Causes of nipple pain could be the following:
1. Paget's disease of the nipple - This occurs when externally invisible cancer inside the breast spreads to the nipple and areola area. The areolar area looks as if it has been infected. It looks, red, swollen and is painful but actually this is caused by blockage of small channels called lymphatics which drain the fluid from the areolar area. This blockage is caused by rapid proliferation of cancer cells within the breast tissue.
2. It could also be caused by allergies or sensitivities to various detergents, soaps, weather, fabric,etc. Some women are sensitive to the plastics in breast shells, nipple shields, and pump flanges.
3. Repeated friction like say prolonged exercise or jogging.
4. Vigorous sexual activity could be a cause.
5. Infections of the breast has to be ruled out. Infections could lodge on already traumatized nipples. Diabetes is another risk factor for skin infections because micro-organisms love the sugary cells in people with diabetes. Nipple pain with fever is once reason you should visit the doctor because of the concern for infections.
6. Breastfeeding is common cause of nipple pain. The causes during breastfeeding could be breast engorgement, breast infection, nipple vasospasm( a condition caused by narrowing of blood vessels of nipples, in response to either cold temperatures or stress). Changes in the saliva during teething of the baby could result in nipple pain.
7. Hormonal changes which occur cyclically every month could result in breast and nipple pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Nipple Pain?
1. There could be redness in the nipple area. There could also be crusting, itching, tingling or a burning sensation.
1. Ordinary abrasive trauma to nipples should get better in a few days time, on its own.
2. Persistent pain has to be evaluated by a physician.
4. Seek immediate consultation if you have nipple discharge whether it is pus or brownish or is blood-tinged.
5. Avoidance of activities such as jogging and running for a few days.
6. Wearing properly fitted bras.
7. Sometimes not wearing bras could cause friction and pain. This should be avoided.
8. The key is that if you have alarm symptoms, you should consult a medical practitioner. The alarm symptoms could be any of the following: discharge from nipple (it could be bloody, brown, or pus), persistent pain and any concern for Paget's disease of the breast.
9. Warm, moist compresses could be soothing for nipple pain. Coating a cracked nipple, in the case when the woman is breastfeeding, with breast milk could be beneficial because breast-milk has anti-bacterial properties.
10. Home remedies like cooking oil, honey or tea bags are inappropriate. Tea bags contain tannic acid which is an astringent (something which dries up other things) and this could be counter-productive because moisture is required for the healing of sore nipples.
11. Lanolin ointment/cream could be used which could provide moisture for quick healing of sore nipples.
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