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Why Are My Nipples Tingling Not Pregnant

by Lyndon Langley
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Why Are My Nipples Tingling Not Pregnant

Why Are My Nipples Tingling Not Pregnant

In addition to aches or pains, other symptoms of cyclical breast pain (also called “cyclic mastalgia”) can include breast tenderness, swelling, and tingling in one or both breasts. The sensations can be mild or severe, but they generally last from several hours to two weeks. They tend to intensify just before menstruation and then gradually taper off during and after a period. Other factors that can trigger the pain are weight gain, smoking, stress, drinking alcohol, caffeine, age, and exercise. Breast tingles also occur with fibrocystic breast disease, which affects about 40 percent of all women over 50 and is characterized by cysts on the mammary glands [sources: NIH; Kiechle].
The cause of this condition isn’t known for certain, although it’s believed to involve hormonal changes. Researchers have found evidence suggesting that the pain might result from an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels. In fact, some doctors believe the pain occurs when the ratio of these hormones becomes unbalanced. However, not everyone who experiences breast tingling has low hormone levels. In addition, there doesn’t appear to be any link between breast tingling and cancerous tumors in the breast tissue.
Cyclical breast pain is most common among women in their 30s and 40s, especially those with regular menstrual cycles. Although many people experience occasional discomfort, it can become chronic if left untreated. But don’t despair — there are ways to relieve the pain. Doctors often prescribe medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and anticonvulsants. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce inflammation. Topical creams containing capsaicin — the active ingredient in chili peppers — can provide temporary relief. And physical therapy, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care can also ease the pain.
If you’re concerned that your nipple sensation could indicate breast cancer, see your doctor immediately. A prolonged tingling feeling accompanied by a lump in the breast, dimpling of the skin around the area, or fluid leaking out of the affected nipple could mean cancer. If you notice any unusual lumps under or around the nipples, check them thoroughly since even benign growths can develop into cancers.
Read on to find out what causes a tingle in the first place.
Causes of Breast Tingles
Breast tingles usually start out as a subtle pricking sensation in the chest area. It feels similar to a light touch from a feather duster, and can begin at various points along the breast, including below the areola, above the areola, and on the surface of the breast itself. Occasionally, the tingling will move backward toward the nipple, creating a prickly feel rather than a ticklish sensation. As time passes, the tingling can spread throughout the entire breast. Sometimes it radiates down to the arm pit or up to the armpit.
One possible explanation for why breast tingling happens is that nerves near the breast connective tissues send signals to receptors in the breasts’ ductal system. When this occurs, the ducts swell, causing pressure and irritation. This theory suggests that the tingling could stop if the person stopped breastfeeding or taking oral contraception pills [sources: Lohr; Rizzo et al.; Zauberman]. Another possibility is that the tingling results from nerve endings that are sensitive to prostaglandins, chemicals produced by the body when muscles contract. Prostaglandins can irritate the lining of the milk ducts, leading to swelling. Yet another reason why breast tingles happen is because of the proximity of breasts to the brain. For example, stimulation of the right side of the brain can lead to increased blood flow to the breast.
Some women who experience breast tingling may wonder whether it indicates something serious, so read on to learn more about how to treat this uncomfortable problem.
Treating Breast Tingles
Women who experience breast tingles should consult their physicians since the source of the pain could signal a medical issue. One way to determine whether the tingling stems from breast cancer is to take a biopsy. However, if the tingling does turn out to be due to cancer, treatment options vary depending upon the stage of the tumor. Women whose breast tingles persist for longer than four months should consider seeing their physicians. Some treatments include medication, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It’s important to remember that no single remedy works for every woman who suffers from breast tingling. Depending on the severity, duration, location, and type of tingling, different approaches can work better than others. That said, some effective remedies include:
Topical creams such as lidocaine and benzyl peroxide can temporarily relieve tingling.
Eating less fat and sugar can decrease the amount of insulin released in response to eating fatty foods.
Exercising regularly can increase circulation. Yoga, swimming, walking, cycling and dancing are good choices.
Taking calcium supplements can strengthen bones and prevent bone loss.
For more information, visit the links on the following page.
A few things to keep in mind when trying to diagnose breast tingling: First, breast pain can stem from a number of sources besides cyclical breast pain. Therefore, make sure to rule out anything else that could be causing the pain, including allergies, infections, rashes, hives, arthritis, and endometriosis. Second, breast tingles can sometimes be confused with the sensation of engorgement in breasts caused by pregnancy or nursing. Third, if you’ve had breast augmentation surgery and are experiencing pain, it’s best to talk with your physician before pursuing alternative methods of relieving the pain. Fourth, a small percentage of people report breast tingling lasting long periods of time without showing signs of infection. In these cases, patients were tested for diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia and lactose intolerance, none of which proved conclusive. Finally, if the tingling lasts too long or intensifies, it could signify a serious health concern such as breast cancer. In such instances, it’s always wise to consult a professional.

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