So I got both my nipples pierced just about a year ago. I did SSS for the entire time it was healing. I have my nose, septum and tongue pierced and didn't realize that nipple piercings took WAYYY longer to heal than those piercings, so there were moments where I would stop the SSS then I finally realized that I had to keep doing the soaks for at least 9 months; which I did. During that time I noticed, the nipples would switch up and sometimes my right one would be more sore than my left one, then a few weeks later my left will be a little more sore than my right. But this wasn't really an issue. It got to the point where both nipples were doing pretty good and I stopped SSS entirely.
Recently, in the last 2 or 3 months, I've noticed that a mass has formed underneath my left nipple (like directly underneath the nipple under the skin).
The first time it popped up it was kind of below the nipple under the skin (like more on the breast) and it was making my whole breast really sore and my nipple really sensitive to touch. I read up on it and assumed that it had something to do with my period cycle and hormones so I just SSSd it for a few days. The nipple stopped being so sensitive but the lump was still there and still sore. Then it went diminished in size and seemed like it went away.
A few weeks later, my left breast got really tender and sore again. This time I felt a lump directly underneath the left nipple and this is where it currently is. If I use my forefinger and thumb to gently pinch my right nipple, I can meet the two fingers underneath the barbell, like the skin is soft and can be rolled between my fingers. When I do the same to my left nipple, there is a very obvious hard lump and it becomes sore if I pinch it a little more firmly. It is not a lump on my breast, it's a lump directly underneath the nipple piercing (kind of to the left if anything). I've noticed a bit of pus coming out of the piercing site and the piercing smells kinda weird but I've been doing the SSS again and making sure the piercing site is clean. Despite the SSS, the lump is still there.
Does anyone know what this might be? Could it be an abscess? or an enlarged node? or is it just an infection? It's happening every month around the same time as my period. I'm getting pretty tired of it and I'm tempted to just take out the left nipple piercing entirely. But I'm also worried that if I do take the piercing out if it is infected, it will trap the infection?
I'm a female and I use titanium barbells, I forget what gauge the barbell is but it is on the smaller side. I will link pictures. It's hard to see the lump because isn't obvious by sight, so I've labeled where it is underneath the skin. You will be able to see that the site of the piercing is a little red and irritated and the skin is a bit dry and flaky.