Nipple Soreness, Hypersensitivity, Burning, and Intense Itching: The Possible Causes

Nipple Soreness, Hypersensitivity, Burning, and Intense Itching

Learn the Possible Causes

Often nipple problems and infections occur when nursing.

What you may not know is that these same symptoms can occur in women during premenopausal or menopausal years.

The intense soreness, itching, and hypersensitivity in the nipple and areola may be ignored for months before being diagnosed. 

The problem with these symptoms is that they may be caused by breastfeeding andother disorders from mild to life-threatening. 

If you have been experiencing these nipple and breast symptoms, you need to read this article.

Find out the different causes of nipple soreness and pain.
Breastfeeding is not the only cause of breast soreness and pain.

Symptoms You May Experience

Nipple soreness and hypersensitivity; tingling; burning; nipple or areola redness; rash on areola or nipple;

swelling of the nipple and areola; nipple or areola itching only; discharge; crusting; severe itching; and pain.

The symptoms may just involve the nipple or the surrounding areola only.

In some cases, it may affect the whole breast area surrounding the nipple and areola or the whole breast.


Possible Causes for Nipple Itching, Sensitivity, and Pain

Allergy to Bra Material or Tightness:

One simple explanation is bras with lace and spandex that irritates skin tissue including the nipples.

Try changing to an all-cotton-no-lace bra that does not bind the breasts. 

If you are home, take your bra off for a few days to see if it improves the irritation and sensitivity.

Use a cup pad that is cotton inside of the lace bra. 

Hormonal Imbalances: 

Estrogen and progesterone hormones cause symptoms including nipple soreness, itching, and pain. 

Certain herbs that contain estrogen such as black and blue cohost could cause these issues. 

This is especially true if you are estrogen dominant.

Your doctor would need to confirm that by lab tests on your estrogen levels.

Often large breasted women are estrogen dominant.


Medications that could cause nipple tenderness: 

Prescription drugs including serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), diuretics, digitalis preparations,

or spironolactone (Aldactone)


Candidiasis: Candida Yeast Infections

Candida albicans fungal infections can occur in the mouth, intestines, vagina, and on nipples.

It is usually only a problem on the nipples when nursing but can occur in the nipple in older women.

If you are subject to Candida infections, this should be checked out.

Women who are large-breasted should make sure the area under their breasts is kept clean and dry.


Bacterial Infection (Mastitis): 

Infection present in the breast or nipple.

Most often a problem when nursing but can be present in older women.

The whole breast may be red, swollen, or sore.


Fibrocystic breast changes: 

Breast tissue develops fibrous tissue and cysts but is not cancerous.

Can cause symptoms including lumps, pain, itching, and nipple discharge.


Mammary Duct Ectasia: 

Usually occurs in pre-menopause.

It is basically Inflammation and blockage of the breast ducts under the nipple.

These ducts get infected which can cause a thick, greenish discharge from the nipple.


Intraductal Papilloma: 

Growths in the breast ducts that are not cancerous.

This causes a nipple discharge that may be bloody or sticky.

A bloody discharge should always be checked out by your physician.


Contact Dermatitis: 

Your bra material, stiffness, or fit may cause irritation to the nipples and surrounding breast tissue.

You should always take your bra off when sleeping.

Women with very heavy, large breasts may have more problems.


Soap Sensitivity and Allergy:

 Soap residue left in clothes may cause skin rashes on the breast areas and other places as well.

Harsh detergents can also be responsible for skin rashes.



A chronic skin condition that affects many areas of the body including the nipple and breast area.


Paget’s disease of the Nipple: 

A rare form of breast cancer that occurs in or around the nipple.

In more than 95% of the women with Paget’s, there is also underlying breast cancer.

Most often the underlying cancer is ductal carcinoma in situ (intraductal carcinoma).

Abnormal cancer cells adhere to the lining of the milk ducts of the breast.

If caught in the early stages, it is usually confined to the ducts.

If in the later stages, it spreads through the lymph nodes and surrounding breast tissues.

It usually occurs in women over 50 years of age.

It does occur occasionally in younger women and men as well.

It is most often diagnosed in women over 62 years of age.

Early symptoms include redness, mild scaling and flaking of the skin on the nipples, and mild irritation.

This stage may be ignored by most women and many doctors.

As the disease progresses, you may experience tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning, and pain.

There may be a clear or yellow discharge present.

The areola surrounding the nipple may become red, swollen, and intensely itchy.

Pagents may infect the areola only in some cases.

This may look like eczema but is not. It can occur in both breasts but often is present in just one of them.


Paget’s disease is diagnosed with a physical exam, then a biopsy to determine if Paget cells are present.

If a discharge is present, a sample will be turned in for examination.

A mammogram will also be taken because of the possibility of underlying breast cancer.

After reading articles on this disease, it was obvious the symptoms are ignored by both the patient and the doctor.

Mayo Clinic states that often 6 to 8 months go on before diagnosis.

When the symptoms are mild, doctors tend to dismiss them as just dermatitis or a contact allergy problem.

These symptoms may also get better or worse. It is advised to see a doctor if the condition persists over a month. 

If you have not had a breast exam recently, it would be wise to do so with those kinds of symptoms.


Natural Therapies that may soothe nipple pain and itching.

If you are not breastfeeding, try pure aloe get or silver gel on your nipples. 

Some women report relief using fish oil supplements and EPrimrose oil which contains omega-6 fatty acids.

Stop smoking.  Stop alcohol or reduce your drinks per day. Excessive alcohol disturbs hormone imbalance.

Avoid caffeine which stimulates excess estrogen.

Avoid anything but organic milk because non-organic milk contains traces of estrogen. 

Exercise helps to keep hormones and stress reactions under control.

Reduce stress overall which tends to imbalance all your hormones. 

Use meditation and other calming techniques to reduce stress.






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