Many women and girls suffer from itching on the nipples. It is caused by stimulation of the sensory nerves that lead to the skin of the nipples and areola. There are several causes for this itching. In this article, we discuss the most common causes and solutions to prevent and/or reduce the itchiness.
It can be very annoying if you suffer from itching on one or both nipples. This itching can have various causes. Below are the most common causes.
Itching due to Irritation
If the itchiness of the nipple or nipples is the only thing that bothered you, then it is usually about the sensitivity of the nerve endings due to irritation of the skin. For example, it may be that your bra is too tight, or that clothing is rubbing along your nipple. This can lead to irritation and itching. Synthetic substances, in particular, can cause hypersensitivity. Avoiding these substances can then offer a solution. Also, pay attention to lace on your bra.
After an operative breast augmentation or breast reduction, your nipples can always cause itching. This is an aspect of the healing process. The chance of itchy nipples is also present during lactation. This can be caused by a blocked milk canal or by irritation due to the friction of the lips and/or teeth of your baby.
Itching due to hormones
The nipples can start to itch due to fluctuations or changes in the hormonal system. This is called hormonal itching and can come, for example, due to pregnancy, period (menstrual cycle), use of the pill (contraceptive pill), use of hormonal medication, puberty (growth of the breasts) or menopause. In these cases, an anti-itch ointment and/or moisturizer can be used.
Itching due to allergy
Itching on the nipple can be an allergic reaction to, for example, body lotion, shower gel, deodorant, perfume, shampoo or soap. An antihistamine can offer a solution in such cases. For this, you need to contact your doctor. And of course, try to avoid using the product from which you have had an allergic reaction.
Itching caused by a fungal infection
A fungal infection on the nipple or areola can cause severe itching. It is often caused by moist conditions such as a moist bra, wounds with fluid, leaking nipple or breastfeeding (thrush). You can recognize it by white dots or lines, chunks, dry skin, skins and sometimes stitches in the breasts. The general practitioner will usually prescribe an antifungal ointment.
Itching due to a bacterial infection
A bacterial infection can cause pain, swelling, redness, bumps or wounds in addition to itching. Bacteria can enter your chest through the blood or through the nipple and cause a mammary gland infection or chest inflammation. The infection often starts at the nipple and spreads over the breast skin. The inflamed area becomes warm, red and painful. There may be a swelling where pus comes out. In case of a chest infection, you can also suffer from fever, muscle pain, and headaches. It is very important to consult a doctor in this case who will usually prescribe an antibiotic treatment.
Itching due to breast cancer
If you have itching on both nipples then this is probably no indication of breast cancer. Breast cancer actually never occurs to both breasts at the same time. If you do not have any noticeable nodules or visible abnormalities in addition to itching, the chance is also small that it is a symptom of breast cancer. In case of doubt, you can always contact your doctor. This can possibly give a referral for a mammogram, ultrasound or chest puncture.