Why Do My Nipples Itch? -- Causes
and Top 7 Natural Remedies

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July 8, 2015
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Registered
Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial

Is an intimate itch on your nipples driving you crazy? Itchy
nipples are an irritating and all-round embarrassing problem
that happens to most women at some point in their lives.
Pregnancy increases the risk, and the problem could be
worsened by skin inflammation. Itchy nipples can be
Some women suffer the problem for months. But is an ithcy
nipple the sign of a serious problem like cancer? Is there
any way to cure the itching and feel normal again?

What are the Symptoms of Itchy Nipples?

When your nipples itch it could be a short-lived, intense
urge to scratch the skin around the nipple and breast, or a
constant, long-running problem. The level of discomfort
caused by itching nipples ranges from mild to extreme.

An itchy nipple also raises the risk of damaged skin around
the breast. While scratching the itch may be satisfying for a
few seconds, it damages the skin and can cause infection,
red, sore, and swollen nipples or breast.

What Causes Itchy Nipples?

Itchy nipple is a common problem and it has a wide variety
of causes, which can sometimes make it difficult to hone in
on a treatment. The cause of an itchy nipple could be a skin
problem – an inflammation of the skin like "
dermatitis", irritated skin from playing sports, or a common
dry skin issue that could be produced by environmental
conditions of skin sensitivity.

Skin and hormonal changes during pregnancy and
breastfeeding contribute to the itchy nipple problem. Rarely,
itching nipples can be a sign of an unusual form of breast

We looked at these diverse causes and the scientific
literature on how to cure and remedy them, so that you can
get some relief from the discomfort of itching nipples.

Topical Creams Helps Itching Nipples Caused By Atopic

Atopic dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema, is a form of
skin inflammation that causes dry skin and itching. It is
found all over the body, including the nipple and breast,
according to the National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Atopic dermatitis can also cause a rash on the breast area.
Certain environmental factors such as dry skin, scented
chemicals in skin products, allergic reactions to cleaning
products, and stress, can make atopic dermatitis worse.

Topical creams made from licorice, calendula, and chamomile
are commonly used to treat eczema on the nipples or
elsewhere on the body.

Chamomile can also help. A 2000 study by ASTA Medica AG,
Frankfurt, Germany showed that chamomile was slightly
more effective than hydrocortisone cream for treating atopic
dermatitis. Be careful – scratching the itch can lead to a
bacterial infection.

Use Coconut Oil for Itchy Nipples Due to Dry and
Sensitive Skin

Dry skin can cause your nipples to itch, especially when the
skin is further irritated by artificial fibers in clothes,
chemicals in perfumes or skin products, and certain soaps
that dry the skin.

Coconut oil is a safe and effective way to moisturize the dry
skin on the nipples and breasts, according to a 2004 study
by Makati Medical Center, Makati City, Philippines, which
looked at coconut oil as a treatment for xerosis, a rough, dry
skin condition.

Coconut oil is also effective for treating atopic dermatitis,
according to a 2008 study from the Skin and Cancer
Foundation, Pasig, Philippines, a common cause of itchy

Use Jojoba Oil  to Ease Itching Caused by Jogger's Nipple

Jogger’s nipple is a condition known to runners where the
nipples scratch and chafe against bra and clothing during a
run or other physical activity.

Jogger’s nipple causes red, sore, itchy and dry skin on the
nipple, which may bleed or crack.

Antiseptic cream can treat infection, and you can prevent
jogger’s nipple by using a barrier cream containing
petroleum jelly, beeswax, shea butter or jojoba oil to
prevent friction and reduce itching.

Skin Changes in Pregnancy Cause Nipples to Itch

Some say that itching nipples are one of the earliest signs of
pregnancy. While there is no evidence for this, it is true that
later in pregnancy it is common to experience itching nipples.

As the breasts grow due to hormonal changes the skin
stretches and this can lead to an itch, or in many cases
flaking and irritated skin.

Keep the itching under control by using a good lotion or
moisturizer on the nipples, without alcohol or fragrance.

According to a 2000 study by ASTA Medica AG, Frankfurt,
Germany, chamomile lotion was excellent for relieving an

You can also add petroleum jelly to your nipples to keep
them soft, and avoid harsh soaps and perfumed shower gels.

Use Peppermint Tea to Ease Itching Nipples Caused by

According to the National Eczema Society in the UK, nipple
eczema is a common problem after giving birth that is
worsened by breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding can cause irritation and cracks in the nipples,
leading to itching and pain. A 2007 study from Tabriz
University of Medical Sciences, Iran shows that applying
lukewarm peppermint tea to the nipples helps prevent
cracks in the nipples and associated itching.

Treat Mastitis to Relieve Nipple Itching

Mastitis is an inflammation of your breast tissue which most
commonly affects women who are breastfeeding. Mastitis, in
the case of breastfeeding mothers, is caused by a blocked
milk duct or a bacterial infection.

Mastitis causes swelling and pain in the breast, and a
burning or itching in the breasts and nipples and, at times,
fever and chills. The UK’s National Health Service says that
up to 1 in 10 breastfeeding women are affected.

If you think you may have mastitis you should contact your
doctor as it can progress to a breast abscess which requires
surgical intervention. Self-help measures include getting lots
of rest, keeping hydrated, and continuing to feed your baby
but making sure he or she is properly latched on to your

Could Itchy Nipples be a Sign of Cancer?

In certain cases an itchy nipple could be the sign of cancer.
Paget disease of the breast is a rare type of breast cancer
that causes the nipple and the breast to itch. Other
symptoms associated with this cancer are a flattened nipple,
a lump in the breast, nipple discharge, and redness.

Around 1 to 4 percent of all breast cancer cases involve
Paget disease of the breast, according to a 2008 study from
the European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Nipple and breast itching may also be a sign of inflammatory
breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says one
symptom of inflammatory breast cancer is breast warmth
and itching, including nipple itching, as well as changes to
how your nipple looks.

Inflammatory breast cancer is rare, accounting for around 1
percent of all breast cancers in the US, but it is more
aggressive than other forms of the disease so see a doctor if
you are concerned about changes to the nipple.


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