Why Are The Tips Of My Nipples White And Sore
The tips of my nipples get red and sore after nursing my baby. I have no idea what’s causing it but they don’t look infected so why do they hurt?
It sounds like you’ve got a case of an irritated nippled. Happens all the time! Fortunately, these red bumps aren’t a sign that your nipples need medical attention. In fact, they’re perfectly harmless. They may indicate that your nipples are wet more than usual, which can be caused by using petroleum jelly around the breasts during extended periods of nursing. It also could mean that your little one has been sucking on them excessively.
While irritation isn’t necessarily serious enough to warrant medical treatment, there are some things you can try at home to soothe discomfort. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some steps to take to ease your discomfort.
First off, if possible, avoid tight clothing. Tight bands might restrict circulation and promote moisture buildup, which causes irritation. Loose fitting tops allow air to circulate while keeping your nipples protected against harsh elements such as hot water, soap and laundry detergents.
If you wear bras with underwire, consider switching to wireless ones. While wires provide support, they can also become embedded underneath your skin and cause irritation. Also, think about going bra-free altogether. Bras tend to ride high on the torso, creating pressure points between the shoulder blades and back muscles. This results in unnecessary friction that leads to chafing, especially during sports activities. When choosing a bra without underwire, opt for styles made of soft fabric, which will keep out irritants but still offer adequate support.
In addition to avoiding irritating fabrics, you should also choose products that won’t aggravate sensitive skin. For example, steer clear of fragrances and dyes because they can cause allergic reactions on sensitive areas. Other potential irritants include lotions, ointments and powders. Try using cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen instead. You can even use specially formulated diaper rash creams, since many contain ingredients that help reduce inflammation and itching.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your bedding doesn’t add to your woes. Bedding materials such as wool, silk and cotton are naturally anti-allergenic, but synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon can cause allergic reactions. Be wary of sheets that feature tightly woven patterns, which can trap heat. Instead, go with softer textures such as flannel and organic cottons.
White spots on the nipples and areolas are not a cause for concern on most occasions. White spots often result from a blocked nipple pore when someone is breast-feeding, or as a normal reaction to changing levels of hormones within the body.
People who suffer from rosacea — a condition characterized by flushed cheeks and nose — should beware of excess sun exposure, particularly on their face. Sunlight can further inflame already irritated skin and lead to permanent wrinkles and other unsightly effects. To prevent this, apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily. Keep makeup minimal, and limit tanning sessions to 10 minutes max.
To learn more about how to relieve nips and tucks, read the next page.
You can alleviate the pain of dry, cracked nipples by placing a small amount of Vaseline onto each affected area several times a day. Wait until morning to apply the cream directly to the nipples, then wait 20 minutes before doing again. Repeat this process throughout the day. Afterward, rinse the area with cool water. Dry thoroughly and slip on a pair of nursing pads to keep the nipples moist [source Mayo Clinic].
Nipple Problems Treatments
There are lots of different reasons a woman’s nipples may become irritated and painful. Here are just a few of them:
Chronic yeast infections: A fungal infection called Candida albicans can affect both men and women. Women are most susceptible to vaginal thrush (yeast), which occurs when bacteria colonize the vagina, leading to irritation and swelling of the vulva. Yeast infections can spread into the surrounding tissue and cause burning and stinging sensations. Symptoms include irritation, rashes, redness, discharge and itchiness.
Diabetes: Diabetes, which affects approximately 23 million Americans, can damage tiny blood vessels in the breasts, causing sores and ulcers. These wounds can easily become infected, increasing the risk of scarring.
Sore nipples: As mentioned previously, sore nipples are actually quite common. Irritation due to breastfeeding, wearing tight clothing or being overly active can trigger achy, tender nipples. If symptoms persist longer than two weeks, consult your doctor. He or she will likely prescribe topical hydrocortisone cream to calm the inflammation.
Irritation due to breast implants: Breast augmentation surgery can cause complications such as capsular contracture. Capsular contracture refers to hardening of the breast capsule, which makes any movement uncomfortable. Doctors can perform a surgical procedure called capsulectomy to remove part or all of the contracted capsule. Following the removal of scar tissue, patients can experience improved sensitivity..
Rosacea: Rosacea sufferers should be cautious about overexposure to sunlight, particularly during peak hours. Exposure to ultraviolet rays can worsen existing conditions. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 daily to protect the face and eyes. Use lip balm with sunscreen every day to minimize the effect of sunburned lips.
Treating irritated nipples requires patience and persistence. Most of the time, a simple change in diet or hygiene routine will solve the problem quickly. If these measures fail, however, seek professional medical advice. Your health and well-being depend on it.
To learn more about treating minor ailments at home, see the links on the following page.
When you’re pregnant, you may notice the appearance of dark patches on your nipples. These dark spots are known as punctures. Punctures occur when fluid leaks through the ducts and attaches itself to the tip of the nipple. The fluid forms a protective plug over the opening, preventing germs from entering. However, when the mother becomes sick or her immune system weakens, punctured ducts become vulnerable to infection.
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