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A triad of evidence for care of women with genital piercings


Myrna L. Armstrong, EdD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Highland Lakes, 806 Steven Hawkins Parkway, Marble Falls, TX 78654.
Tel: 830-798-9548;
Fax: 830-798-8598;


Purpose: To add three further dimensions of evidence for the care of women with genital piercings (GPs).

Data sources: Following a literature review, a cross-sectional study replicated previous work, using a web-based survey. This triad of evidence provides (a) descriptive quantitative data (N = 240) about women with GPs, (b) qualitative data about women with GPs, as well as (c) clinical observations from 60 healthcare providers (HCPs) who have cared for women with GPs.

Conclusions: Three important findings about women with GPs were validated: (a) GPs were deliberate actions, sought for personal and sexual expression; (b) women with GPs treat piercings as a normal, meaningful part of their lives which produce sexual enhancement and expression; and (c) they continue to seek information about GP care from nonhealth providers. New data indicate that they have experienced depression (47%), abuse (physical 18%; emotional, 27%; sexual, 14%), and forced sexual activity (35%) in their lives. Several unsubstantiated assumptions about women with GPs are challenged with these data.

Implications for practice: GPs should not delay important health care. Health-protective, as well as health promotion, behaviors are important to reduce risks. Nurse practitioners (NPs) can become effective and resourceful advocates in three specific areas of care: (a) responsiveness to women with GPs, (b) collaborative decision making for the removal of jewelry, and (c) promotion of applicable patient education.