Most women face breast related problems at some point of time in their lives. One problem that haunts women is sore nipples. There can be many reasons for sensitive nipples and pinpointing them is as hard. The most common reason for sore nipple is pregnancy.
Sensitive nipples during pregnancy are a common thing. Nipples also hurt during breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding your baby during pregnancy, your sensitive nipples will hurt all the more. Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy are the reasons behind sensitive nipples. Sore nipples is a tell tale sign of pregnancy.
Dry chapped nipples and teething can cause sore nipples. More than 80% of breastfeeding mothers experience sore nipples. Missing a feed session or wearing inappropriate nursing bra is a reason for soreness of nipples. There are 5 categories of nipple discharges yellow, bloody, green, milky, and clear. The prior ones are a sign that something is wrong.
Table of Contents
Reason for sore nipples
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy your body becomes a factory of hormones. Every sort of female hormone inside your body creates a cascade reaction. The notorious estrogen and progesterone hormone are reasons for sore nipples. High estrogen along with other hormones causes sensitive nipples. It increases blood circulation to the breasts and makes them ultrasensitive. This is mainly a preparation for breastfeeding the baby. Breasts undergo growth during pregnancy. Discolored sore nipples are a common symptom of early pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding: As you baby latches on your breasts the areolar tissues stretch and become sore. Breastfeeding is major reason for sore nipples. Due to incorrect positioning of baby you may experience excruciating pain in your breasts. If you try to remove your baby and adjust her during breastfeeding be prepared for a fight. It’s irritating that every time she suckles and milk trickles you remove her to adjust. She might bite you hard and if she has teeth then it will be unbearable. So it’s always best to latch on perfectly in the first attempt. Putting a finger in her mouth in unhygienic and you must not do that.
Bleeding cracked nipples is common during early stages of breastfeeding. Chaffing nipples is also another pain in the neck. Sensitive nipples during pregnancy are not capable of bearing continuous breastfeeding. If you want to breastfeed your older baby during pregnancy with another, take extra care of your breasts. Not putting on the bra to avoid hurting your nipples is a bad idea. It can worsen the situation.
- Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a condition where the muscles have pain and tenderness. The breast muscles also become sore. Fibromyalgia is a chronic muscle disorder. Fibrositis is another term for it. It causes fibrous tissues to become sore. Muscles and tissues become sore and there is joint pain. Sensitive nipples can’t withstand Fibromyalgia and become sore. Fibromyalgia is a long term reason for nipple soreness.
- Dermatitis or eczema: A woman’s breasts are extremely erogenous. They can easily catch skin infections. Contact dermatitis is a common reason for sore nipples. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is itchy inflammation of skin. It causes sore nipples and breasts. Scaly skin and red rashes are common symptoms.
- Raynaud’s Syndrome: When your baby releases the nipple they suddenly feel contracted. If exposed to very cold air instantly it can hamper blood circulation. After breastfeeding session your nipples need time to return to their normal size. Due to poor circulation they may become painful and sore. If you have anxiety and adrenaline rush it will cause sore nipples.
- Bacterial infection: Bacterial infection can lead to sore nipples. Bacteria are present everywhere. If you don’t maintain hygiene they can grow on your breasts and cause infection. Reasons for sore nipples and breasts mostly are bacterial infections. Sensitive nipples are even more risked to get a bacterial infection.
- Paget’s Disease: Both men and women can have this rate kind of cancer. In this nipples exude a yellow discharge. Paget’s Disease has a symptom of sore nipples. The treatments involve surgical procedures like Lumptectomy and Radial mastectomy.
- Thrush: Thrush is yeast infection. It can occur anywhere on the body. Thrush on your breasts can cause sore nipples. This is because the yeast fungi invade the areolar tissue and cause an infection. Yeast infection is treatable with topical medicine.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is the condition when the thyroid gland doesn’t function properly. The thyroid hormones are not produced in copious amounts. Hypothyroidism causes breast tenderness. It is also a reason for sore nipples. You need to consult your doctor about hypothyroidism symptoms.
- Ectasia: Widening of milk duct is common in aged women. It is excruciatingly painful and needs medical treatment. Ectasia is also a reason for sore nipples.
- Tan or exposure to sun: Exposing your breasts directly to sun can cause sore nipples. It is advisable to always wear your bra when on the beach. Even while getting a tan avoid exposing nipples to the sun. The radiations are harmful and can cause nipple problems.
- Medication: Some medications may be the reasons for nipples being sore. If you have sensitive nipples then you must inform your doctor. Antihistamines, antidepressants, and anti psychotic drugs can be a reason for sore nipples. Herbs also cause nipple soreness. Herbs such as Fenugreek and Fennel also cause sore nipples in some women.
- Joggers nipples: Working out without wearing proper sports bra can cause friction. Lose bra will allow the nipple to rub and become hot. Fissure of nipples during exercise is reason for sore nipples. Prolonged workout and running can cause sore nipples. Sensitive nipples may rub against the fabrics and become sore.
- Sexual stimulation: During sexual arousal the entire blood pressure builds up in your breasts. Erection of penis and nipples is analogous. If your partner caresses your nipples roughly then you may have sore nipples. It is normal for sexual appetite to vary during pregnancy. Sensitive nipples during pregnancy become sore due to sexual stimulation.
- Hormonal changes: Sensitive nipples are the result of hormonal changes. Even during normal menstrual cycle your nipples can become sore and painful. This is because of hormonal fluctuations. Any change is hormone affect blood supply to breasts. This is a reason for sore nipples.
- Allergy: Reasons for nipple soreness include any allergy. If you are allergic to a particular fabric or cream it can be a reason for sore nipples. Sensitive nipples are more prone to allergic reactions. Woolen clothing has a lot of static friction which can cause nipples to become sensitive. Always wear an inner under a woolen. Laundry detergents and shower gels may also cause nipple soreness.
- Breast abscess: Abscess is a pus filled infection. The nipples exude pus and yellowish discharge. Breast abscess is extremely painful and needs immediate medical attention. There is no way to treat it yourself and you must consult a doctor. Breast abscess causes nipples and breasts to become sore.
- Clogged ducts: During extremely cold weather your breasts might shrink a bit to conserve the heat. This can clog the mammary ducts. This is another reason for sore nipples.
- Milk blisters: When you are breastfeeding you may develop a white color rash. It is the milk blister. It is another reason for sore nipples. It is not because of breastfeeding. Instead it is because you don’t practice hygienic breastfeeding habits. You must use a pH neutral soap to wash your breasts while bathing. Special care is a must when you are breastfeeding. This is also important for the healthy well being of your little one.
- Vasospasm: If your baby has restriction in movement of tongue due to membranes, he might press your nipples. Babies take the nipples deep in their mouth to allow the milk to trickle near the soft palate. They have innate ability to breastfeed. However, if your baby has some issues with his lingual membranes then he may use his gums. The pressure exerted on your nipples will cause sore nipples.
- Breast growth: During pregnancy or otherwise when your breasts undergo a lot of work the sweat glands function rapidly. Montgomery glands are the sweat glands of breasts. They grow in size and start producing a lot of sweat. The sweat from Montgomery tubules creates a lot moisture and home for bacteria.
- Breast cancer: Clogged ducts and redness of nipples are symptoms of breast cancer. Breast cancer is another reason for sore nipples other than pregnancy.
- Unhygienic lifestyle: An unhygienic lifestyle is the biggest reason for sore breasts and nipples. If you don’t bath regularly and use deodorants your nipples will be a house of bacteria. Microbes invade the inner tissues and are reasons for sore nipples. Sensitive nipples crack when they are dirty for long.
- Tight undergarments: Wearing too loose fitted bra or tight bra can cause soreness of nipples. Sensitive nipples become sore when you wear linen or other synthetic fabric. A bra has more jobs than simply increase the oomph factor. An incorrect bra can cause sore nipples and even breast cancer. It is important that you get the right cup size and adjust the straps perfectly. Avoid wearing wired bra.
- Mastitis: The clogging and inflammation of milk duct is Mastitis. It is a painful inflammation and may need medical attention. Mastitis is another reason for sore nipples. If your baby doesn’t breastfeed for long you may develop a clot in your milk duct. It can be relieved by taking a warm shower and nursing in the direction of gravity.
Diagnosis of sore nipples
- Discussion: A discussion about the medicines you take and lifestyle can help diagnose nipple problems.
- Ductogram: In this procedure your doctor will inject a radioactive dye in your nipples. Then using an X Ray machine he’ll see how the dye moves along. This will reveal any clogged ducts
- Mammogram:It is the generation of images of your breast tissues. Using a 3 D image sensor the entire breast will be visualized on a screen.
- Prolactin estimation test
- Thyroid test
- Breast skin biopsy: Your doctor might take a tissue and culture it to see any problems in your nipples. This is generally diagnosis for Paget’s Disease
Treatments for sore nipples
- Anti fungal cremes
- Topical cremes
- Antihistamines for allergic reactions
- Anti inflammatory drugs
- Antiseptic solutions
- Pure Lanolin cream<
- Air drying and ice pack
Top 15 Home remedies for sore nipples
- Cocoa butter home remedy for sore nipples: Apply Cocoa butter for strengthening the muscles of your breasts. Cocoa butter has many antioxidants good for skin.
- Coconut oil massage for sore nipples: Apply Coconut oil to your sore nipples. Coconut oil has a pH that is best for sensitive chapped nipples. Coconut oil heals sore nipples
- Apply breast milk: Apply breast milk to cracked area to heal sore nipples. Breast milk itself is a treatment for cracked sore nipples due to breastfeeding
- Air dry your bust: Air dry your bust after breastfeeding your baby love. Air drying is better than using a cloth to dab the wet sore nipples
- Use breast shield: Breast shield avoid rubbing of sore nipples. This prevents the situation from getting worse.
- Latch on well and adjust while latched on: While breastfeeding make sure your nipples are not stretched by baby’s weight. Don’t remove your baby once latched on. Find a comfortable position for breastfeeding without pain.
- Moisturize your breasts: Always apply a medicated moisturizer to keep your nipples soft and agile.
- Select right nursing bra: Nursing bra is very important part of wardrobe of nursing women. Ditch your sexy lingerie for a while and get a comfy nursing bra.
- Avoid deodorants, scented soaps and lotions: Avoid use of any possible irritants to breast skin. At least till when you are sore nipples use pH neutral and medicated stuff.
- Shower with lukewarm water Using lukewarm water helps move the lumps in breasts down. This reduces the pain. The blood circulation also improves healing sore nipples.
- Avoid UV exposure Always apply sunscreen on exposed breast areas when going out in the sun. Never allow direct sunlight to fall on nipples. Take a scarf along to cover your chest. This is a way of preventing sore nipples after exposure to radiation. Avoid getting unnecessary X Ray tests. They can cause breast cancer especially if you are a family history of cancers.
- Use breast barrier cream and rash guard: If you have sore nipples then apply rash crèmes. Follow what your doctor says.
- Wear sports gear to support breasts during exercise: Always wear the right clothing when going for running while pregnant. In other case too it is important to wear sports bra and stretch tapes during prolonged workout routines.
- Communicate to your partner about any discomfort during sex: It’s natural to feel irritable if you have sore nipples. Always let your partner know beforehand about it. Do not tolerate unnecessary pain in the name of love. It’s pointless and only creates room for future complications.
- Warm and ice compress: Warm compress can help relieve sore nipples. Alternating warm and cold pack can help heal nipple and breast soreness.
Nipple problems are extremely painful and leave you in utter discomfort. If you notice any sudden change in your breasts then do check the reason for sore nipples.