There are several reasons why the skin around your chest and nipples may itch.
There may be moments when this itching seems more severe:
during your menstruation
- after a shower
- during pregnancy
Regular itching is often nothing to worry about, particularly if you don't see any red, irritated, or peeling skin.
Your nipples may sometimes feel itchy, just as other parts of your body may, particularly if you have dry skin or are sensitive to a particular chemical.
On the other side, persistent nipple itching may have a more severe cause, such as eczema, a breast yeast infection, or mastitis.
It could have cancer.
Itching in the nipples may, in very rare circumstances, be a precursor to breast cancer.
Even though it often only affects one side of your chest, Paget's disease of the breast, a particular kind of breast cancer that affects the nipple, may make you itchy.
Paget's illness may afflict persons of either sex, although it frequently strikes those who were given the gender of a girl at birth.
It's rare to get this kind of cancer: Only one to 3% of breast cancer cases are attributable to it.
Despite this, women with Paget's disease often also have another kind of 1breast cancer, commonly invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
The signs of Paget's disease might resemble those of eczema or atopic dermatitis. You may observe:
- a nipple that looks upside-down or flat
- burning, tingling, or inflammation
- you have a breast lump
- nipple discharge that is red or yellow
- Your nipple may develop thickening, flaking, or scaly skin.
Paget's disease and other forms of breast cancer are treated using:
- any malignancies surgically removed, along with all or part of the breast.
Pregnancy nipples that itch
You could be concerned about that new, odd itching in your nipples if you're expecting.
But most of the time, it's simply another pregnant side effect.
One pregnancy-related hormone shift that may make you itchier than normal is the change in oestrogen and progesterone levels.
Also, keep in mind that your skin will stretch since your breasts usually expand during pregnancy.
You can experience tingling, burning, and itching as your skin expands, especially in delicate regions like your nipples and breasts. Additionally, your skin may seem dryer or even flaking.
Pregnancy-related itching nipples may also be brought on by:
Eczema. This skin disease, which is frequent during pregnancy, often manifests as dry, cracked areas of skin. Red, darker than your skin tone, or irritated skin may be the appearance.
Prurigo. This illness, which is your immune system's reaction to pregnancy-related changes, may also lead to tiny, itchy bumps on your chest and other parts of your body.
Pregnancy-related urticarial papules and plaques that are itchy (PUPPP). PUPPP may create tiny pimples or hives on your stomach, chest, behind, and thighs in addition to itching.
Here are some suggestions for finding relief:
Think about switching to a bra that fits looser. To encourage improved ventilation, stick to cotton and natural fabrics wherever you can.
Your bra or top should be lined with a cold towel. To avoid dealing with wet fabric, try storing a stash in the refrigerator.
Select fragrance-free detergents and soaps or items made especially for the skin that is sensitive.
Before or during your menstruation, itchy nipples
You can experience more itching than normal as your period approaches and starts even if you don't alter your regular regimen since fluctuating hormone levels might make your skin more sensitive.
This hormone-related sensitivity is also quite typical right before, during, and after menopause and might include dryness, irritation, and tiny bumps or pimples.
A normal component of your monthly cycle, fluctuations in breast size may cause your nipples to itch as well.
Your regular-size bras or clothing may momentarily become overly tight, which may cause chafing, discomfort, and itching.
Even while you may not be able to completely stop this itching, you can obtain some relief by:
avoiding triggers, such as highly scented soaps or detergents, temporarily moving to shirts and undergarments in a little bigger size, keeping your skin hydrated with moderate, fragrance-free lotion, and taking an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch topical medicine, such as hydrocortisone.
Other potential reasons
Other potential reasons for itching nipples include the following:
If you have dermatitis, your nipples may also be itchy. This catch-all phrase describes a variety of skin irritants, including eczema.
Itchy nipples may be a symptom of both atopic and contact dermatitis.
Dermatitis atopy. This is a typical kind of eczema that sometimes lacks a known aetiology. You'll probably notice some inflammation, a rash, or peeling skin in addition to the itching.
Although your nipples and chest may be affected, this itching and discomfort often affect other areas of your body, especially your knees and elbows.
Dermatitis from contact. This relates to skin sensitivity brought on by a certain trigger. A substance you're allergic to, a harsh chemical, another substance, or even too much soap and water on delicate skin might be triggered.
Because of how sensitive they are, your nipples may itch even if the rest of your body doesn't.
You should typically talk to a professional about your treatment choices since atopic dermatitis may cause severe itch and discomfort.
Treatment options for contact dermatitis include:
- Take five to ten minutes of warm, not hot, showers, followed by gently rubbing your skin dry
- using moisturiser or an anti-itch immediately after drying off and exhibiting
- selecting natural fabrics that breathe well for shirts
- If possible, swap out sweaty garments right away.
- Avoid using body washes, fragrances, or harsh soaps
- selecting a hydrating soap
- exercising while wearing supportive undergarments that don't brush against your nipples
Although you may associate yeast infections with your vagina, they may also appear in other warm, moist parts of your body, such as your breasts.
Breast thrush, or breast yeast infections, often exhibit the following symptoms:
- a red, glossy rash on the flesh of your chest or nipples
- your nipples are bleeding and cracked
- nipples that are stinging, burning, and tingling
- deep or shooting pain, especially after breastfeeding or pumping, in your nipples or chest
If you're presently taking antibiotics, your risk of getting breast thrush may also be elevated.
Breast thrush may be prevented by rinsing and patting your chest dry after breastfeeding or perspiring, particularly in warm or muggy conditions.
Antifungal drugs, either over-the-counter or prescribed, are often needed to treat yeast infections. Before you begin taking antifungals, you may acquire confirmation of a yeast infection by getting in touch with your medical team.
Breast and nipple irritation may also be brought on by mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue. This disease, which often manifests while breastfeeding, may arise from a clogged milk duct or bacterial exposure.
Additional signs can include:
- Or warmth in the breasts
- Enlargement of one breast
- Nursing may cause burning or pain
- An expulsion from your nipple
When should I get medical help?
If the itching in your nipples doesn't go away after a few days or appears to become worse over time, think about scheduling a consultation with a medical expert.
It's ideal to get in touch immediately away if you encounter:
- yellow, brown, or bloody discharge
- an upside-down nipple
- You have nipple soreness that is constant.
- any modifications to the breast or nipple skin's texture
- increased breast tissue thickness
- discomfort and other mastitis symptoms when breastfeeding
Nipples that are itchy may be quite irritating, but it might be helpful to keep in mind how delicate they are.
Mild itching often doesn't need significant medical attention, and relief from home cures and over-the-counter medications is usually possible.
In addition to providing further information on treatment alternatives, a doctor or clinician may assist in determining the reason for more enduring itching or discomfort in your nipples or chest.
Additional resources and citations
- 1breast cancer