11 Causes Of Itchy Nipples That You Should Know
Itchy boobs are really common. Experts have revealed some factors that can lead to itchy breasts, and how you will find relief.
One of the indisputable truths of having skin is that it will get itchy at some point. And that's usually no big deal—if you have an itch on your arm, you scratch it. Same goes for your leg. But when it comes to itchy nipples? You could scratch them, but you might get a weird glance or two in the process depending on your environment. At this point, you’re probably wondering: Why are my nipples itchy in the first place? While regularly scratching your breasts is probably nothing to worry about, it could be a sign that something is up. Here are some common reasons why you have itchy boobs, plus when you should discuss the issue with your doctor.
Some Common Reasons Why You May Have Itchy Nipples
You have eczema.
Eczema can cause a crusty rash on your nipples and the flat part around it, especially if you’ve had eczema before. Use a thick moisturizer with ceramides, a waxy ingredient that helps heal the skin. A topical steroid cream like hydrocortisone can help with swelling and itching. Your doctor can prescribe stronger prescription ointments. See them right away if you notice any oozing or tenderness, which could be a sign of infection.
You have psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a condition that causes skin cells to build up and form scales as well as dry, itchy patches. Unfortunately, much like eczema, it can show up on or under your boobs. You can also treat this itchiness with a topical steroid, as well as by avoiding fragrances, which can exacerbate psoriasis flare-ups.
You've had radiation therapy for breast cancer.
Treatment for breast cancer can lead to severe itching in the breasts and nipples, even long after it ends. Radiation kills skin cells and causes dryness, burning, and itching as the skin peels off. Massage the area with an ice cube, wear soft, loose-fitting clothes, and drink plenty of fluids. Oral antihistamines can help. Your doctor also can prescribe a corticosteroid to rub on the skin.
Weight gain, morning sickness, hormone swings, and ... itchy nipples? Yep, add that to the list of symptoms of pregnancy. Blame it on hormone changes and skin stretching as your breasts and nipples expand to get ready for a nursing baby. Cocoa butter, coconut oil, or a lanolin ointment rubbed on the nipples can help lessen the itch.
Milk residue, plugged milk ducts, and problems with your baby latching on during feedings all can make nipples itchy and sore. It’s important to keep the area clean and dry and to continue to pump or nurse. Lanolin ointment and silicone gel pads cooled in the refrigerator can help ease your discomfort.
You're allergic to that new lotion you're using.
Your new soap, lotion, or laundry detergent could be behind your itchy nipples. The chemicals in many cleansing products can cause a rash called contact dermatitis. It can show up as itchy red patches on your body. Switch to soaps and cleansers that are hypoallergenic, unscented, and free of dyes, and you’ll know if that’s the problem.
You have Paget's disease.
This rare form of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple and nearby area. It can look a lot like eczema, with crusted, scaly, and itchy skin. But it often affects just one nipple, and you may also see blood or yellow discharge. If the rash doesn’t respond to eczema treatments, you may need a biopsy of a tissue sample to be sure. Paget's disease usually is treated with surgery, followed by radiation.
Your nipples can chafe when they rub against clothing while you exercise or because your bra is too tight. It’s usually more painful than itchy, but some women say the friction can feel like itching or burning. Apply petroleum jelly to the area before workouts to protect it from irritation, and make sure your bra fits well.
If you’re breastfeeding, and if your nipples and surrounding area are not only itchy but shiny or flaky, and you feel sharp pain while nursing, see your doctor. Those are signs of thrush, a fungal infection. Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream to put on your nipples and breasts, as well as a mild antifungal medication you take by mouth.
This stage of your life can make your skin thinner, drier, and more easily irritated. Blame it on your hormones going up and down and on lower levels of estrogen. Your body makes less oil, so it’s harder for your skin to retain moisture. The itch can strike just about anywhere on the body, including the vagina and nipples. Fight the dryness by using mild cleansers, moisturizing often, and taking fewer hot showers.
Sometimes, a noncancerous tumor in the breast duct can cause an itchy, crusted nipple. You may feel a small lump or notice a clear or bloody discharge from the nipple. To make the diagnosis, your doctor will x-ray your breast duct or order an ultrasound, mammogram, or biopsy. The treatment is usually surgery.
Resource: Web MD