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Why Do My Nipples Get Hard

by Lyndon Langley
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Why Do My Nipples Get Hard

Why Do My Nipples Get Hard

The nerves in the nipples react to stimuli, both physical and psychological. So an arousing thought, change in temperature, or something as simple as the fabric of your shirt brushing against your skin can cause one or both of your nipples to become erect. But there are some underlying health issues that can also lead to nipple hardening. And if you don’t know why they’re getting harder over time, then it’s a good idea to learn the signs so you can recognize when it’s time to see your doctor. Here are some common reasons for hard nipples and what you should do about them.
Nipple Hyperplasia (or Enlargement)
This is usually the result of hormonal changes during puberty, but can be caused by other factors such as wearing tight-fitting clothes, breast implants, radiation treatment, anti-androgen drugs, pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS medications. It may also occur after surgery on the breasts. The condition causes the milk ducts to fill with fluid, which makes the nipples enlarge and appear puffy. They can feel tender to touch and hurt more often than normal. As long as the problem isn’t severe enough to interfere with nursing, the patient doesn’t need medical attention. She just needs to wear loose clothing and avoid rubbing her breasts too much.
Chronic Infections
If you have chronic infections like yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, these conditions could irritate the skin around the nipples causing inflammation. If this happens, you’ll experience redness, scaling, itching, irritation, burning, or discharge. You can treat mild cases at home with over-the-counter medicines. For moderate to severe cases, you should consult your physician right away. He or she will prescribe antibiotics.
Sore Nipples
When you get irritated skin from rashes or eczema flare ups, it can happen under the surface where the skin folds inward. This leads to bumps called calluses and pressure sores underneath the nipples. The best way to treat it is to keep the area clean and dry, and apply hydrocortisone cream all day long until the symptoms subside. Your doctor may give you oral steroids to reduce swelling. Once the rash clears up, he or she can trim down the callus tissue and relieve any tension using special tools called callus clippers.
Hard Nipples From Mastitis
Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands, specifically the milk ducts. If bacteria enter into the system, it can spread throughout the body via the bloodstream and lymphatic vessels. Symptoms include fever, chills, pain in the affected breast(s), and general discomfort. Left untreated, mastitis can lead to abscesses, cellulites, scarring, and permanent deformities. Treatment includes taking antibiotics, draining infected fluids, and keeping the wound clean and dry. In most cases, patients heal without complications or side effects.
Skin Conditions That Cause Hard Nipples
Some skin diseases can make your nipples sore and inflamed. Psoriasis, ringworm, lichen planus, and keratosis follicularis are among the most common culprits. There are many different types of psoriasis. Some people develop silvery scales covered with tiny reddish spots; others have silver patches with light yellow centers that look scaly. Other forms of psoriasis involve lesions, blisters, and discoloration. People who have keratosis follicularis typically develop painful nodules on their chest. Ringworm looks similar to athlete’s foot because of its circular appearance. Lichen planus affects the skin’s upper layer and causes small raised areas of rough skin. Though not contagious, it can be bothersome because it hurts to walk, work, or sleep.
Allergies
If you suffer from allergies, you might notice that your nipples swell and itch after exposure to certain fabrics or chemicals. Certain foods and plants can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Keep track of your reaction patterns and notify your doctor immediately if your symptoms worsen. He or she can recommend treatments and prescriptions to ease the discomfort.
Dry Skin Causes Harder Nipples
Your skin naturally produces oils to protect itself from dirt, germs, and harsh elements. When your skin becomes dry, however, those natural moisturizers begin to evaporate faster. Dry skin can also cause flaking and cracking, making the epidermis thinner and less resilient. These symptoms are especially prevalent in winter months when air conditioning and heaters rob moisture from our homes. To combat dry skin, consider exfoliating regularly with a gentle cleanser. Use aloe vera lotion on cracked, dry patches to restore elasticity. Take extra care to use noncomedogenic products and avoid soap altogether. Also, pay close attention to how you dress, since tight clothing can increase friction and further dehydrate the skin.
Pregnancy Changes Your Nipples
As a woman nears full term, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone cause your body to release fat cells, water retention, and increased blood flow. These physiological changes affect the entire body, including your nipples. During pregnancy, you may notice that your nipples grow larger and darker in color. They may also turn downward, or even form a slight depression. Pregnant women should avoid heavy lifting, pushing, and pulling motions. Instead, they should lie down comfortably while supporting their abdomen with pillows. After delivery, new mothers should wait two weeks before returning to strenuous activity.
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps maintain proper levels of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Women should eat plenty of protein and calcium, along with essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and iron. Breastfeeding mothers must supplement their diets with vitamin D to ensure adequate intake of calcium.

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