You should not be ashamed to ask questions about your body. If you are in pain, then you should tell someone. It can be a doctor. It can be Google. Just don’t suffer in silence.
If you have been hurting lately and have been wondering to yourself why do my nipples hurt so badly, then here is your answer.
Friction can cause your nipples to hurt.
Nipples are one of the most sensitive areas of the body. If your shirt or your bra is the wrong size, made from a scratchy fabric, or fits too tightly against your skin, then it could cause your nipples to hurt — especially if you are wearing it during intense exercise.
If that is the case, then the area can become dry and chapped. You might also experience a stinging pain or a soreness that won’t seem to go away. However, that isn’t anything to worry about, because there are quick fixes.
You can prevent your nipples from stinging by wearing surgical tape across your nipples during exercise or wearing smoother synthetic fabrics. You should also make sure that you measure yourself to make sure you are not wearing outfits that are too small and confining for your body.
The other time friction can occur is during sex. If your partner is being too rough in the bedroom, then you can sit them down and have a conversation about your health. Otherwise, you can try massaging your breasts with a moisturizer, a nipple cream, olive oil, or coconut oil. It should reduce the pain in a matter of minutes.
Hormonal changes can cause your nipples to hurt.
Before your period starts, it is common to experience pain in your nipples. This happens because there is an increase in your estrogen and progesterone levels which brings more liquid into your breasts and causes them to feel swollen.
This pain should go away on its own after a few days (or could be helped along by over-the-counter pain killers). You should also limit your sodium intake because it will make you retain water, which could make your breasts feel even more tender.
If you are currently breastfeeding, then your breasts are going to swell and feel sore. Your nipples could even darken and get surrounded by small bumps. This is all completely natural.
However, the pain will be even worse if your baby latches onto your breast in the wrong way. If they do not take enough of your breast into their mouth, then your nipple will be up against their gum and hard palate — which can hurt.
If the baby hasn’t arrived yet and you are still pregnant, it is natural for your breasts to hurt as your body is going through such big changes but you can make yourself feel better by buying supportive bras. You could even invest in a ‘sleep bra’ to wear overnight to reduce your nipple pain.
There are also cooling packs that you can place against your chest to reduce the pain — or you could simply fill a towel with ice cubes and rest that against yourself.
An infection can cause your nipples to hurt.
If your nipples have already been cracked and chapped from friction or breastfeeding, there is a higher chance that they will become infected.
You could end up with a yeast infection. When this happens, your nipples will turn bright pink and the areola will become flaky.
If you are pregnant, you could also come down with mastitis, which is when the milk becomes trapped. This can lead to an abscess if you do not have it looked at by a doctor, but you can prevent it from happening by nursing your baby regularly and pumping your milk.
Of course, if your nipples are sore, it might only be from an allergic reaction. Try to think about whether you have recently used different soaps, lotions, or detergents that could have caused a reaction. If you are only slightly itchy and chapping (and it goes away quickly) then there is nothing to be worried about.
However, if nipple pain is not your only symptom and you are also suffering from chills, breast swelling, nipple redness, and warm breasts, then you should make sure you get yourself checked out.
Painful nipples are not always a sign that something is terribly wrong — but it can never hurt to be sure.