Main causes of sore or itchy nipples and what to do

 Main causes of sore or itchy nipples and what to do

Pain in the nipples is a relatively common situation, and can arise at various stages of life, both in men and women.  Most of the time it is just a sign of a mild problem such as friction with clothing, allergies, or hormonal changes, but it can also be a sign of pregnancy or more serious problems such as an infection.

Main causes of sore or itchy nipples and what to do

 Normally, the pain in the nipples disappears 2 to 3 days after it arises and, therefore, it is not necessary to carry out specific treatment, but if it lasts longer or is very intense it is recommended to consult a mastologist or gynecologist to evaluate

1. Friction with clothing

 This is the most common cause of sore or itchy nipples, it usually arises during physical activity such as running or jumping, as rapid movements can make the shirt repeatedly rub on the nipple, irritating the skin and causing pain or a sensation of  itch.  In some cases, it can cause a small wound to appear.

 However, this problem can also occur in women who wear bras that are not well-fitting or people who wear clothing made of synthetic material, for example.

 What to do: Avoid using the material that caused the irritation;  In the case of exercise, a piece of adhesive should be placed on the nipple to prevent it from rubbing with clothing and, if there is a wound, the region should be washed and a healing cream should be placed, which should be prescribed by the doctor afterwards  of your evaluation.

2. Allergy

 The nipples are one of the most sensitive regions of the body and, for this reason, they can react to small alterations, either due to changes in the temperature of the environment, the type of soap you use when bathing or the material of the clothing you wear  .  In these cases, itching is more common, and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, scaling and even a small swelling.

 What to do: to evaluate if it is an allergy, the area should be washed with warm water, use neutral pH soap and avoid the clothes that were being used.  If the symptoms persist, it may be a sign of another problem and, therefore, it is important to consult a dermatologist.

3. Eczema

 In cases of eczema, the itching in the nipples is usually very intense and persistent, and may be accompanied by the appearance of small blisters on the skin, redness and dry skin.  Eczema can appear at any age and there is no specific cause, it can occur due to prolonged contact with water, very dry skin or stress.

What to do: Corticosteroid ointments are generally used to relieve symptoms such as hydrocortisone, which must be prescribed by the dermatologist.  However, applying chamomile compresses can also help soothe irritated skin.

4. Hormonal changes

 Hormonal alterations are the most frequent reason for the appearance of intense pain in the nipples, especially when the region is touched.  This occurs because hormones can cause a slight swelling of the mammary glands, making them more sensitive.

What to do: you should avoid touching the region and cold compresses can also be applied to reduce swelling, however, the pain disappears by itself after a day, when the hormonal levels are balanced.  If this does not occur after 1 week, the mastologist, gynecologist or pediatrician should be consulted, in the case of adolescents.

5. Infection

 The infection can arise whenever there is an alteration in the skin around the nipple and therefore, it is more frequent in people with very dry skin or women who are breastfeeding, due to the presence of small wounds that can allow the entry of bacteria, viruses  or mushrooms.

 In these cases, it is more common to feel itchy nipples, but other symptoms may also appear, such as a sensation of heat in the region, redness and inflammation.

 What to do: usually it is necessary to place an antibacterial or antifungal ointment prescribed by the doctor, according to the microorganism that is causing the infection.  However, while waiting for the consultation it is important to keep the region clean and dry, being a good option to keep the nipples in the air for as long as possible.

 6. Pregnancy

 Pregnancy is a period of a woman's life in which the body undergoes different alterations, one of these alterations being the growth of the breasts.  When this happens, the skin stretches and you may feel slight itching or tenderness in this region.

What to do: the best way to prepare the skin for changes in pregnancy, and avoid stretch marks, is to hydrate the skin well.  For this, it is recommended to use a cream for very dry skin such as snow cream, neutrogen or dove.

7. Cracks

Main causes of sore or itchy nipples and what to do

 Cracked nipples are another very common problem in women, which arises during breastfeeding and can cause itching that progresses to the point of causing pain.  In some cases, the cracks can be so severe that the nipples can bleed.

What to do: put a few drops of milk on the nipples after nursing and let it dry naturally, without covering it with clothing.  Afterwards, a protective cream can be placed, having to wash the nipple before the baby begins to eat

8. Paget's disease

 Paget's disease can affect the nipples, and when this occurs, the main symptom is constant itching of the nipples.  This disease is a type of skin cancer of the nipples and can be a metastasis of breast cancer, therefore, it should be observed by a mastologist as soon as possible.

 Other symptoms that may indicate Paget's disease are changes in the shape of the nipple, rough skin, or fluid release.

 What to do: if you suspect some type of cancer in the nipple or breast cancer, it is advisable to go immediately to the mastologist and start the appropriate treatment, which is normally done with surgery and the combination of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, depending on the case.


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