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Nipple Pain

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Nipple Pain

Nipple pain pertains to any pain or discomfort on the nipple itself or is surrounding areola. It often results from hormonal or physical changes in the body, friction, or particular disorders. Although it is possible, it is not likely that nipple pain is caused by a life-threatening cause and rarely an object for concern. Nipple pain is particularly common in women who are experiencing puberty, monthly period, pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause. In other words, they are very common in most women and may occur at any stage in a woman’s life.

Causes of Nipple Pain

Nipple pain is a common symptom for changes in hormone levels in the body, specifically the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Moreover, the nipples are one of the most sensitive parts of the body, thus they are easily irritated. The following may lead to nipple pain:

  • Hormonal or physical changes in the body
    • Changes in oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels in the body during premenstrual syndrome and menstruation
    • Onset of puberty pregnancy
    • ovulation
    • Pregnancy
    • Breastfeeding
    • Menopause and menopausal syndrome
    • Invented nipple
    • Prominent nipple
    • Drying or cracking of the nipple or areola
    • Breast surgery
  • Friction
    • Not wearing a bra, specifically during exercise or physical activity
    • Wearing a poorly fitted bra
    • Rough handling
  • Certain medications
    • Contraceptives
    • Hormone replacement drugs
    • Certain antidepressants
  • Certain disorders
    • Mastitis
    • Breast abscess
    • Contact dermatitis
    • Eczema
    • Candidiasis
    • Galactocele
    • Galactorrhea
    • Life-threatening disorders: breast cancer and Paget’s disease of the nipple

Symptoms of Nipple Pain

At times, nipple pain may have accompanying symptoms, depending on the underlying cause which typically include:

  • Nipple discharge
  • Bleeding from the nipple
  • Itchiness or cracking of the nipple
  • Breast tenderness
  • Change in breast appearance, size or shape
  • Breast rashes
  • Redness and warmth
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Fever

When to Seek Medical Attention:

When any of the following symptoms are present, it may be necessary to seek medical attention immediately to avoid complications from progressing:

  • Extreme cracking or open cuts on the nipple or areola
  • Redness in the nipple
  • New or unusual lumps in the breast
  • Unusual nipple discharge not related to breastfeeding, especially if brown or bloody

First Aid Management for Nipple Pain

Nipple pain can easily be managed at home. The following tips can be done to alleviate pain:

  • Identify the provoking factor or the underlying cause. Eliminate the cause.
  • Apply a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication to the affected area. Another option is to take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
  • Apply hot or cold compresses on the nipple.
  • Wear the proper sized bra. When exercising or engaging in physical activities, use a sports bra.

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice or treatment. The information given should not be used for self-diagnosis of the possible underlying medical conditions. Seek medical attention when necessary. To learn more about how to managenipple pain and other body pains, enrol in First Aid Courses with Red Cross training.

Source:

Nipple Pain (2011). Health Grades. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://www.localhealth.com/article/nipple-pain

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