Why Do Nipples Get Hard
If you’re not sure why your nipples get hard, it could be from any number of reasons. The most common reason is simple arousal — when you feel sexual desire or are turned on by something sexually stimulating. You may also get hard nipples if you have sex with yourself, masturbate, take oral sex, breastfeed, wear tight clothing, tanning beds, or use certain medications (like birth control pills). Other times, they’ll harden because of an event in your life like menopause, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing a baby, or taking hormonal therapy. Sometimes, though, your nipples will randomly harden without any obvious cause. There’s really no way to know why this happens since it’s so rare. If you want to find out more about nipple hardness, read on!
Nipple Hardening Factors: Arousal and Sexual Desire
Your nipples will harden during arousal, which means that they become erect and sensitive. This reaction occurs in both males and females. During arousal, blood flow increases to the breasts, causing them to fill up with milk-producing glands. As long as your body has enough estrogen, your nipples won’t change color. However, if your hormones don’t balance properly, then they may start to turn red and swell. In fact, some women claim that their nipples actually “turn blue” during menstruation. When this happens, it indicates an imbalance in hormone levels, such as low estrogen. Luckily, this problem is easily corrected through hormone replacement therapy.
In addition to turning blue, your nipples might harden due to excessive weight gain or loss, especially in postmenopausal women who lose weight after menopause. These changes happen because fat cells produce estrogen naturally.
The best way to tell whether your hard nipples are caused by an imbalance in hormones is to see your doctor. Some other possible causes of hard nipples are:
Pregnancy – Your nipples may get harder during pregnancy if you experience frequent contractions. They usually soften again once your labor begins.
Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding makes your nipples tender until you begin producing milk. After that, they should return to normal size and sensitivity.
Oral sex – Oral sex stimulates the production of oxytocin, which relaxes the muscles surrounding the nipples. Over time, this leads to nipple soreness.
Tanning bed – Exposure to ultraviolet rays in tanning beds causes skin problems including dryness and sores around the nipples. To avoid these issues, try using sunscreens containing the ingredient zinc oxide, which helps protect against UV radiation.
Medications – Certain drugs, such as corticosteroids, can lead to increased nipple sensitivity and pain. Talk to your pharmacist about all the medications you take so you can figure out which ones affect your nipples.
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