Itchy nipples are a clear misfortune. Not only are they inconvenient to scratch during the day, but they also make sleep almost impossible at night. If you scratch your Breasts at 3am and wonder what in the world is going on with your nipples, the good news is that in most cases, there’s nothing serious about it. In rare cases, itchy nipples are a sign of something more serious — and we’ll get back to that later — but, as I said, it’s rare. So first, let’s talk about what’s more likely to happen.
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is the most common cause of itchy nipples. In this condition, itching is almost always present and can be very strong. Itching may start before you even notice the rash. The rash may include small blisters with wet or crusted areas. If you continue to comb, you may open the skin to infections or create thickened areas due to constant inflammation and irritation.
Atopic dermatitis can occur in women and men of any age. Since this is thought to be related to a hypersensitivity reaction, you may be more likely to develop it if you have a personal or family history of allergies, asthma, or hay fever.
Environmental triggers that can trigger an outbreak of atopic dermatitis may include:
- Dry skin
- Prolonged contact with water
- Colorants or flavorings added to skin products
Doctors usually diagnose atopic dermatitis by conducting a medical examination and asking you about your health. If necessary, they can also do a skin biopsy to rule out other causes.
Most remedies for atopic dermatitis are treatments that you apply directly to the skin, such as steroid creams or ointments. In this area, it is important to use an ointment rather than a lotion, as lotions can sometimes contain drying substances that can worsen symptoms.
Topical ointments that may help include:
- Coconut oil
- A&D Ointment
When you have severe itching or have a known Allergy trigger, antihistamines can help. A cream with hydrocortisone is also an option.
There are also self-help methods and preventative measures that can ease your symptoms. The best strategy for getting rid of atopic dermatitis is to avoid triggers, but you should also do everything possible to keep the skin moist. For example, do not use drying soap or take long hot baths. After leaving the bath or shower, apply the ointment to the affected area.
As I mentioned, there is a more serious cause of itchy nipples, and it is important to know its signs:
Paget’s disease is a rare form of breast cancer that can affect both the nipple and the areola (the colored area that surrounds the raised nipple). One of the first symptoms of Paget’s disease may be itching or burning in the nipple or areola.
In Paget’s disease, itching is often accompanied by a hard rash. Scaly rash does not go away with topical creams. In the later stages of cancer, open ulcers form and there may be discharge from the nipples. Paget’s disease is most often found in only one breast and is usually found in women between the ages of 50 and 60.
Doctors diagnose Paget’s disease with a breast exam and mammography. They can also do a nipple biopsy. Any formation in the breast will also be subjected to biopsy. Treatment for Paget’s disease is breast surgery: removing the entire breast (known as a mastectomy) or removing only the affected part of the breast.
If you have any symptoms of Paget’s disease, contact your doctor for evaluation.
In General, however, itchy nipples are not what you need to run to the ambulance for at the first attack of discomfort. Try using the ointments and antihistamines mentioned above for topical use, and if symptoms persist or a rash appears, consult your doctor to thoroughly examine everything.
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