may be the closest experience I have to relate to what Jared goes through.

Whether it’s an uncanny coincidence or a twist of fate, taking part in piercing culture might have prepared me for the life I would spend with my husband. It got me used to the idea of needles, blood, and pain. As a result, I’m prepared to face hemophilia alongside my husband without fear.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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