Home > Nipple > Painful Nipple Causes, Cyst, Breastfeeding, Lump in Male, During Ovulation, Menopause and Pregnancy

Painful Nipple Causes, Cyst, Breastfeeding, Lump in Male, During Ovulation, Menopause and Pregnancy

Nipple is that small dark part of the skin which sticks out from the breast of a mammal and through which milk is supplied to the young or the offspring.  The region is said to be the most sensitive part of the breast since it can be both stimulated and irritated easily.

Painful nipple is that discomfort experienced when the around the nipple area  and  they occur due to mild physical surface abrasion from such activities as breastfeeding, engaging in physical without a bra, wearing a poorly fitted bra, or participating in any activity that produces friction on the skin of the breast.

The article provides some information about painful nipple at various states of life. Have a glance over it and I hope it will be useful.

Painful nipple causes

Many women do experience painful nipple at some point or another. Here are some of the causes of painful or sore nipple:


This form of frictional force results when one decide to do some physical exercise around the field or jogging around a certain area. For women painful nipple results if they jog without bras or wearing a tight bra may cause soreness by repeated friction between it and the fabric.

Nipples that hurt because of friction are characterized by soreness, dryness, and irritation and bleeding. Therefore, take precaution measures as you plan do to exercise.


As mentioned earlier that nipples are the most sensitive part of the breast, this characteristic makes it to be susceptible to reaction due to changes in the environment. They may react due to changes in stimuli such as cold or hot weather, soap or shower gel, body lotions and clothing fabric such as woolens.

Sexual activities

Nipple pain result due to vigorous rubbing during the activity resulting to soreness breast apart from the sore nipple. This condition due to the activity is usually temporal and it goes away on its own.  The pain in breast and areola pain if they tend to continue seek medical attention.

Hormonal imbalances

This is common in women especially during menstrual cycle where there are changes of hormones. Therefore, this nipple pain is triggered by the changes in levels of oestrogen and progesterone.

Tenderness in the breasts and nipples is most commonly felt prior to your period. This is usually normal and nothing to worry about. It is advisable to seek for medical attention if the pain the nipple spreads to the breast.

Paget’s disease of the nipple

This condition is said to be rare according to Mayo clinics, if it occurs, it causes soreness in the nipple. It is usually associated with the underlying breast cancer. The cause is unknown.

It is characterized by the redness, crusting, itching and tingling.


According to NHS, breast pain can be a side effect of some medicine such as contraceptives which causes imbalances in the hormones, antidepressants such as sertraline and antipsychotics such as haloperidol.

An abscess

They are cause by bacterial infection known as mastitis. They cause breast pain due to the collection of pimples filled pus appearance on the breast. Breast abscesses are painful, swollen lumps or causes hard nipples appearance.


This refers to condition where the breast tissue becomes inflamed and painful. It can be caused by a bacterial infection or breastfeeding.

However, in some cases painful nipple may be as a result of certain disorder such as:

  • Candidiasis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Galactocele (a benign cystic tumor in the breast)
  • Galactorrhea (spontaneous discharge of milk in a non-breastfeeding woman)

Painful nipple cyst

Cyst that usually occurs around the nipple of the breast is characterized by accumulation of fluid within the breast, often resulting in breast lump that you can feel.

Breast cysts are common in women before menopause and can even occur in postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy especially women at the age of 35 years and 40 years. Cysts are not cancers since there is no evidence that cysts cause cancer

Here are some the causes according to the research done by mayo clinics:

  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast abscesses

Painful nipple during breastfeeding

Painful nipple is most common during breastfeeding since your baby isn’t positioned and attached effectively at the breast.

As women and babies learn the skill of breastfeeding and become more confident, they often report that the pain gradually improves, this is according to the research done by Zoe Ralph, an infant feeding worker in Manchester and Fellow of the Institute of Health Visiting.

Having sore nipples when you’re trying to breastfeed a new baby can be stressful and upsetting. It is recommended to learn more about breastfeeding skills in order to minimize the pain around your nipple and breast udder.

Painful Nipple Causes, Cyst, Breastfeeding, Lump in Male, During Ovulation, Menopause and Pregnancy
Painful Nipple during Breastfeeding

Painful nipple lump male

The lump is usually located underneath the nipple and areola. The appearance of this lump indicates the presence of cancer of breast for men.

However, the vast majority of breast lumps are caused by a condition called gynaecomastia. This is a common non-cancerous condition where male breast tissue becomes enlarged.

The breast cancer at the initial stage in men has the following signs and symptoms:

  • The nipple beginning to turn in on itself (nipple retraction)
  • The nipple becoming hard and inflamed, and looking sore (nipple ulceration)
  • Fluid leaking from the nipple (nipple discharge)

Painful nipple with white spot

This white spot is also known as blocked nipple pore, a bleb or a milk blister. A white spot might cause nipple pain, especially during a breastfeed.

Most this blockage is caused by either an overgrowth of skin or a small amount of thickened milk. It creates a blocked duct at the nipple tip and sometimes is associated with mastitis. There may be a hard strip of breast tissue leading away from the blockage in the nipple.

When the baby breastfeeds from the breast that has the white spot on the nipple, the fragile layer of skin over the white spot can sometimes burst or the thickened milk can move, thereby releasing the milk from the duct behind it. In this way, a white spot can sometimes resolve itself.

Painful nipple during pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated by painful nipple at the early stages which is also marked by soreness and tender breast.  Other causes resulting from early signs of pregnancy may include:

  • Missing your last period
  • Feeling sick and tired
  • Needing to pee more often than usual
  • Strange tastes, smells and cravings

Painful nipple during ovulation

Nipple pain is mostly caused by changes in hormones levels that occur during the menstrual cycle. This is known as cyclical breast pain.  These changes in hormones result if you still have periods or are having hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Wearing a supportive bra during the day, at night and while exercising can help reduce the pain, as can over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and gels that you rub into your skin such as ibuprofen or diclofenac.

Painful nipple during menopause

Breast pain in women is most often associated with hormonal changes and imbalances, although the exact reason is unclear.

During the hormonal fluctuations of the peri-menopause and menopause, breasts can increase in size. This occurs when the level of the hormone progesterone increases while oestrogen decreases. The result can be pain and tenderness.

Painful or sore nipples can be sign of so many conditions such as pregnancy or ovulation. Breast soreness related to perimenopause will likely feel different from the soreness you may have felt at other times in your life since it is marked by burning sensation and soreness around the nipple.

Not all women experience breast discomfort in the same way since the pain may feel sharp, stabbing, or throbbing. The same hormones that cause breast soreness during perimenopause may also lead to swelling or lumps in your breasts.

You may also like 
  1. Why Do My Nipples Hurt? http://www.livescience.com/43622-why-do-my-nipples-hurt.html
  2. Breast cysts: http://breast-cancer.ca/simplecyst/
  3. Common Breastfeeding Problems: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/breastfeeding-sore-nipples#1
  4. Breast Lumps in Boys: https://www.drgreene.com/qa-articles/breast-lumps/
  5. Nipple Pain and Soreness: Causes and Treatment: http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/78/174397/nipple-soreness-treatment/

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