why do nipples get itchy during pregnancy

Monday, February 6, 2012
WhatБs Making My Nipple Itch Like Crazy, and What Should I Do? By БDriving me crazy! Б БI want to tear my nipple off! Б These are just a couple ways our readers have of a nipple itch. Both women and men have written to WebMD about this frustrating condition, most often with vivid descriptions of their itching agony. Yet rarely is there a documented diagnosis and treatment. The causes can include one breast and numerous skin conditions. To give you the best overview I have decided to cover the most worrisome and most common causes first, to be followed by some of the other origins of an itchy nipple. PagetБs Disease (PD) is a rare form of breast cancer that can involve both the nipple and the aerola (colored area that encircles the raised nipple). While itБs the common cause of nipple symptoms, it is the most worrisome. So letБs discuss it first. An itching or burning sensation of the nipple or aerola is a common initial symptom; it is often accompanied by a crusted appearance. Persisting soreness/itching with a scaly, eczema-like rash that does not improve despite prescription treatment is highly suspicious for. One may also have a yellow- or blood-tinged nipple discharge from the affected side. In later stages there can be an ulcer or mass in the areola. Most often, PD involves only one breast. Thus it is not usually linked to bilateral nipple itching or rashes. PD is typically found in women between the ages of 50 and 60. PD is diagnosed with a clinical breast exam, thorough patient history, mammogram, and an ultrasound if indicated. If there is still a suspicion, despite a normal exam and mammogram, a MRI can be utilized to identify PD. A breast biopsy of the nipple will provide tissue to be sent to pathology for a microscopic examination and conclusive diagnosis.


Any coexisting lumps would be biopsied as well. Even though you have an itchy, crusted nipple with a discharge there is a benign (non-cancerous) condition which can mimic PD. One can have a benign tumor of the breast duct tissue called Бerosive adenomatosis of the nippleБ. This is why a surgical biopsy is the Бgold standardБ for conclusively diagnosing PD. Treatment for PagetБs disease is breast surgery, either mastectomy or a cone-shaped excision of the nipple. One study from Sweden followed women for 12 years to see if mastectomy was necessary for all women with PD. Those who just had PagetБs of the nipple (not invasive breast cancer) were selected for the cone-shaped excision. Those select patients with the breast conserving surgery had survival rates similar to those who were treated with mastectomy. Atopic Dermatitis common cause of itchy nipple (PagetsБs Disease), letБs move to the other end of the spectrum and discuss one of the common causes. That would be (AD), also known as eczema. With this condition itching is almost always present and can be severe. Itching may even precede the development of an overt rash. The rash can include small blisters with oozing or crusting. Further scratching could open the skin to bacterial infections or create thickened areas from constant inflammation and irritation. Atopic Dermatitis can appear in persons of all ages. Since AD is thought to be due to a hypersensitivity reaction, persons may be more prone to develop AD if there is a personal or family history of allergies (e. g. , asthma, hay fever).


Environmental allergens such as cleaning products, wool, foam Atopic Dermatis is usually diagnosed by physical exam and a thorough history. If needed a skin biopsy can be done to rule out other causes of the itching and rash. When itching is severe and/or there is a known allergic trigger, antihistamine pills can be helpful. These would include both the sedating type (e. g. , Benedrylб), or the non-sedating type (e. g. , Clartinб or Zyrtecб). The majority of AD remedies are topical treatments. One might be prescribed a steroid cream or ointment. A newer class of medications includes the topical immune modulators (e. g. , tacrolimus or pimecrolimus). There are also self-care and preventative strategies, which can decrease AD symptoms. Avoiding known triggers is foremost, but keeping natural moisture in the skin is an important goal. This can be achieved by decreasing use of drying soaps and prolonged hot baths. Once out of the bath or shower, a bland ointment or cream can be used to seal moisture in. Interestingly, a number of our readers suggested treatments which fit this description. NipStickб, designed for joggersБ nipples, contains shea butter, jojoba oil, and beeswax. Another reader successfully used Kiss My Face Lip Balmб containing canola oil, beeswax, lecithin, coconut oil, and other emollients on her itchy nipples. Even Eucerin Aquaphor was found to be helpful by a reader. Ice packs or cold compress should be applied to the itchy areas to prevent redness or inflammation. This helps in relieving the expectant mother from the irritating itchiness that she has to go through each day. Aloe vera gel is also known to work wonders when it comes to treating the itchy nipples.


Expectant mothers should apply aloe vera gel all over the portion that causes irritation. Aloe vera gel helps in soothing the area and reduces the inflammation that is caused due to the itching. The gel helps in creating a layer of protection and prevents damage to the skin. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties which help in taking care of the itchy nipples. When chamomile is applied all around the affected areas, it helps in relieving the itchiness and dryness. Chamomile is considered to be more effective in comparison to the hydrocortisone cream, which is used in treating atopic dermatitis. The skin of the breasts starts to stretch during pregnancy, which leads to the itching of the nipples. The skin also gets irritated when artificial fibres are worn. Coconut oil is considered to be the safest and the most effective way for moisturizing the dryness of the breasts and the nipples. Applying coconut oil will provide a lot of relief to the expectant mother. Jojoba oil consists of the anti-inflammatory properties and it allows the breasts and nipples to stay hydrated, thereby taking care of the dry skin of the breast. It is best to use jojoba oil during pregnancy rather than switching to antiseptic creams that may have side effects. Itching of the nipples during the pregnancy is a very common occurrence. The breasts start growing as a result of the changes in the hormones, and the skin is stretched, which leads to flaked, irritated, or itchy nipples. The itching can be kept under control only if the nipples and the breasts are hydrated and lubricated all the time. Petroleum jelly can be used as a relief for the nipples. Petroleum jelly helps in keeping the area hydrated, thereby reducing the dryness of the skin.


This is one of the best remedies for treating itchy nipples. The jelly needs to be rubbed on the nipples and breasts multiple times each day. It is said that the itchy nipples start worsening when the baby is born and starts to breastfeed on its mother. This makes the nipples even more itchy and dry, and it can also affect the health of the newborn. This condition should be treated and dealt with before the baby is born. Applying warm peppermint tea to the affected areas helps to prevent the cracks around the areas of the nipples and also helps in treating the itching. It is important to rub lotion all over the breasts and nipples during the morning and before going to bed at night for gaining the best results. The skin tends to become dry even after taking a bath. Body lotion can be applied on the affected areas after a bath as well. Oatmeal paste helps in taking care of the itchy nipples issue. Pregnant women can also take an oatmeal bath, which acts as a great relief to the itchy breasts and nipples. Sesame oil is one of the best remedies for pregnancy. Sesame oil should be rubbed on the breasts and nipples. It helps in keeping the breasts hydrated and makes it supple and soft. Sesame oil is the best possible home remedy for the itchy nipples not only during pregnancy but during other times as well. The oil should be rubbed before taking a bath. Women can also apply warm sesame oil, as it tends to work even more effectively. The products that are being used for skin care can also cause itchiness. This is why it is necessary to avoid harsh soaps and perfumes. Using home remedies can effectively help in reducing the itchiness of the nipples during pregnancy.

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