Painful changes in the nipple


The nipple, known in medical jargon as the nipple, contains the duct of the mammary gland.
The nipple is covered by the areola (Areola), which contains numerous sebum and scent glands.
The nipple and areola stand out from the surrounding tissue due to their increased pigmentation.

A man's nipples, other than acting as an erogenous zone, have no significant role to play. In women too, nipples and areola are considered to be the erogenous zone. In addition, the female nipples are essential for breastfeeding a child.

Please also read our topic on this "Why do men have nipples?"

Sore nipples can occur in both women and men and can be caused by a variety of causes. Nipple pain is particularly common in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
But sore nipples can become more common during puberty or menopause.
Pressure on the nipple is primarily triggered by water retention in the mammary gland tissue, which causes nipple pain.


Sensitive and painful nipples can be caused by the monthly hormonal changes in a woman's cycle, for example.
The symptoms mainly occur shortly before the onset of menstruation.

In addition to the increased sensitivity of the nipples and the pain, lumps and hardening can also occur. These palpable changes should go away within a few days.
In addition, hormone therapy can also cause changes in a woman's hormonal balance at the beginning and thus cause a painful and swollen mammary gland and sensitive nipples.
Please also read our article on this Swelling of the chest.

Clothing that is too tight or made of irritating materials can damage the skin of both men and women and thus cause sore and painful nipples.
Particularly rough fabric, a bra that does not fit perfectly or a sweaty top that rubs against the skin can irritate the sensitive tissue.

In addition, a piercing in the nipple can cause nipple pain and inflammation of the nipple.
An allergic reaction to personal hygiene products or detergents can also cause irritated and sore skin and thus nipple pain.

A rare cause of sore nipples is fluid-filled cavities in the lobule of the breast (so-called cysts), which are not a malignant disease and do not increase the risk of breast cancer. If such a fluid-filled cavity ruptures, fluid can leak out of the nipple. The most common benign breast tumor, fibroadenoma, can also cause pain in the nipple.

Signs of a malignant disease of the mammary gland include palpable lumps, indentations or bulges in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple or even a contraction of the nipple. There may also be pain in the nipples.

You might also be interested in this topic: Burning on the nipple


For many sufferers, painful, itchy or fluid-secreting nipples make them fear that a serious or even malignant disease could be behind them.

However, this fear is inappropriate for most patients.
However, if the nipples cause intense pain that lasts for days, a doctor should always be consulted and his advice sought.

If the cause of the nipple pain is not immediately apparent, one is done Palpation examination the chest by the gynecologist. Also one X-ray examination the chest (Mammography) may be necessary in certain cases to clarify the cause.

Depending on what these examinations result, further examinations such as the removal of tissue can be added.


The therapy for nipple pain depends on the cause. Nipple pain without an obvious cause should be clarified by a doctor, in the best case by a gynecologist, before self-medication in order to prevent a serious illness from being overlooked and carried off.

For pain in the chest or nipple in the pregnancy should be a perfect match Nursing Bra be worn.
In breastfeeding women, the last drop of breast milk or the infant's saliva can provide relief from painful nipples. In addition, the active ingredient can also lanolin (Wool wax) or cooling compresses Get relief.

Otherwise, it is advisable to avoid tight-fitting bras / clothing and synthetic textiles for irritated nipples and to use only skin-friendly personal care products. A inflammation of mammary gland tissue, which is mostly caused by a bacterial infection, is removed with the help of Antibiotics treated.

Unilateral nipple pain

If the nipple pain only occurs on one side, it can be caused by a Inflammation of the mammary gland be conditional.
Inflammation of the mammary gland, also called mastitis refers in the majority of cases to the female mammary gland and only in rare cases to the male mammary gland.
It is usually caused by bacteria caused by small ones Cracks in the skin penetrate the tissue.

A distinction is made between breast inflammation in women breastfeeding mothers (Puerperal mastitis) from an inflammation of the mammary gland outside the Childbed (Non-puerperal mastitis), which occurs rarely.

In addition to the pain in the nipple area, which is usually unilateral, those affected also suffer fever, one Redness and overheat the affected breast and possibly also one swelling of the Lymph nodes in the armpit.
If inflammation of the mammary gland is suspected, a doctor, ideally a gynecologist, should be consulted immediately to clarify the cause and provide appropriate therapy.

Aching nipples in men

An enlargement of the male mammary gland can occur on one or both sides and is called in medical jargon Gynecomastia designated.

Partial is the enlargement of the male mammary gland by one Feeling of tension or accompanied by chest and / or nipple pain.

The enlargement of the mammary gland is to be regarded as natural, i.e. physiological, in certain phases of a man's life.
In addition, there are also pathological forms of breast enlargement in men.
There is always one in need of clarification unilateral swellingas a serious condition such as a tumor could be behind it.

Gynecomastia is very natural in adolescents. At this age, the enlargement usually disappears on its own after a certain time. Besides the puberty Natural gynecomastia can also occur in the second half of a man's life, around the age of 50.

Please also read our page Gynecomastia and How do you recognize breast cancer in men?

Sore ovulating nipples

There are several physical signs that can be indicative of one ovulation can represent.
The period of time in which ovulation takes place and thus the possibility for one to occur pregnancy consists, for example, by measuring the body temperature and / or observing the consistency of the Cervical mucus be determined.

Changes in the breast can sometimes be observed from the time of ovulation. These include, for example Breast tenderness or tender and sore nipples. These complaints can intensify during the second half of the cycle.

Please also read our page Chest pain when ovulating.

Nipple pain during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Nipple pain is common during pregnancy.

Nipple pain, a pulling in the breasts and a larger breast volume during pregnancy are common phenomena in pregnancy and are an indication of the full development of the mammary glands. The body is preparing for the upcoming breastfeeding of the child.

Please also read our page Breast pain in pregnancy.

Chest pain during breastfeeding can be due to various causes, which can originate from the woman or the baby. Even at the beginning of breastfeeding, however, severe pain is not common and should be clarified by the breastfeeding woman so that relief can be found quickly.

In the first few days after giving birth, some women may experience increased nipple tenderness, which is nothing to worry about. This increased sensitivity does not necessarily have to occur and should disappear after a few days to weeks.

A tingling sensation or a feeling of warmth at the beginning and during the further course of the breastfeeding meal are also considered normal.
These sensations are caused by the so-called milk ejection reflex and only signal that the breast milk is being released.

One of the main causes of sore nipples when breastfeeding is improper donning technique. Therefore, if you experience pain while breastfeeding, the first thing you should do is check the baby's position yourself or have it checked by a specialist.

Another cause of pain can be blocked milk. Pain caused by an incorrect sucking technique of the infant, special features in the child's oral cavity, a pronounced milk donor reflex, bacterial or mycotic (caused by fungi) Infections of the nipples.

Ultimately, constantly wet nipples, for example due to wet nursing pads, can lead to painful nipples.

Read more on this topic at: Problems in breastfeeding.

Menopausal chest pain

Often occur in the menopause in addition to the typical menopausal symptoms such as Hot flashes, Exhaustion / decline in performance, sleep disorders and Vaginal dryness chest discomfort.

Typically, the affected women complain of breast tenderness, an increased one Sensitivity to touch and stabbing or pulling chest pain.
Nipple pain can also occur in women going through menopause.

All of these symptoms, which are typical of menopause, are caused by hormonal imbalances. In addition, the structure of the mammary gland tissue also changes. It comes to decline the actual glandular tissue. This decline can in turn lead to the formation of fluid-filled cavities (cyst) favor. These cysts can also trigger chest pain or nipple pain.

The discontinuation of the birth control pills also ensures a hormonal change in the female body. As a result, in addition to a variety of other symptoms, sensitive and / or painful nipples can also occur.