Sore nipples

Sore nipples involve tenderness of the breast that is experienced by many women during the reproductive cycle. Sore nipples can be a symptom of pregnancy. Sometimes, it can be caused by an injury or external factors.

Sore nipples are also common among mothers who are breastfeeding their babies and can be due to inability of the baby to properly latch on during breastfeeding.

Symptoms

  • Bleeding
  • Itchy and swollen nipple
  • Development of cracks around the nipples
  • Development of lumps or bumps around the areola
  • Heaviness of the breast
  • Discharge coming from the nipple which is either pus or milk
  • The severe symptoms include hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycle, weight gain or bloating in the abdomen, frequent and severe headaches and sleepiness
    Sore nipples

    Apply a cold compress on the nipples to lessen the swelling and other symptoms. Wrap ice cubes in a towel and apply on the nipples for at least 10 minutes.

Causes

  • Sore nipples can be due to pregnancy
  • Pre-menopause and menopause
  • Postmenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Using certain medications such as oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy drugs and antidepressants
  • Large-breasted women
  • Issues of the heart can lead to pain and soreness of the breast
  • Using products such as body wash, soap and laundry detergent that contains large amount of chemicals that cause skin irritation
  • Incorrect sucking technique during breastfeeding
  • Fungal infection on the skin

Treatment

  • Apply a cold compress on the nipples to lessen the swelling and other symptoms. Wrap ice cubes in a towel and apply on the nipples for at least 10 minutes.
  • A warm compress can be applied to the affected nipple. The heat from the compress helps lessen the discomfort and promote fast healing of the condition. Dip a wash cloth in warm water, wring out the excess and place it on the affected breast for a couple of minutes before breastfeeding. Perform this remedy several times every day until the soreness disappears.
  • Wear a bra that fits well and provides adequate support for the breast, especially when performing any physical activity. Remove the bra at night before going to bed.
  • Change bras every day and make sure that they are washed properly before wearing them next time. Use a mild laundry detergent with no harsh chemicals to prevent irritation on the nipples and soreness of the breast.
  • Use mild soaps and body wash that is free from harsh chemicals to help prevent irritation and soreness of the nipple.
  • Keep the nipples clean and dry while the skin around the affected area should be wiped thoroughly after taking a bath.
  • Perform relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing to help in minimizing the level of stress and anxiety that can cause soreness in the nipples and breast.
  • Apply a small amount of olive oil on the nipples to lessen the discomfort.
  • Increase the intake of vitamin C to make the breast and nipples healthy. Eat oranges, drink fresh orange juice, guavas, papaya, garden cress, mustard green and broccoli.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter medications such as creams or ointments that are appropriate for the condition.
  • If the soreness of the nipple is caused by some underlying condition, it is best to seek medical help immediately.

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