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Itchy Nipples: Possible Causes And Treatments

If itching on the nipples persists, visit a gynaecologist to confirm if there is no underlying condition which is causing the same.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : September 15, 2022 1:01 PM IST

Itching in the nipples and the surrounding areas of the breasts can understandably be annoying. Occasional itching of the breasts can seldom be indicative of something serious, and the itch sensation mostly subsides on its own. It is not something to be paranoid about especially if you do not notice any other problems such as inflammation or peeling of the skin.

Let us delve deeper into understanding the causes of itchy nipples.

Fungal infection

It could be possible that your breasts are feeling itchy because they may have contacted a fungal infection called breast yeast or thrush.

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Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, then there are high chances that your breasts are feeling itchy. Pregnancy causes tremendous fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels. Since your breasts undergo a change in size during pregnancy, the skin stretches, and you may experience a tingling or burning sensation in your nipples or other areas of the breast. The nipples may also begin to feel dry during this time.

Dry weather

Dry weather can cause dryness all over the body and nipples as well. Don't use hot showers, use lukewarm water and reduce the shower duration to under 10 min. Moisturise post shower with a thick cream.

Period

Your nipples may feel itchy when the date of your next period is drawing closer. Just like in pregnancy, your body is subject to a lot of hormonal fluctuations before your period, also causing the breasts to feel swollen. The fluctuations with regards to hormones and size will cause the skin of your breasts to stretch, making them feel itchy.

Yeast Infection

Your breasts and nipples may also be prone to a yeast infection, while such infections usually form in the vagina, it is possible to also get them on the breast. There could be multiple causes of a yeast infection on the breast such as a hot and humid weather, not changing undergarments frequently, extremely tight clothing to name a few. A yeast infection of the breast can be accompanied by several other symptoms such as cracking and bleeding of the skin around the nipples, raised and stingy rashes, etc.

Eczema

Breast eczema is a condition which makes the nipples and the other parts of the breasts feel itchy, dull and bumpy. Eczema usually occurs in the dark areas of your nipples. Eczema disrupts the skin barrier function which makes your breasts more sensitive to infections and dryness causing itchiness.

Contact dermatitis

The sensitive area of the breast might be reacting to the new soap or perfume you might be using or even to the new inner wear, leading to itchy nipples.

Paget's disease

This a very rare form of breast cancer which starts in the ducts and spreads to the breast nipples like eczema. It is usually seen in one breast and is associated with bloody discharge.

Treatments/Remedies for itchy nipples

  • Clean your breasts and nipples with anti-bacterial soap and clean water. Avoid using harsh and scented soaps.
  • Use a medically certified itch-relieving cream on the affected area. This would help in numbing the skin and reducing inflammation.
  • Wear clean and sanitised undergarments to reduce chances of infections.
  • Use thick moisturizers on your breasts to hydrate the skin.
  • Stay hydrated so that your skin does not become dry in general.
  • Meet your doctor when home remedies are not working

Conclusion

Usually, the itching on your nipples should subside using simple remedies as stated above, however, if it persists you should consider paying a visit to a gynaecologist to confirm if there is no underlying condition which is causing the same. At the same time, keep a look out for other abnormal symptoms such as an inverted nipple, a lump in the breast, scaly rashes on the nipple to name a few. If you see any of these symptoms, alarm your doctor so that you can receive treatment for the same immediately.

The article is written by Dr. Thejaswini J, Consultant - Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bangalore.

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