Nipple Problems: A simple guide to what’s normal, what’s not, and what you should do

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As you get older, your health becomes of the utmost importance. One thing all women should look at is the health of their breasts and nipples. While there are many common nipple problems that you will experience before, after, and during pregnancy, some nipple problems are more important to watch out for than others. From sore nipples to annual treatment, we will tell you exactly what you need to know and what to do about it.

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Symptoms

Today, we will talk about everything regarding nipple problems. We will take a look at some of the common causes of nipple problems. Not only that, but we will explore what you should do if you think you may be having breast or nipple problems. Read on to make sure that the health of your breasts and nipples is where it should be.

You don’t have to be pregnant to experience pregnancy-related sore breasts and nipple problems. Often, problems with your breast and nipples may come on suddenly and unexpectedly. There are some things to look out for if you think you may be having an issue with your breast or nipples. If you notice any of the following symptoms, then that as a red flag that there is something going on that should be checked out.

One of the most common symptoms of a nipple problem is an unexpected debut of discharge. Anytime you see unexplained discharge; then it’s best you see your doctor to get it checked out. Some discharge includes clear, milky, yellow, brown, and even green fluid. If you are not breastfeeding and you see discharge, this could be a sign of a deeper issue.

  • Other symptoms of a nipple problem include
  • Nipples that are cracked bleeding.
  • Nipples that are an unusual shape from your normal shape.
  • Irritation or itchiness that’s around your nipple or breast area.
  • Changes in your areola or breast including any dimples or hard spots that were not there before.

While the reason for your breast and nipple problem maybe wide and varied, there are some common causes of nipple problems that you may be able to rule out right away. Here are some of the most common breast and nipple problems if you are experiencing tender or pain.

Mastitis

If you are breastfeeding, then a common nipple problem that you may encounter is mastitis. Mastitis is when the milk duct in your breast becomes clogged. When this happens, milk cannot properly come out. A clogged milk duct can lead to an infection which can cause lots of pain. Symptoms of mastitis can include:

  • A red spotty area around the breast.
  • Pain or tenderness in the breast.
  • Chunky, and even bloody discharge.
  • A high and persistent fever

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Mammary Duct Ectasia

Another common breast and nipple problem that affects the milk ducts is a common condition called Ectasia. Ectasia is when the milk duct becomes wider. This achy condition can also cause a fair amount of pain and discomfort because it enables your milk ducts to become wider. Ectasia also leads to blocked milk ducts too. If gone untreated, a clogged milk duct can lead to infection inflammation or abscesses.

Galactorrhea

This next condition affecting the breast and nipple tissue is galactorrhea. Galactorrhea concerns unexpected milky discharge. If you are not breastfeeding and have not been doing so for quite some time, then you may be suffering from this, especially if you notice an unexpected surge in nipple discharge.

Surprisingly, galactorrhea is quite common. About 25% of the population is known to experience this condition at some point in their lives. This common nipple problem is brought on by increased production in the hormone, prolactin. Other reasons that are known to cause this nipple problem include a range of medications including,

  • The use of antipsychotics
  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Marijuana
  • The use of sleeping pills and sedatives
  • The use of high doses of estrogen such as those found in birth control pills

Although it may be frustrating and maybe even a little strange, galactorrhea is as harmful as it is pleasant. Talk to your doctor about dietary or medicinal changes you need to make if you think you may be suffering from this issue.

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Not Wearing The Right Clothing

Unsurprisingly, not wearing the right clothing is one of the biggest causes of breast and nipple problems. Not only that, but the main culprit of not wearing the right clothing is the fact that many women do not wear the right bra size. Because your breast is not one set size for the rest of your life, they will need constant attention as they grow and change throughout the different stages of your life. Through their growth and change, it is imperative that you support them properly. One way you can begin is by wearing the right size bra for your body. Be sure to get fitted for a bra by a trained professional the next time you are shopping for underwear.

Ill-fitting bras are not the only culprit to breast and nipple problems. Wearing the wrong clothing when you do start an activity, such as exercise, can be to blame, too. Clothing that is too tight fitting can create friction that may eventually lead to irritation. If you are already suffering from a breast and nipple issue, to begin with, then wearing tight clothing can exasperate your symptoms even further. For example, if you suffer from mastitis, then you should stay away from tight fitting clothing. Tight fitting clothing does not help proper circulation and could worsen your clogged milk duct.

Conduct A Self Evaluation

Another way to help prevent any possible nipple or breast problems is by regularly performing a self-evaluation on yourself. To properly perform a self-evaluation, you will need to follow these simple steps.

First, you will want to lay down flat and place a pillow under your right shoulder, your right arm, and right underneath your head. Once you have done this, you will use your left hand to perform a test on your right breast. Using just the tips of your fingers, move around your breast using gentle, small circular motions. While you do this, you will want to apply light yet firm pressure check to see if there are any unusual lumps or bumps that were not there before. Be sure to cover your whole breast area and just underneath your armpit.

Once you have checked the entirety of your of the tissue around your breast, move on to the nipple. Using your fingers, apply gentle but firm pressure to squeeze your nipple. Check to see if there is any unusual discharge that comes out. Take note of any discharge and be sure to talk to your doctor about what the reason for the discharge may be.

Annual Mammogram

Mammograms are another great preventative measure that you should begin considering once you get older. Mammograms are a simple test run by doctors that allow your breasts to be examined via x-ray. A mammogram is painless, very short, and can be a lifesaver for women of all walks of life. Once you start nearing your forties, you should begin considering getting annual mammograms. It is not until you turn 45 that you should begin getting mammograms as part of your annual physical. Staying up to date on the breast of your health via annual mammograms is one of the best ways to prevent any major breast or nipple problems.

Final Thoughts

The unfortunate thing is that all women are likely to encounter some form of breast or nipple discomfort at some point in their life. Unsurprisingly enough, the moments of your childbearing years are where you can expect to see the most issues. With simple home remedies such as cold and warm compresses, you can sooth some of the aches and pains that associated with breast or nipple problems. If you think you may be suffering from a breast or nipple problem, talk to your doctor today to be sure your breast health is where it should be.

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