1 in 10 adults has a non-earlobe piercing

Jun 13, 2008

One in ten adults in England have had a piercing somewhere other than their ear lobe, with a quarter experiencing complications, and one in 100 piercings resulting in a hospital admission, according to a study published on bmj.com today.

The study, carried out by public health doctors from the Health Protection Agency and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also found that women are three times more likely than men to have a body piercing and the most popular piercing site is the navel.

Over ten thousand people (10,503) aged 16 and over took part in the survey. These are the first published estimates of the proportion of the English population with non earlobe piercings and the rate of complications after having a piercing.

Piercing is more common among women than men, with nearly half the women (46.2%) surveyed aged 16�� years having a body piercing. Of all the piercings in the survey a navel piercing was the most popular (33%), followed by nose (19%), ear (13%), tongue (9%), nipple (9%), eyebrow (8%), lip (4%) and genital (2%).

The type of piercing also varied by gender with nipple piercing being the most popular among men but one of the least popular among women, while navel piercing was by far the most popular in women but was rare in men. Genital piercing, while uncommon, was found to be twice as popular among men as women.

As well as being more likely to have a piercing, people aged 16�� years were also more likely to suffer from complications, with almost a third (31%) reporting problems and one in seven (15.2%) seeking professional help.

Four out of five (80%) piercings were performed in specialist piercing shops, with the researchers saying a "worrying" one in ten (9%) tongue piercings were performed by non-specialists. In every anatomical site, including the tongue and genital areas, they found a number of people who said they had performed the piercing themselves or they'd had it done by a friend or relative.

The most common problems with piercings were swelling, infection and bleeding, with tongue piercings being the most likely to cause problems—almost half resulted in complications. Serious complications were significantly more likely to occur if the piercing had been performed by a non-specialist.

The researchers say the clear trend in piercing by age group in both sexes confirms that piercing is a fairly recent phenomenon and add, if its popularity continues, it could "place a significant burden on health services for many years."

Source: BMJ

Explore further: Twitter increasingly used to share urological meeting info

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Paris: Home of Eiffel Tower, Louvre and ...seagulls

Aug 30, 2013

A two-hour drive from the French coast, Paris sets up an artificial seashore on the banks of the Seine each summer and while the beach may be fake, the seagulls overhead turn out to be real.

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nano999
not rated yet Jun 13, 2008
Wow! That is some earth shattering news! /sarc