why do my nipples hurt while breastfeeding

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC
Sometimes a mom will get sore nipples after weeks or months with no problems. Following are six potential causes, plus some troubleshooting tips. 1. Blockage or a is a possibility, particularly if only one breast/nipple or area of the breast is sore. It s unusual to have mastitis, plugged duct, or a milk blister on both sides at once. 2. В Hormonal changes Are you or about to get your period? The hormonal changes at these times can cause sore nipples for a few days. Typically, both sides will be sore. Many moms of older babies are more bothered with latch on during these times, and it may feel as if baby is clamping down or scraping his teeth on the nipple, even though he doesn t seem to have changed his latch. Mom may also feel generally uncomfortable and even irritated with nursing. Some moms get relief from the soreness by taking or a. Any chance of pregnancy? Often the first sign of pregnancy for nursing moms is. More here on. As with soreness that comes with ovulation or menstruation, both sides will typically be sore since the soreness is caused by hormonal changes. 3. Trauma Has your baby been pulling on the nipple, or practicing creative nursing positions? Any type of nipple trauma can cause soreness, and soreness may be on one or both sides. Any broken skin will also make you more vulnerable to bacterial infections. 4. Skin irritation Is baby? Many times moms experience nipple irritation as a result of teething.


The increased saliva and the enzymes in it can irritate nipples. This can be lessened by rinsing the baby s saliva off the nipples after the feeding. With teething, both sides would typically be sore. Has baby? Remnants of food left in baby s mouth can also cause soreness. Rinse baby s mouth or give him a sip of water before nursing. Are you prone to getting eczema or psoriasis? Either can cause nipple soreness. Are you using a new soap, laundry detergent, nipple ointment/cream, skin lotion, shampoo, powder, hair spray, perfume or deodorant? An allergic reaction to any of these might cause sore nipples. Have you been exposed to poison ivy? 5. Thrush IfВ you get sore or cracked nipples all of a sudden, it can be useful to check for. Thrush usually causes pain in both sides. В 6. Latch and positioning Any time you experience soreness, go back to the just as you did in the early days. Even if you have not had problems with this in the past, latching/positioning can occasionally be a problem as baby gets older because older babies usually nurse in all kinds of positions, and the latch can get sort of sloppy too. One or both sides may be sore. Improving latching/positioning may be helpful even if there is another primary cause of the soreness. For example, many moms experience sore nipples when pregnant and although this has a hormonal cause, good positioning and latch can still improve the soreness to some extent.


There s a reason nipples are considered one of the most erogenous zones of the human body. These highly sensitive body parts are both easily stimulated and easily irritated, and there are many reasons a person might find his or her nipples hurting from time to time. One of the most common (and easily cured) causes of nipple pain is wearing tight or ill-fitting undergarments and clothing. But nipple pain is also a problem for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, sore nipples can be caused by infection, certain kinds of breast cancer and other conditions. Women who are pregnant may experience sore nipples because their changing bodies are producing more, which facilitates the growth of breasts and the eventual production of milk. Estrogen increases the amount of blood circulating through the body, and when combined with progesterone and other hormones, it can cause nipples to become sore, discolored and ultrasensitive. are also prone to nipple pain. As a newborn baby learns to latch onto his or her mother s breasts, the mother s nipples and areolar tissue stretch, causing tenderness of the nipples. Additionally, some women experience chaffing, bleeding or cracked nipples when breastfeeding. Most of these issues result from incorrect positioning of the baby on the breast and can be helped by speaking with a lactation consultant or other expert about how to correctly position a baby while nursing.


For those who are not nursing or pregnant (as well as for those who are), nipple pain may also be a sign of infection. Most breast infections also known as mastitis are caused by bacteria that enter the skin through a break or crack in the nipple tissue. Once infected, the tissue of the breast and nipple can become itchy and painful to the touch. Medical treatment may be necessary if the nipple or breast becomes noticeably swollen or red, or feels abnormally warm. Nipple pain can also be caused by certain skin conditions, such as or dermatitis. These conditions can result in itchy, flaky skin that may be painful if left untreated. Fibromyalgia, a disorder that causes muscles and tissues to become tender or sore, can also result in nipple pain. In some cases, soreness of the nipples may be caused by a rare type of breast cancer known as Paget s disease. This cancer, which can affect both men and women, involves the skin of the nipple and, in some cases, the areola. The early symptoms of Paget s disease are similar to those of benign skin conditions and include itchy, flaky or red skin on the nipple or areola. The nipple itself may become flattened or produce a yellow or bloody discharge. Follow Elizabeth Palermo on Twitter @, or. Follow Live Science. We re also on.

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