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Inverted nipples are nipples that have a flat appearance, or that pull inwards and leave a kind of "dimple". Some inverted nipples occasionally "pop out", usually when they are stimulated or when it is cold. Others are so elusive that you will never see them. 

Though between 10 and 20 percent of the population — both men and women — are thought to have inverted nipples, it can be rather distressing to see yourself as "having no nipples" when you are not familiar with the condition. 

We will look at inverted nipples in more detail before, but first off, in case you just wanted your most burning questions answered:

  • Inverted nipples are not of any medical concern in the majority of cases.

  • They can be corrected, if that is what you really want. 

Should You Be Worried About Inverted Nipples?

When you're born with inverted nipples (congenital inverted nipples), you usually don't have any reason to worry at all.

In this case, your inverted nipples are almost always simply one feature of a unique body. They might bother you for cosmetic reasons, in which case you can get them corrected, but if you like your inverted nipples just fine the way they are, there is no reason to do anything about them. 

Nipples that suddenly start pulling inwards, however, represent a reason to see your healthcare provider.

Sudden inverted nipples can be a sign of breast cancer, and they can also be the result of other medical issues such as infections or tuberculosis. In men, gynecomastia is another reason for inverted nipples. Trauma to the breast can likewise cause the nipples to become inverted. 

It's quite common for nipples to become inverted after childbirth and pregnancy as well, by the way. In this case, they are again unlikely to be a cause for concern. 

The bottom line is this — if you're worried about your inverted nipples or you would like to talk surgical and other corrective techniques through with a doctor, then seek medical attention. If your nipples have always been inverted, you will almost certainly be told that your inverted nipples pose no medical risk. You can then put your mind at rest and stop worrying. 

Can You Breastfeed With Inverted Nipples?

Many pregnant and lactating women find that their hormonal changes temporarily make their nipples come out. Even where this does not happen, many women with inverted nipples are able to breastfeed successfully. If you are not one of them, or breastfeeding causes you pain, remember that infant formula is a perfectly valid infant feeding choice. You have no reason to feel guilty for not breastfeeding. 

What Can I Do About My Inverted Nipples?

Breast shells and the so-called Hoffman technique, in which exercises are used to supposedly loosen the nipples and make them come out, have been found to be ineffective. Once commonly recommended, up-to-date medical professionals will now no longer advise people with inverted nipples to turn to these techniques. 

Suction devices and stimulating the nipples with ice cubes can temporarily ease them out, however, and you may also use a rubber band around the base of your nipple to cause it to protrude. Some people opt to have their nipples pierced to enable them to protrude permanently. 

Surgical correction for inverted nipples is a final option. The difficulty of the procedure depends on the extent of inversion. Please speak to your healthcare provider if you are interested in the surgical correction of your inverted nipples. 

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