Sore nipples are common for a mother who is breastfeeding in the first week of breastfeeding. However, sometimes the pain can be prolonged, and women who are not breastfeeding may also experience sore nipples. Know the various causes, so you know when to see a doctor.
Not only breastfeeding factors, but various other factors can cause pain or discomfort in the nipple. Starting from wearing a bra that is too tight to serious medical conditions, such as symptoms of breast cancer.
For that, it is important for you to know the cause of sore nipples and when to be aware of them.
Causes of Sore Nipples
In general, here are some things that can cause sore nipples:
Problems with breastfeeding
Problems that arise when breastfeeding can cause nipple pain, for example when the baby is not feeding properly. The mother’s nipple may be too far away from the baby’s mouth, so she has to pull the nipple into her mouth, then clamp down on it with the hard roof of the mouth which ends up hurting the mother’s nipple.
When this happens, do not force the nipple out. Put your finger in the baby’s mouth and slowly pull on your nipple. After that, repeat the breastfeeding process properly. Another problem is when the baby starts teething and changes the way he breastfeeds.
This is because the baby is not comfortable with his teeth, so he tends to bite the mother’s nipple. You can avoid nipple biting by making sure the baby’s mouth is wide open while feeding. Painful nipples are a common problem for breastfeeding mothers.
If the flow of milk does not run smoothly during breastfeeding, the milk ducts can become inflamed, which is called mastitis. Symptoms include reddening of the sore breast, redness, and flu-like symptoms such as fever and weakness.
To help reduce the pain you can do several ways such as breastfeeding the baby more often, breastfeeding the baby on the affected breast first, squeezing the breast by hand if the breast is still full after breastfeeding, compressing the breast with warm water, or taking a warm shower before breastfeeding, and get enough rest.
The formation of pus in the breast or called a breast abscess can also cause pain. This can be caused by bacteria getting into the breast tissue, or caused by blocked milk ducts.
Abscesses are often associated with mastitis, or they can be caused by a sore on the breast, such as after a nipple piercing. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and a feeling of heat around the nipples. The pus in the breast needs to be removed and treated with antibiotics from a doctor.
Yeast infection or candidiasis of the nipple can cause nipple pain. Symptoms include pain in one or both breasts, pain can last up to an hour after breastfeeding, nipples appear chapped, dry, or feel sore.
Symptoms of candidiasis can be felt several weeks after starting breastfeeding. However, there may also be no signs of infection at all in the mother’s breast. In the baby’s mouth, canker sores can appear in the form of white spots.
When it is like this, both mother and baby need treatment with antifungal creams or gels or oral medications.
Nipple pain or discomfort is a common thing that women experience in their monthly cycle, usually during their premenstrual. This is triggered by changes in levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
No need to worry, because usually, this is a normal condition. Apart from the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in pregnant women can also make the breasts feel fuller, heavier, and sore.
Also, the areola or dark circles around the nipples become widened and darker in color. Pregnant women experience this condition at 6-8 weeks of gestation. To minimize pressure and discomfort in the breasts, use a comfortable bra that is the right size.
Choose a cotton bra. Pregnant women can also use a special bra to sleep at night.
The nipple is a very sensitive area and can react to changes in the surrounding environment, for example, due to the use of soap, detergent for washing, certain clothing materials such as wool, or hot or cold weather.
Skin irritation on the nipples can also occur due to allergies. Symptoms of skin irritation or dermatitis on the nipples include itching, redness, or chapped nipples.
When you do activities or exercise, your nipples can rub against clothes and cause pain. Therefore, use the right bra, such as a special bra for sports.
Also, if the skin of the breasts is already irritated, use a special cream for the nipples and breasts before dressing. Apart from exercising, friction on the breasts can also be caused by sexual activity, for example, rough touching the breasts. Usually, this pain is temporary.
Apart from the above factors, sore nipples can also be caused by breast cancer. Symptoms can include a lump in the breast, sore nipples, discharge from the nipple when not pregnant or breastfeeding, and a pulled inward nipple.
Changes in the size, shape, and color of the skin on the breasts can also indicate possible breast cancer. Because it is important to carry out routine breast examinations to detect breast cancer early.
If you are a breastfeeding mother, sore nipples will not directly affect the baby. However, if the baby does not breastfeed properly and properly, he will stop breastfeeding before getting enough breast milk.
As a result, babies can be underweight. The best way to treat this condition is to improve breastfeeding attachment. If the complaint of sore nipples does not improve after a few days, you are advised to see a doctor so that proper treatment can be given.