There is a reason for which the nipples are considered as one of those part of the human body that are highly sensitive. Not only are they highly sensitive, but they are also simulated easily. Similarly, they are irritated quite easily as well. Have you ever thought to yourself,  why do my nipples hurt ? It could basically be because of the high irritability of the body part. There are numerous reasons because of which the nipples of a person might hurt. Find out the reasons below, that would be help.

Why do my nipples hurt – common reasons?

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Mentioned here are some of the most common reason behind the pain in your nipple. You shouldn’t worry too much because, in most cases, it is not something serious. However, it is always recommended to go to the doctor in case the cause of pain is something worse.

Why Do my nipples Hurt ? – List of Causes:

Tight clothing:

Perhaps wearing tight clothes or clothes that ill-fit you is the most common reason for why you could be experiencing nipple pain. Not only does this refer to dresses and shirts, but also tight and ill-fit undergarments as well.


Pregnant women can also experience pain and soreness in the nipples because of the change that their body goes through. During pregnancy, the body produces a greater amount of estrogen. This aids the development of breasts which eventually leads to the production of breast milk. The hormone estrogen increases the blood that circulates through the body. When this is combined with other hormones such as progesterone, the nipples start to become discolored, ultrasensitive, and sore as well.

One of the most basic signs that prove that you are pregnant is feeling soreness in the area around your nipple. However, it is extremely important to remember that if you are pregnant, then only the nipples will not get sore. The tissues present in both of the breasts will also start to become sore. Tissues present in the breasts will start to become increasingly sensitive to any kind of shift in the hormones. And since pregnancy is the greatest change in the hormonal system of the body, the breasts become heavier. This is because hormones of pregnancy increase the volume of the blood.


Women that breastfeed can also experience pain in their nipples. This is because of the newborn. When the baby learns how to latch on the mother’s breasts, the areolar tissue and the nipples of the breast start to stretch. This causes the nipples to become tender. Some of the newly-made mothers also experience cracked nipples, chaffing, and bleeding. The most common reason behind this is the wrong positioning of the child. However, this can be corrected by taking an appointment with a consultant. Alternatively, you can also talk to an expert about the right way of positioning the baby while you nurse it.


If you are not pregnant and are also not in the nursing stage, then, the pain in your nipple can be because of an infection. Most of the breast infections, which are also called mastitis, takes place because of bacteria. The bacteria can enter the skin by a crack or a break in the tissue of the nipples. Once the breast has been infected, the nipple and the breast tissue become itchy. Additionally, they start to pain when they are touched. Keep in mind that if the breast or the nipple becomes extremely red or if it starts to feel extremely warm, then, you should immediately look for medical attention.

It is also possible for you to get thrush in the nipples. It is also an infection of the breast which hurts. Infections are way more common than the people think. Thrush is commonly seen when the mother is breastfeeding because babies often have dirty mouths. However, if you are not pregnant, and your nipples feel sore or itchy, then it is a sign that your nipple has been infected either with a thrush or with some other type of bacteria. In order to treat this, you would need to do a course of antibiotics.

Skin conditions:

There are a few skin conditions that can also cause you to feel pain in your nipples. One of such condition is known as eczema or dermatitis. This condition can lead to flaky and itchy skin that is painful if it is left untreated.

One other skin condition which can cause your nipples to ache is contact dermatitis. In this case, the highly sensitive skin of the breast gets inflamed by a certain substance. If your nipples itch and hurt, then it could be because of a change in the things you use daily. It could be because you changed your laundry detergent, your soap, your body lotion, soap, or your bath oils. Basically, it could be because of a recent change in the things that come in direct contact with the nipples. If this is the case, then all you need to do in order to solve this is just to stop using the substance.


Just like skin conditions, there are few disorders that can also cause pain. One of the disorder is called Fibromyalgia. This disorder causes the tissues and the muscles to become sore or tender. Because of this, the nipples can start to hurt as well.

Paget’s disease:

There can also be cases when the pain you are experiencing in your nipples is because of a certain kind of breast cancer. It is called the Paget’s disease and is actually a rare kind of cancer. It accounts for just 1% of all of the breast cancers, however, the cause of it is still unknown. This cancer is not only limited to women. It can also happen to men. Furthermore, cancer involves the areola in some cases along with the nipple skin. The symptoms of this kind of cancer are similar to the symptoms of other benign skin conditions. The symptoms include flaky skin or red skin of the areola and the nipple. In cases like these, the nipple becomes flat and starts to produce a bloody or yellow discharge.

The most common method of treating this disease is by surgery. The kind of surgery depends on how severe the condition is however it can include radiotherapy, lumpectomy, modified mastectomy, and radical mastectomy.

Rusty pipe syndrome:

If your breasts start to provide a bloody discharge, then you should be really concerned. Of course, a bloody discharge symbolizes that there is something really wrong. However, the cause of the bloody discharge can vary greatly. Bloody discharge in a woman that is breastfeeding is quite common and is known as the rusty pipe syndrome. In this case, you shouldn’t worry too much. The problem will go away in a short time.


The reason behind the pain in your nipple could also be a benign tumor known as intraductal papilloma. It is a tumor that forms within the milk ducts that are connected to the nipple. In order to get rid of the tumor, you only need to have an appointment with your doctor and get a surgery done which would remove the tumor.

In a small percentage of women, the pain in nipples could also be because of the tumor of the pituitary gland. This is a gland present inside the brain which is responsible for the development and the growth of the human. However, in most of the women, this is just a benign tumor and can be solved by visiting the doctor.

Mammary duct ectasia:

Mammary duct ectasia is a condition that is quite common in women that are more than 45 years old. The condition takes place when the milk duct starts to get bigger and then gets clogged. The condition is startling as well as painful. However, it does a symptom of breast cancer. On the other hand, ectasia can easily shift into mastitis which is a kind of breast infection. This can take place because a vital part of the circulation of the breast gets clogged. The condition is accompanied by a number of symptoms including itching, swelling, pain and inverted nipple.

In order to treat this, you will have to take antibiotics. However, if the problem still persists, then you would have to get the duct removed with surgery. This condition is actually very rare, and all you need to do is visit your gynecologist, and the problem will be solved.

Jogger’s nipple:

The soreness in the nipple could also be because of the irritation caused by a condition famously known as jogger’s nipple. The jogger’s nipple takes place because of friction from sports or because of running. As a result, the nipple gets red, itchy, dry, sore and can also start to bleed. Wearing a sports bra that fits poorly or playing any sport without the bra can also lead to pain because of the repeated friction of the fabric. Exercising for a prolonged period can put you at a greater risk. Athletes and runners of long distance are the highest prone to this condition. Additionally, those surfers that do not wear rash guards while surfing can also go through the jogger’s nipple.

In order to prevent this friction, you should make sure that you wear a sports bra that fits while exercising. Instead of using cotton, you should try and wear synthetic fabrics. During exercise, you should wear either surgical tape or waterproof plaster. Additionally, you should make use of protective products such as rash guards. If the skin has been damaged already, then you should apply some kind of barrier cream or use a nipple shield. You should also use non-chafing balms such as Vaseline.

Psychological medications:

A number of psychological medication have also been found to lead to nipple pain. Different antidepressants ranging from MAOIs to SSRIs have been connected to discharge from the nipple. The same goes for a few anti-histamines, anti-psychotics, and amphetamines.


If you are not pregnant, and you feel pain in your nipples along with a milky discharge, then it could be because of hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the thyroid becomes extremely and produces a higher amount of the thyroid hormone than necessary. There are a number of other symptoms of this condition so you should visit a doctor.

Sexual activity:

Extreme friction or vigorous rubbing of the nipples during sexual intercourse can also lead to pain in the nipples. However, this is just temporary, and the ache starts to subside as soon as the nipples get the opportunity of healing. To boost the healing, you can apply a moisturizer, barrier gel, or an antiseptic.

Signs to look out for:

If your nipple has been inverted ever since you were born, then you don’t need to worry too much. However, if your nipple suddenly got inverted, then it is highly important that you get it checked immediately. An inverted nipple could be a sign that you are developing breast cancer. Of course, inverted nipples also have exceptions. It can be caused because of contraction of the breast tissue. This contraction can be a result of a number of things such as pregnancy, genetics, or a hard hit to the breasts. However, remember that if it has happened all of a sudden, then you need to get it checked. The chances are that the inverted nipple is a symptom of the Paget’s disease.

If the soreness of the nipple continues for more than a few days, then you need to seek medical attention immediately. Next time when the question, why do my nipples hurt occurs in your mind, make sure that you think about all of the reasons mentioned above and try to shortlist the possible causes of your pain. However, do not self-diagnose because it could make the problems much worse as well. Make sure to consult your doctor every step of the way and do not take too much stress about this. Stress can worsen the problem as well.


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