Itchy Nipples Causes in Women, Men, Relief Remedies

Itchy nipples can be an embarrassing problem. Both men and women can get itching breast and nipple area. Some women experience itching when breastfeeding, during pregnancy, PMS or menstrual period. Here are the causes, treatment and home remedies to relieve itching nipples in men and women.

The itching can be can be as a result of simple skin irritation to a more serious condition such as breast cancer. Others will include Paget disease and mastitis (an inflammation of the mammary gland). Atopic dermatitis also called eczema is a common cause of the itching and irritation.

Itchy nipples
Itching around the breast area can mean an infection, pregnancy, or just a normal irritation.

Contact dermatitis, (a common red rash caused by substance that comes in contact with the skin). Finally the itching in women can be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause.

Itchy nipples meaning

What does it mean when your nipples are itchy? Apart from the physical cause of itching and pain, itching on nipples can be a clear sign of an infection or an underlying medical condition. As side, the condition is common among both females and males. The cause of the itching can range from skin irritation to other serious condition such as cancer. Born inflammation can also cause pain and itching.

See a doctor for proper diagnosis. This will facilitate treatment and medication to get rid of the itching. Itching accompanied by dry skin and rash is commonly caused by atopic dermatitis also known as eczema.

  • The itching and rash can be worsen by perfumes, soaps and wool fibers.
  • The itching could also mean you have a breast tissue infection known as mastitis. This is a common condition in new mother who are still breast-feeding.

An itching breast can also mean you have breast cancer. This is caused by a malignant tumor that grows into surrounding tissues of the breast to distanced tissue of the body. The condition is common in women, but it can also affect some males. For diagnosis, the symptoms will include the following:

  • Swelling breasts
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk.
  • The nipple  will start to retract and turn inwards
  • The pain will become painful and itchy
  • The nipple becomes red, scaly or thickening.
  • The nipple will become dimpling or irritated.

Should you notice any of the symptoms, you need to have your doctor diagnose you. Treating cancer at its early stages increase the probability of effective treatment and reducing the damage should the cancer spread to other part of the body.

The other possible cause of an itching breast can be as a result of Paget disease. Paget disease is a chronic born disorder causing enlargement. Due to excessive formation of born tissues, the condition can also cause deformation of the born. This will cause the born to weaken and result in pain. These condition can thus result into arthritis, deformities or bone fractures.

Itchy breast and nipple should not be a cause of worry especially to female. Due to it sensitive nature, an itchy nipple can be a sign of pregnancy and approaching periods- mensuration cycle for adolescent girls. Apart from hormonal changes, nipples respond to very minor environmental changes. A change in shower gel or laundry soap can causing the itching in some people. If the nipple does not stop itching within the cause of the cycle, seek medical attention.

Causes of itchy nipples in men and women

Why are my nipples itchy? Itchy nipples can be caused by any of the following, ranging from simple dermatitis to serious conditions such as breast cancer. Immediate medical attention is required in case of the following infection. The condition is embarrassing but it can affect very many people during their life time.

1. Yeast infection or thrush

Thrush infection is one of the most common cause of severe pain and itching in nursing mothers nipples.  Even though everybody can get a yeast infection, people with weak immune system are at the highest risk of severe cases of yeast infection. This include those with recent organ transplants, cancer patient or those with HIV/AIDS. Pregnancy I also a factor in yeast infection.

Most of as live with the candida fungus. The fungus will not show any symptom because other normal skin cells and gut organisms exist harmoniously. They help keep each other in a balance. Once the microorganism are allowed to outgrow the balance, then you are likely to experience the symptoms of thrush.

The following are the common signs of a yeast infection:

  • The nipple and the breast become very painful
  • Itching and irritation
  • Yeast bumps and pimples on nipples
  • The nipple may discolor (turn reddish)
  • The nipple becomes more erect than normal
  • White dots may be seen on the nipple
  • Recurrent breast infection skin rash with tiny fluid filled blisters
  • Burning sensation

For mild cases of yeast infection your doctor will prescribe an antifungal cream. This can be in form of ointment, oral pills or injectable. Home remedies such aloe Vera, baking soda and oatmeal can be used to relieve the skin of the itching.

2. Breast cancer

Itching can be a sign of a rare type of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer. With this kind of cancer, the skin covering the tumor becomes red, inflamed, painful and itchy. When the cause of the itching is indeed breast cancer, the symptoms will include the following:

Itchy nipples cancer signs
Signs of breast cancer to look out for.
  • A lump or mass in the breast
  • Nipple discharge including blood
  • Redness around the breast
  • Swelling of part of breast.
  • Inverted nipple
  • Breast pain and sore nipple
  • Swollen lymph nodes around  neck and armpits for  some people

Breast cancer is cancer is the common type of cancer especially for women. This is according to the America Cancer Society. The statistic are so huge that one in eight women in the United States alone can develop the cancer at any given time in their lifetime. The cause of the cancer is not yet known, however there are a number of risk factor for the condition.

It is important to know that breast cancer does not always show symptoms. Some women may have cancer that are so small they do not produce masses that can be seen or other recognizable changes in the breast. When symptoms do occur a lump in the breast is the most common change.

According to the cancer society, once diagnosed with breast cancer, there are different treatment option for get rid of the cancerous cell. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, the treatment option will include surgery, radiation therapy where ultra violet rays are used to destroy the cancerous cells and chemotherapy which uses strong chemical drugs. Also available is hormone and targeted therapy.

3. Early sign of pregnancy (sore breasts and areolas)

Itchy nipples and sore breasts is part of the early signs of pregnancy. The other one is missed periods. For most women, pregnancy will increase the likelihood for itching breast and nipples. What happens when a woman is pregnant is that, the breast enlarges, the stretching skin can lead to the itching and flaking skin.

Like other part of the body, your areolas will start to darken and undergo some sort of hyper pigmentation. As your breast are consistently changing throughout the pregnancy. The darkening of the skin around the nipple is a normal part of being pregnant as you prepare for childbirth.

The common cause of breast itching and nipple tenderness during pregnancy are the following:

  • Hormonal changes in prior or during menstruation
  • Formation of milk producing cells and milk duct
  • Accumulation of fat in breast
  • Tight fitting bras and other clothes
  • Scratching the breast
  • Too much use of perfumes and skin ointments
  • Other skin disorder such as dermatitis and Paget disease.

This is a natural body process, they is nothing you can do to avoid it, to relieve the itching you can do the following:

  • Use comfortable supportive bras
  • Avoid scratching the breast too much
  • Use cold shower, you need to try avoiding hot water that can aggravate the itching
  • Natural remedies like aloe Vera gel can be a strong anti—itching agent
  • Ice patting is the other great way to reduce the itching and pain
  • Avoid sunlight as sun burn can worsen the condition.

To confirm that the itching is indeed a sign of pregnancy, look out for other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion, boating and constipation.

4. Period/PMS and itchy nipples

Is it normal to have your breast and nipples itchy during or before period? Most adult and adolescent girls have reported this kind of pain when they are about to have their menstrual cycle. Premenstrual syndrome is a group of symptoms linked to the menstruation cycle. PMS symptoms occurs 1 to 2 weeks before your period start. The symptoms will clear up on their own after you stat bleeding.

Having your nipple itch is thus common. But take note, having the nipple itchy even after the menstruation is not normal. You need to have a doctor examine you to know what the problems is. Lotion, moisturizing creams and petroleum jelly can be used to relieve the itching especially if the primary cause is dry skin on nipples.

5. Eczema on nipples

Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a common cause of itchy breast area and nipples. The cause is unknown but the condition has been known to cause itching and dry skin. It is an inflammation of the skin accompanied with an itchy rash.

Skin emollients are the most common treatment option for eczema. They help stop dryness and keep the skin soft and oily. Topical corticosteroid can also be used to reduce the itching, swelling and inflammation. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persists.

6. Itchy breast during menopause

Hormonal imbalance during menopause is also a common reason for itching nipples and breast.  Hormonal fluctuation occurs naturally, it is a common cycle in puberty, menopause and premenopausal. Toxin and poor lifestyle can also result in this kind of imbalance.

Seek medical attention if the pain becomes unbearable.

7. Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland in the breast or udder. The cause of the inflammation is bacterial infection via a damaged nipple.

Oral antibiotics to destroy the bacteria causing the infection. Topical anti-fungal and anti-itching creams can be used relieve the itching.

Other causes

Other cause of the itching will include dryness in winter, bacterial infection from nipple piecing and contact dermatitis caused by substance that comes into contact with your skin.

Itchy nipples when breastfeeding

A very big number of women feed their infants through breast feeding. This is because the milk is perfectly designed for the baby, it protects the baby from infections and disease and the fact that it is through this process that the mother is able to build a strong emotional bond between her and the baby. Research has also showed that breast feeding is also beneficially to the mother. It is able to reduce the chances of breast and ovarian cancer.

What happens then when you cannot breastfeed you kid due to pain and itching in your breast? The common cause of itching during breast feeding is yeast infection. For a breastfeeding mother, the chances of getting a yeast infection on the nipple increases when the baby has mouth thrust. Common signs of the infection will include the following:

  • Itchy and burning nipples
  • The nipples will become flaky
  • You may feel pain during breastfeeding

The nipple maybe sore to touch depending on how sever the itching is. A bra, nightgown or dress that rubs the nipple may worsen the itching. Some women will have mild pain whereas others will experience a sharp, shouting pain. To diagnose a yeast infection on nipple, check the kid for white coating in mouth and tongue. You can also look for white raised bumps inside mouth.

A thrush infection is caused by a fungus, candida fungus. The infection can attack anyone but it is common in children and the elderly. Those with weak immune systems are at the highest risk of this kind of infection. It is the immune system that control the growth of the microorganism, failure to which there will be an overgrowth causing the yeast infection.

Diabetes, cancer and antibiotics are some of the triggers of the microorganism overgrowth. They cause the overgrowth by destroying the normal balance of the microorganisms in the body. A mother with vaginal yeast infection can pass the infection to the baby during delivery, also if the mother takes antibiotic after delivery, it possible for her to experience a yeast infection.

Though a yeast infection causing itchy nipple is normal, common and harmless, you need to seek medical attention to avoid passing the infection to the kid or back and forth. For mild cases of the infection, your pediatrician may prescribe anti-fungal medication. To reduce the breast pain and inflammation, pain medication may also be prescribed.

Treatment and home remedies for itchy nipples

An itching nipple is harmless and not life threatening. For mild case of itching, the skin can be relieved at home. However if the pain, itching and inflammation becomes unbearable, you can have a professional health care provider look at the breast. For itching caused by irritants such as atopic dermatitis ad contact dermatitis, reducing the irritation can be helpful in reducing the itching.

Treatment for itchy nipples.

A doctor may prescribe the following to relieve the breast of the itching swelling and inflammation: topical ointments such as anti-itching and anti—inflammatory creams and gels, skin emollients to keep the skin soft and moist, anti-fungal and anti—bacterial pills or creams.

Home remedies for itching nipples:

Apart from the medicines used to treat the itching, mild case of the condition can be treated at home using the following remedies.

Coconut oil 

One of the best remedies used to treat skin itching and dryness is coconut oil. It contain same unique acids that are easily absorbed to moisturize the skin. Coconut oil is both an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agent. It can thus be used for both the itching and the inflammatory. A fresh coconut oil is also rich in lauric acid good for getting rid of itching and painful bumps on skin. This makes coconut oil not only a good treatment option but also a great skin soothing agent.

To use the remedy;

  1. Squeeze some coconut oil in a cup.
  2. To make an even better remedy, mix with equal quantity of raw organic honey
  3. Apply the mixture on the nipple and around the affected parts of the breast
  4. Leave the paste for 10minutes before rinsing it off with cold water
  5. You can do this repeatedly twice or thrice inn a day for optimal result

Baking soda

Baking soda is a natural substance that is crystalline but often appears as fine powder. Baking soda is an alkaline that contain antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It is very effective when used in short periods. When used for long it can damage your skin.

To use baking as a remedy,

  1. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda powder with water.
  2. Gently mix to make a paste
  3. Apply the paste on the affected are of the breast around the nipple
  4. Leave if for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water
  5. Repeat this twice in a day for a week for optimal result

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another natural anti-inflammatory and skin cleansing agent. It is thus a good remedy for healing most of the skin complication faster and effectively.

When using apple cider vinegar;

  1. Use a cotton ball to apply the raw cider vinegar on the affected area of the breast.
  2. You can also use a clean piece of cloth or a face towel to apply the vinegar
  3. Repeat the process twice every day to make the remedy even more effective.

Colloidal Oatmeal wash

To prevent your skin from being dry and always make sure it is moisturized and oily, you need to wash you body and especially the breast area with oatmeal water. Oatmeal is one of the best natural skin moisturizer.

To use oatmeal, do the following;

  • Add a handful of oatmeal powder in a lukewarm water
  • Use the water to bath with
  • For better result you can bath with that mixture twice for a week

Ice compress

To soothe the breast of the itching and pain, you can also use a cold compress. Place an ice pack in a face towel then hold it next to the itchy skin. Do this for sometime until the nipple stops itching. Cold water can also be used in the same way.

Lemon

Fresh lemon contains a citric acid a weak organic acid. This acid is very good when used to relieve the itching caused by skin irritation. Slice a fresh lemon fruit in half. Using one half to rub the affected area of the breast.

References
  1. Itchy nipples: http://www.healthline.com/symptom/nipple-itching
  2. Itchy nipples during pregnancy: http://blogs.webmd.com/womens-health/2012/02/nipple-itching.html
  3. Itchy breast- breast feeding: http://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/itchy-nipples-while-breastfeeding
  4. Cancer and itchy breast: http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/78/67127/nipple-issues/
  5. Getting rid of itchy breast: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/how-to/get-rid-itchy-skin.html
  6. Cancer symptoms and treatment: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-treating-general-info

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