Every piercing, including a navel piercing, needs adequate time for healing. Attempting to remove the original ring from a navel piercing site before the piercing has healed can cause extreme pain and serious infection, one that can take significant time to heal. There are numerous signs that you need to look for when checking your navel piercing site. The navel piercing is considered healed if it can pass each of these “tests.”
Wait the appropriate time before checking to see if the navel piercing is healed. According to Young Women's Health, you should wait at least four months before the navel piercing is fully healed.
Blot a tissue around the area of the piercing. The navel piercing is not completed healed if you notice any discharge.
Inspect the area for redness. While a little redness may occur from time to time, a dark red color indicates that the piercing is not healed.
Look for any swelling around the area. Touch the area to see if you notice raised skin, a "bumpy" feeling along the skin or "puffiness." Swelling and puffiness are signs the navel piercing is not totally healed.
Wiggle the navel ring gently. The piercing is not healed if the ring does not gently slide up and down through it.
Always go to a professional piercer to change the navel ring for the first time, as he has the proper equipment to do so. You can then change the ring at your convenience. The professional piercer can also tell you if the piercing has adequately healed.
It can take longer than four months for a navel piercing to heal if the site is not properly cared for on a daily basis. Clean and care for a navel piercing (see Resources). Consult a doctor immediately if you believe the navel piercing is infected.