Nipples are sensitive to touch as they have numerous nerve endings. They may itch if they are dry and cause discomfort. Various causes of dry nipples can be related to your symptoms.
What are Nipple Problems?
The environment contains irritants that can cause nipple problems. It is recommended to consult a doctor when discharge is noticed from the nipples as it may be a sign of an underlying problem. However, not all problems indicate breast cancer, they should be treated if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Any discharge that is clear, milky, yellow, green, or bloody is a cause of concern. Other types of nipple problems are related to irritation, soreness, cracking, swelling, bleeding, and shape change.
What are the Symptoms of Nipple Problems?
There are different symptoms for each problem but you should see a doctor as soon as you see pus, discharge, or feel discomfort. The shape of the nipple may also change in case of some problem. Although both men and women can face such problems, women are more likely to have nipple problems because of the fluctuations in hormones during each monthly cycle. Any discomfort that is bothering you should be discussed with your doctor so that a suitable treatment can be started as soon as possible.
What are the Causes of Nipple Problems?
Various conditions can lead to discomfort in the nipples which you should be aware of. Pregnancy is the most common condition when women face changes in the nipples as the milk ducts are getting prepared for breastfeed. Hypothyroidism is another health disorder which can cause nipple problems. Moreover, infection, pituitary gland tumor, or an injury in the breast tissue can create problems too.
Some other causes include rubbing of the nipples during sexual activity or running which causes friction leading to dry, irritated and sore nipples. Discharge can also come in case of severe pressure on the chest. Sometimes new born babies get discharge from the nipples which is because they absorb the hormones of their mother. This is usually not of any concern as it soon goes away.
How are Nipple Problems Diagnosed?
A doctor may diagnose your condition after examining you and your symptoms. Any medication or diet change should be taken into consideration as this may be a cause for the problem. The possibility of being pregnant is also a big factor to cause sudden changes in the body. The doctor should also be notified about any recent physical activity that has been carried out. Furthermore, the following tests are performed to rule out factors causing nipple discomfort.
This test is performed if their is discharge from the nipples. A doctor will insert dye into the milk ducts of breast and see how many ducts are involved in bringing fluid. An X-ray is performed to see the function of ducts.
A mammogram is an image of the breast tissues to record the function of ducts. This exam is performed to see if there is any growth of tissues inside the breast that may be the cause of problem.
Paget’s disease is a rare breast cancer which is diagnosed by a test called skin biopsy. This test involves removal of tiny breast tissue to examine for tumors.
Other tests can be performed in case no reasons for the problems are known including an MRI Scan, CT Scan, Thyroid hormone test, and prolactin hormone test.
How to Prevent Nipple Problems?
Nipple problems can be prevented by wearing properly fitting clothes particularly during exercise. Also, you may use products to prevent chafing. Applying them before exercising can prevent rubbing and friction on the cheat area. Doctors should also be notified of any medicine you are taking so they may consider giving you an alternative.