Why are my nipples itchy? Is it normal hormonal changes during my periods or do I have a serious life-threatening condition like breast cancer?
If you have never had it, an itchy nipple is an annoying problem that no one wants to have. It can happen for a short duration of a few hours or longer periods (days to months). In terms of intensity, itt can be mild or severe depending on the primary causes.
Get more insight into the causes, symptoms, treatments and home remedies to get rid of itchy nipples in both men and women.
Usually, nipple itch is a symptom of allergies or physical inflammation leading to tingling, annoying or uneasy sensation on the surface of nipple skin.
It can be triggered by specific factors affecting only the nipple area or other general factors like inflammatory breast cancer or eczema that leads general breast itch. Treatcurefast.com explains further that, “The cause of the itching can range from skin irritation to other serious condition such as cancer”
Itchy nipples are usually less serious but they can accompany some life-threatening symptoms such respiratory problems, losing consciousness, sudden swelling of the face, tongue or tongue and wheezing among other more severe symptoms. Such symptoms need immediate medical attention.
Let us now go through the causes before we look at remedies that can help.
What causes itchy nipples?
What causes itchy breast or nipples? Before we see causes, you need to know that is a condition that affects both males and females and has several causative factors. We will cover some of the most common causes in general (when you have an itchy nipple then you are likely to have itchy areola and breast. They go together). Here are the best causes:
Breast cancer is the most dangerous causes of itchy breast you can ever imagine of. They are very rare but when present can lead to very severe symptoms. It can occur alongside sore itchy breast.
Paget`s Disease (PD) is the most common types of cancer that are known to cause breast and itchy areola but it occurs in rare cases. According to Webmd.com, “PD is a rare form of breast cancer that can involve both the nipple and the areola… While it’s the least common cause of nipple symptoms, it is the most worrisome”
PD shows up as a red rash on the nipples or the areola part of the breast accompanied by itching or a burning sensation on the affected area. It usually has symptoms similar to those of eczema and this is why it is recommended that the condition is diagnosed by a medical professional to avoid confusion between the two.
This condition normally involves only one nipple and is most prevalent in women aged between 50 and 60. Another type of cancer that can also cause itchy nipples is Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It has also may have mild to severe symptoms.
There are a number of treatments for breast cancer
Eczema otherwise known as atopic dermatitis is a common condition that triggers itchy breast skin and nipples. Though the primary cause of eczema is not known, we are good to say that it is a condition accompanied by inflamed skin with an itchy rash (or oozing small blisters)
Some of the factors that can aggravate eczema are prolonged contact with water, dry skin, allergens, body cosmetics, and stress. It can also be influenced by genetics. We are going to discuss the best and effective treatments for eczema later in this article.
Yeast infection or thrush infection is among the major causes serious itching and painful nipples among breastfeeding mothers. This condition can affect anybody but the more vulnerable group is the group with lower or weak immune system. So falling in the group are the pregnant women, HIV/AIDs patients as well as cancer patients.
Individuals with a yeast infection will develop the following symptoms:
- Itching or burning sensation
- Pimples like bumps on nipples or yeast bumps
- White dots may appear on the nipples
- Chronic breast infections with fluid-filled skin rash
Apart from the above d causes of itchy breast and nipples, here are more reasons for itchy breast:
- Side effects of certain medications
- Allergic reactions to some foods, insect bites, certain medications and some body care products
- Dry skin
- Contact dermatitis
- Joggers nipples, conditions developing when the nipples rub against the cloth during physical activities
Itchy breast during pregnancy
Itchy nipples and even sore breast can form part of the early signs of pregnancy among many women. So our concern is what happens during pregnancy that leads to them being sore breast also?
Well, during this period, factors such as hormonal changes, the formation of milk-producing cells and milk duct and accumulation of the fats can make the breast to enlarge. This will make the breast skin to stretch resulting to itching in the nipples, areola or itchy boobs during pregnancy. When this condition is combined with tight bras and breast scratching, there may be the development of a sore itchy breast.
Medical professionals outline that, it is very usual to experience itchy nipples and breast before or after periods. Groups of symptoms linked to menstrual circle (premenstrual syndrome) will show up 1-2 weeks before a woman’s period starts. It believed that such symptoms normally disappear on their own as the bleeding begins.
Therefore, we must make it clear that having this problem before your period begins is perfectly usual but if the condition extends after menstrual then you have to visit your doctor sooner since it abnormal.
Itchy nipples and breast can also be initiated by hormonal imbalances during menopause. Such hormonal fluctuations occur naturally, therefore, may be very challenging to control. Such itchiness during menopause is always mild but see your doctor if they become unbearable
Itchy nipples after piercing nipples
After piercing your nipples, itching can be a symptom of the healing wound. However, you must raise concern about it after the wound had healed. This could be due to irritation caused by piercing jewelry since your skin may be very sensitive to such objects. So before you could pierce your nipples, consult with your tattooist to establish the right piercing instruments and jewelry for you.
Mastitis is known to be condition leading to an inflammation in the breast tissue due to bacterial infections. It is a common condition among many breastfeeding women. It occurs when the nipples are damaged making a good habitat for the bacteria. This condition can give severe symptoms if not treated
Does breastfeeding cause itchiness?
It can be very serious not to breastfeed your kid due to a sore and itchy breast. Doctors advise that breast milk is a fundamental food for the kids since it helps to combat many infections that may attack the young ones.
Itchy nipples and breast are prevalent phenomena among breastfeeding mothers. Remember breastfeeding is a therapy of its own-it helps to limit the possibilities of developing ovarian and breast cancer.
The common causes of itchy breast and nipples is the yeast infection during this period. This is majorly influenced by the fact that your kid is having mouth thrush. Yeast infections can also be enhanced by conditions such cancer, diabetes as well as antibiotic medications. Some of these infections can as well be passed from a mother to child during delivery.
Checking on mouth thrush symptom in your kid can also help you determine your breast yeast infections. Below are the symptoms to look at on your baby:
- White coating on the mouth and tongue of your kid
- White raised bumps in kid`s mouth
Breast yeast infection is usually mild but make sure you visit your doctor when the condition is unbearable. There are also perfect therapies, which we are yet to discuss in this article.
Symptoms in males and females
This condition may occur alongside other symptoms, which will vary depending on the causes. Symptoms that affect the breast or nipples may also involve other body organs. You should bear in mind is that; some of the symptoms may be specific to men or women. In this section, we are going to highlight on the summary of the itchy breast symptoms:
- Breast pain or burning sensation
- Soreness, warmth, and swelling
- Breast skin thickening
- Swelling, cracking and crusting
- Nipple discharges
- Discoloration of the breast skin
- Change in the size and shape of the breast
Nipple itch may also be related to other general body symptoms such as skin rash and blisters, bigger lymph nodes, peeling skin, runny nose, sneezing and more.
It can also occur alongside severe breast itching symptoms that can be very dreadful. Below are some of the severe symptoms that must be responded to immediately:
- If it is occurring alongside sudden swelling of the face, tongue, and lips
- If accompanied by wheezing at the same time
- If you have nipple itch alongside losing consciousness or you become unresponsive
- If you have this problem as well as respiratory or breathing problems
How to treat itchy nipples or breast?
Proper and effective itchy breast treatment will solely depend on proper diagnosis since treatments will depend on the underlying causes. It will also depend on the seriousness of the itchy condition at hand. Here are some of the commonly used medications:
Both oral and topical antibiotics may be appropriate for itchy breasts due to bacterial infections. They can be in forms of gel, creams or lotions. Most of the oral antibiotics are available by doctors` prescription. Don’t forget that antibiotic may have side effects.
Antifungal treatments are used to treat itchy breast due to fungal infection. They can be in the forms of creams or otherwise. They are known to provide itch relief. This medication can effectively manage yeast infections.
Surgery may be required in severe conditions especially when one has itchy nipples due to breast cancer.
Your doctor may recommend more treatments depending on your symptoms. Medications such as antihistamine for allergies can also be used.
Here are the top-rated home remedies that are effective for treating itchy breast or nipples:
A) Baking Soda
This product has some antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great weapon to fight general body itchiness. It should not be used for long time since it can damage your skin especially if you have a sensitive skin. To apply baking soda,
- Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with water
- Stir it to make a complete paste
- Apply the paste on the affected breast more so the affected nipples and leave it there for around 20 minutes before washing it off with water.
- The process should be repeated twice in a day
B) Coconut oil and raw honey
This is another wonderful remedy for the itchy and dry skin. It has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agents that are good for inflammatory and itching. In addition, it also has amazing acids that can moisturize the skin. These characteristic qualifies coconut oil to be among the top three best home remedies. Here is how to apply this remedy:
- Prepare a coconut oil by squeezing it into a cup
- Mix it with an equal amount of raw organic honey
- Apply the paste on the affected nipples and parts of your sore breast
- Leave the paste to stay there for 20 minutes and then wash it away using water
- Repeat the same procedure twice a day
C) Apple Vinegar Cider
This is another perfect anti-inflammatory and cleansing agent suitable for several skin disorders. This is why we find it worth in treating this condition.
To apply this remedy, use a cotton ball or clean face towel to apply the apple acid vinegar on the affected area of the breast. Repeat the procedure two times in a day to get desired results
D) Cold Compress
Applying ice packs or cold water can help to soothe breast pain and itching. Ice park is applied by placing it over a face towel the holding it on the itchy breast. You can wait until the itchy relieve and the remove the compress. If it persists then look for another alternative treatment.
E) Oatmeal Wash
Colloidal oatmeal wash can be used to moisturize dry skin and keep it oily. Actually, this is the best natural moisturizer. Follow the steps below to use this product:
- Add a handful oatmeal powder in a lukewarm water
- Take a bath using the water
- Bathe with such a mixture three times in a week
Other home product that can be used as well include lemon juice, aloe vera, egg white and many more. Besides the discussed treatments and home remedies, there are also some ways, which can be used to limit or prevent itchy breast. They include:
- Taking regular bath
- Refraining from scratching your breast
- Avoiding sunburn
- Avoiding tight bras or other undergarments especially when you are a sportsperson
- Using appropriate body care products recommended by your doctor
- Avoiding prolonged contact with water
- Trying to identify the product you are allergic to and avoid them or find the alternatives
Itchy nipples and breast are usually mild but can be severe if left untreated or if they are due to a serious cause. When the symptoms become unbearable or cannot respond to home remedies and OTC products, please make sure you book an immediate appointment with your medical professional.