It is important to make sure the person performing art on your body has passed a course in hygiene and safety. Complications can happen: mild to severe infections (including resistant staph, warts), scarring (including very large weird scars), allergic reactions in addition to transmitting Hepatitis B and C and HIV. If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, kidney, liver, or heart disease, you may not heal well, so ask your medical provider if there should be concerns.
Tongue splitting and piercings are particularly concerning since more than half result in complications. Bleeding can be a problem if the vein or artery is pierced; and when a nerve is cut from the piercing, there may be permanent tingling, loss of taste, feeling, and movement (necessary for speaking, chewing and swallowing) in a section of the tongue. If there is an allergy to the piercing, then the tongue can swell causing blockage of air.
Oral piercings can cause gum disease which promotes loss of teeth, drooling, and loss of the piercing down the windpipe.
Earlobe stretching is permanent if it is larger than ½ inch and to repair it, if desired, can cost $500-$3,000—not covered by insurance.
Skin implants and dermal implants are generally as safe or dangerous as piercings. There is less reaction if titanium is used. Healing can take up to 8 weeks.
Subdermal implants are usually silicone and in addition to infection, rejection, allergic reaction, nerve and muscle damage, chronic ulcers or pain can occur.
Scarification can cause the weird scarring, infections, nerve damage, swelling, allergies, hair loss, and skin cancer.
LATINOS AT HIGHER RISK FOR PENILE CANCER
A new study showed that Latinos or people with HIV (regardless of ethnicity) are at higher risk for HPV wart cancers of their female and male genitalia and anuses but not the throat. There may not be a wart so get checked periodically. If you are younger, check with your provider if you can get the vaccine against these cancer-causing wart viruses. We vaccinate any HIV patient under age 27 for this and children should be vaccinated around age 11, but many are unvaccinated.
RUMOR: SHORT PENIS MEANS UNABLE TO HAVE BABIES?
There was a journal article showing that a small penis might be a sign of an underlying condition that might make the person infertile. Some reporters misunderstood and reported that all men with small penises can’t make babies. With the money going away for qualified science reporters since so much information is free and sometimes wrong on the web, the level of science reporting expertise has dropped much, causing many misunderstandings. If the man has sperm, then the man is fertile. Sperm can be seen swimming in the semen, looking frantically for that egg, under a microscope. Sexual pleasure does not depend on the length or diameter of the penis but on the entire experience made up of many parts: an engaged mind, attraction, age, health, and stimulation of different areas.
DON’T REMEMBER YOUR VACCINES AND LOST YOUR YELLOW CARD?
Ask your provider to register with the California Immunization Registry (CAIR2), a California database where most providers send in your vaccination information (over many years). This has been very helpful in our giving no more or no less vaccinations than are needed.
ROUTINE STI SCREENING NOT BEING DONE.
Again we hear about the ever increasing rise of sexually transmitted infections in the nation and California. The system is trying to get the providers to ask about this routinely, but I ask you all to request these tests for your anus, mouth, vagina, and penis. If you have discharge or soreness, of course you may ask for the test, but many times there are no symptoms. If you are cured, you won’t pass it to others and cause serious complications in them such as joint destruction, infertility, and pain. Remember, some of your partners may have sex with women and some of them can have these serious complications such as life-long infertility.
DEMENTIA AND HERPES LINK
Most of the population has been infected by Herpes-1 by age 70 whether on the lips and mouth, genitalia, or anus. Besides Herpes, the chicken pox/shingles virus is a culprit. These viruses seem to stay in the nerves and come out sometimes. It also can travel up the nerves to the brain and is associated with dementia, but treatment of the outbreaks seems to reduce the risk. So far this is an association, not a proven causation of dementia.
SECOND HAND SMOKE LINKED TO DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN
A new Canadian study showed a link between second hand smoke in cars or houses to be linked to higher depression risk in elementary school children. Please make sure there is plenty of outside air between you and the children around you when you vape or smoke.
WHY DO PEOPLE DIE OF A BROKEN HEART?
It has been documented that those who grieve the loss of a loved one die sooner, often days after the first death. A new study measured the level of grief and depression and found that the levels of inflammation in the blood were higher in those who were more grieved and depressed. We know that HIV and gum disease cause more inflammation and that is the mechanism for higher risk for heart attacks and strokes in these people. So safe sex and flossing daily are good habits! Also, if you are not recovering from grief well, seek out mental health care.
Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
HIV Specialist, Borrego Health (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Jacinto)
Member, Coachella Valley Clinical Research Initiative