A Guide to Belly Button Rings

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Body piercing has become more common in Western culture. In spite of this increase in popularity, however, body piercings are not always welcome in the workplace. This is especially true if you work in a professional setting or deal with customers face to face. As a result, you may find a body piercing that you can conceal is best. One such piercing is a belly button ring.


The most familiar belly button ring is the captive bead ring. Oliver J. Muensterer, M.D., explains that these have two parts: a dimpled bead and a metal ring with a small space in which you insert the bead. You squeeze the ends of the ring together to hold the bead by the dimples with tension, and open the ring with pliers to remove it.

Other belly button rings take the shape of a curved bar with a bead that screws off one end to insert and remove the jewelry. The other end, which rests inside the navel, may be an identical bead or a larger decorative bead or ornament.


The Association of Professional Piercers, or APP, recommends using belly button rings made of certain materials for new piercings. These include titanium, biocompatible polymers and surgical steel. Gold, 14K to 18K only, is also suitable for initial belly button rings.

The AAP says healed piercings may tolerate jewelry made from other materials, including bone, acrylic or stone. Biocompatible polymer curved bars are suitable for use during pregnancy, as the material is very flexible.


Belly button rings have two size measurements, explains Montana Body Art. The gauge is the ring’s thickness. Captive bead rings also have an inside diameter measurement. Curved barbells have a length measurement from bead to bead in a straight line, not along the curved bar itself.

Typically, initial belly button rings are 14-gauge, with a diameter or length of 7/16 inches. You may also use a 3/8-inch ring after your piercing heals. Pregnancy retainers are typically 2 inches long, but you may cut them shorter with sterilized scissors.


Belly button rings with beads that screw onto either end may have internal or external threads. Internally threaded belly button rings have the male end on the bead and the female end inside the ring. Externally threaded rings have the male end on the ring and the female end inside the bead. The APP recommends internally threaded belly button rings for new piercings, as passing external threads through the holes may irritate them.


Donna I. Meltzer, M.D., warns that because of the positioning of belly button rings, your chance of infection or migration -- when the ring works its way out of your body -- may be greater than with other body piercings. To minimize migration risk, Dr. Meltzer recommends using a curved barbell rather than a ring for the initial piercing and healing period. After the piercing heals, avoiding belly button rings with heavy dangling ornaments may also prevent migration.