Man belongs to the higher mammals, and he has mammary glands and nipples, through which newborns can receive mother’s milk. Although today, not all mothers choose natural feeding for their children. And men do not breastfeed at all, and they still have nipples available. And even breast cancer happens, unfortunately.

Every person has a pair of nipples. Some have more: sometimes babies are born with extra nipples.

For most people, the nipples are highly sensitive, it is not for nothing that the caresses of this zone can cause strong sexual arousal or sheer pleasure.

But sometimes they get sick.

MedAboutMe will talk about 7 causes of sore nipples: where does it come from and what to do about it.

Pain in the nipples: where does it come from?

Pain in the nipples: where does it come from?

The easiest option is an uncomfortable, tight bra, made of poor quality material, with rough seams. It also happens that the pain appears as a result of a bruise. Despite the fact that most women try to protect their breasts from injuries, they sometimes happen completely unexpectedly.

Pain in the nipples sometimes appears on certain days of the cycle: before the onset of menstruation or in the first days of a new cycle. In young girls, nipple soreness is a frequent occurrence, and it indicates the maturation processes taking place in the body.

But there are other reasons as well.


This is one of the most common causes of sore nipples. There is friction during movement — during training, running, during sports games. If the breasts are not well protected by a special, comfortable bra that holds them well, the movement can cause constant rubbing of the nipples against the inside of the clothing.

Rubbing causes discomfort, itching, burning, and sometimes acute pain. Subsequently, the delicate skin on the nipples may crack.


The cause of an allergic reaction can be washing powder or conditioner used to soften clothes during washing, as well as soap and shower gel. Allergies can be caused by food or drugs, and in all these cases, redness, irritation and a rash that extends to the areola is likely to appear on the skin of the chest.

Infection: thrush, mastitis, and others

Infection: thrush, mastitis, and others

If your nipples develop dry, flaky skin or cracks as a result of allergies or friction, they can become infected. Even more at risk are those who persist in breastfeeding despite sore breasts.

So you can get thrush, which causes severe pain in the nipples and is easily transmitted to the child.

Mastitis is likely to develop during pregnancy and lactation. Milk, which is secreted through the milk ducts, is an excellent environment for the vital activity of bacteria. Infection in the milk duct can provoke the onset of inflammation, which quickly causes redness of the affected breast, its swelling, pain in the nipple and in the mammary gland as a whole.

If mastitis treatment is not started on time, an abscess may begin. This dangerous condition is accompanied by a local increase in temperature, fever, redness of the affected chest and its swelling.

Too active intimate life

In a fit of passion, partners can inflict painful bites on each other or use too energetic caresses, which cause pain. Sometimes the chest can be rubbed against the bedding if its movement becomes excessively amplitude, and the surface of the sheet or pillow is not smooth enough.

Coition is a good thing, but the breast should be protected. Hard contact is best reserved for other places or abandoned altogether.

Hormones run the show

The state of the female body largely depends on the balance of hormones. Pain in the nipples can be caused by both a change in the hormonal background due to the approach of menstrual bleeding, and the onset of pregnancy. May be accompanied by swelling of the breast and an increase in its size, an increase and darkening of the areola and nipples.


It can be both benign tumors and cancer. Some forms of breast cancer do not cause pain, but it can happen otherwise. Often, pain occurs in only one breast.

In particular, this happens in the case of Paget’s disease, which affects the mammary gland along with the nipple. It can change shape — become flat or even be drawn in in the form of a funnel inside.

In this case, itching, tingling, discharge (with an admixture of blood or simply yellowish) may appear. The skin around the nipple may become dry and flaky.

This form of cancer is not very common, but alertness and attention to the condition of the breast is an important condition for the early diagnosis of a dangerous disease.

Even if there is cause for alarm, do not panic: breast cancer is successfully cured, especially when detected early. The main thing is not to delay the visit to the doctor.

Pain in the nipples during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pain in the nipples during pregnancy and breastfeeding

When a woman prepares to become a mother, a serious restructuring takes place in her body. The breast, preparing for feeding the baby, increases in size, preparation for lactation begins in it. In this case, the nipples may become darker and larger, as well as acquire increased sensitivity and soreness.

Breastfeeding can be even more difficult. This is due to insufficient or incorrect preparation of the nipples for feeding, as well as improper feeding technique. Improper use of a breast pump can also lead to nipple injury and pain.

In this case, a breastfeeding mother should seek the help of a lactation consultant in order to form the correct feeding habits for the child.

And when the baby’s first teeth appear, feeding can even turn into torture if the child is «biting».

Lactational dysphoria is a condition when the level of endorphin drops sharply with a rush of milk and an increase in prolactin. It is accompanied by a sudden change in mood, irritation when the baby is applied to the breast, sometimes a sharp stabbing pain in the mammary gland and nipple area.

Most often, it disappears when lactation is established or at the end of breastfeeding.

When should you see a doctor?

If the pain is not caused by rubbing against clothes and does not go away within 2-3 days, you should visit a doctor. If soreness appears only on certain days of the cycle, this is also a reason to consult a specialist. You may need hormonal correction, which will eliminate unpleasant symptoms.

The appearance of pain in the mammary gland, its swelling, a local increase in temperature, new discharge from the nipple — all these are reasons to consult a doctor immediately.

Expert comment

Brian Levin, specialist in reproductive endocrinology, obstetrics and gynecology

Nipple pain can occur in both men and women and can affect both the nipple itself and the areola, the rounded area of ​​pigmented skin around it.

Most often, the causes of pain do not pose a threat to health. In women, breastfeeding is often the cause of pain. In men — chafing with clothes during sports activities, in particular — running. This problem is even called «runner’s nipple». The third reason often cited by patients is the trauma received during violent intercourse.

To determine why your nipples suddenly began to hurt, try to remember what you were doing before the pain appeared. In many cases, the reason will become clear.

If it is not possible to identify it, and the pain does not go away or intensifies, it is necessary to conduct an examination. This is important because the sooner a problem is identified, the easier it can be to deal with.

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