Allergy to Body Piercings

Allergic to Tongue Piercing

You can be allergic to your tongue piercing.

Allergic Reaction to Tongue Piercing

Many body piercings involve the placement of metallic objects in the ears, nose, navel, and even the tongue. Since metals are frequently the causative triggers for contact dermatitis, it's possible for people to experience allergic reactions to body piercing jewelry.

These allergic reactions may include eczema on the skin at the site of contact with the jewelry, but could also include chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea in a person with a tongue piercing.

A recent case report of a young woman with a tongue piercing found that contact dermatitis to nickel was the cause of her chronic abdominal pain symptoms. When the tongue piercing was removed, her symptoms went away.

Contact dermatitis to nickel (and other metals) is diagnosed using patch testing. Treatment includes avoidance of nickel and related metals, as well as the use of topical steroids. A test to determine the presence of nickel in jewelry and other metallic devices, called dimethylglyoxime test, is available commercially.

Find out more about the common causes of contact dermatitis.


Amara A, Khoury N, Amara S, Martin G. Clinical Dilemma: Systemic Contact Enterocolitis – A New Disease Term? Presented at the 2008 American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Accessed November 11, 2008.

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