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Why Do My Nipples Feel Sore

by Lyndon Langley
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Why Do My Nipples Feel Sore

Why Do My Nipples Feel Sore

You’re not lactating. You’ve checked to see that you don’t need any more nursing pads, and your breasts feel normal. So why do your nipples feel so sore?
Sore nipples occur when something causes irritation or inflammation. The symptoms may include redness, swelling, burning, itching, or a rash on the nipple. There can be other symptoms as well. If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, such as dimpling or puckering, call your doctor immediately. Sudden change in size or shape is especially important because it could indicate breast cancer.
The most common cause of irritated nipples is tight clothing. Tight-fitting bras prevent the blood supply from reaching the nipples properly, which increases the risk of infection. This also applies to underwire bras, which cut off circulation to the nipples. Wearing underwear made out of synthetic fabrics or elastic materials can also cause irritation. In addition, wearing jewelry near the nipples can rub at them too.
Pregnancy can affect your sensitivity to touch and discomfort. Your breasts swell with milk, and this affects how much space there is between your top and bottom garments. As the weight gain continues, the breasts stay larger and the skin stretches even further. This makes it harder for the bra to fit comfortably. Some people find that their breasts feel different sizes at different times; one day they might be full and heavy, while another day they feel almost empty.
Breastfeeding can cause sore nipples. When you nurse, the fluid from the baby’s mouth contains bacteria called coliforms, which can enter through the opening where the suction pump attaches to the baby bottle. The coliforms then travel into the ducts and spread throughout the body. During breastfeeding, these bacteria can get into the bloodstream and colonize in the mammary glands, causing mastitis. Mastitis means an infection in the breast tissue. It can happen anywhere along the breast structure, including over the chest muscles, underneath the scarred area, or around the nipples. Women who have diabetes or poor health status are more susceptible to developing mastitis than others. Breastfeeding mothers should wear loose gowns and avoid sharing personal items like towels or sanitary napkins. They should keep hands away from the breast.
If your nipples become infected with yeast or bacteria, contact your healthcare provider right away. He or she will prescribe medication to treat the condition.
While some sores are caused by infections or trauma, many others are due to dryness or irritation. Dryness often occurs after washing your hands without soap, or using antibacterial hand wipes that contain alcohol. This can lead to cracked or chafed nipples. A similar problem can arise from prolonged exposure to hot water, as in taking a long bath. Shaving or waxing your legs, armpits, bikini line, or other areas can also cause dryness. You can reduce the chance of getting dry nipples by keeping yourself clean and moisturized. Use gentle cleansers and lotions. Avoid harsh soaps or deodorants. Keep your hands away from your nipples and wash them separately. Don’t use nail polish remover to remove hair color or makeup. Instead, gently soften the area with warm water and rinse thoroughly.
Irritation can also result from sunburn, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, ringworm, warts, or scabies. If you think you have any type of skin disease, consult your doctor before treating yourself.
When your nipples become inflamed, take care to protect them from further damage. First, try to calm down the area. Cover the affected area lightly with plastic wrap until the flare-up passes. Wash your hands carefully before touching the nipples or changing diapers. Never share linens, tampons, or sanitary products.
Next, apply a soothing cream or ointment. Try petroleum jelly, zinc oxide, or hydrocortisone creams. You should also look for antihistamines to relieve itching.
Finally, seek medical attention if your nipples become very painful. Inflammation can be a sign of a serious underlying illness.
To learn more about nipple problems and related topics, visit the links on the next page.
A woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She undergoes surgery and radiation therapy. Afterward, she goes home with her husband to recover. Two days later, he notices that she doesn’t have a good night’s sleep. Her appetite appears low, and she feels nauseous. What’s going on here? Is she experiencing delayed side effects from chemotherapy? Or does she have breast cancer recurrence?

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