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Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: June 4, 2019
Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple

There are parts of our body which are more delicate than others. These parts of our anatomy have special sensitivity. This means that even small atmospheric changes or physical manipulation can lead to sensations which are more acute than we would expect them to be. These symptoms can be alarming due to their aberrance. However, the sensitivity of the area can also lead us to ignore them as we think we are being oversensitive in our response. As breast tissue is so sensitive, it is also common to feel itching or even burning on our nipples.

The possible causes of an itchy nipple are numerous, but they can range from completely benign to a serious condition. By following this oneHOWTO article, we'll show you these possible causes so that you can be aware when medical attention may be required.

You may also be interested in: Causes Of Vaginal Dryness


  1. Itchy nipple due to allergies
  2. Itchy nipples caused by skin disease
  3. Burning nipple sensation due to mastitis
  4. Itchy nipples during pregnancy
  5. Paget's disease of the breast

Itchy nipple due to allergies

Allergies are one of the main causes which can lead to nipple itching. These allergic reactions could be to any number of substances including shampoo, body cream, lotion or any product you may use on your skin, whether chemical or natural. Also, fabrics from which your clothes are made can cause reactions to those with an allergy. This is in part due to the continued contact with the skin when worn over the breasts.

When the skin touches these materials itching, tingling, redness and irritation can occur. Oftentimes, the products which cause this allergy are detergents, soaps, shower washes, deodorants, perfumes and clothes made from synthetic fibers. These synthetic fibers often cause reactions in humans.

Once these symptoms present, it is essential to work out which product or products are inducing the reactions. You may have to do this by progressively eliminating products one by one in a process of trial and error. Once you do, you can substitute them for something better for your skin.

If the reaction is severe, then you may need to see an allergist or dermatologist to get a better picture of what is causing the allergic reaction. They will have the proper test equipment to determine what is actually the root cause as well as check your complete symptomatology for any other possible health concerns.

Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple - Itchy nipple due to allergies

Itchy nipples caused by skin disease

There are different conditions which can manifest symptoms on the nipples. The greater sensitivity and thinner skin of nipples means that any change in the dermis is often more obvious than other parts of the body. Here we include the main skin conditions which can lead to nipple itching:

Dehydrated skin

When our skin is too dry and suffers from a lack of hydration, it can lead to tingling, itching and irritation. Breasts and nipples are no exception. If you feel dry and cracked skin on any part of your body, including the nipples, then this is likely the cause of the itching.

Fortunately, the treatment to end these often frustrating symptoms is relatively easy. Keeping the skin moisturized by using specially created moisturizers after washing will prevent skin dehydration. For the nipples, in addition to using these moisturizers, you can add natural oils which promote hydration and help prevent chaffing. Almond oil, argan oil and olive oil are all excellent natural alternatives to keep the area moisturized. However, you will need to be careful in terms of staining clothes.

Skin, however, is not only hydrated externally. Ensuring you keep hydrated by drinking enough water is essential to keep your dermis in healthy condition. For this reason, it is necessary to drink about 2 liters of water per day.

Atopic dermatitis

Another condition in the skin which may be a possible cause of an itchy nipple is atopic dermatitis. This is a chronic condition and unfortunately is one of the most common of skin diseases. As it is chronic, it can return at any time and its symptoms include itching, spots, rashes and even suppuration (the formation of pus). To these symptoms we can add dryness, redness and inflammation. It doesn't usually occur on the nipple and breasts, but it is still a possibility. If you suspect this may be the cause of your itchy nipples then seek a dermatologist's advice.


Another skin disease with the symptom of itchiness is psoriasis. If you suffer from psoriasis, you will know just how frustrating these symptoms can be. You will also know that a bout of psoriasis can occur seemingly at will.

While its symptoms present in the skin, psoriasis is a disease of the immune system. It causes the body to attack healthy tissue such as the skin of the nipple. It usually appears in different patches and causes redness and scaling of the skin. We also have more information on the symptoms of psoriasis if you want to know more.

Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple - Itchy nipples caused by skin disease

Burning nipple sensation due to mastitis

It is common to think that mastitis occurs only in women who are breastfeeding. However, it can also occur due to other causes in women who are not pregnant.

Mastitis is a breast infection that usually occurs in breastfeeding women due to obstruction of the milk ducts which leads to inflammation. It is more likely if the baby is failing to latch or if there is a pre-existing condition on the nipples which increase infection risk. Symptoms may also include pain, redness, swelling and itching of the breast and nipples. Sometimes it can even cause fatigue and fever.

This condition is treated by antibiotics, so it is necessary to visit a doctor for a suitable diagnosis. Additionally, it is also recommended to perform gentle massages to stimulate the unblocking of breast ducts and thereby help alleviate the symptoms. In very rare cases, mastitis can occur in men[1], but the probability of this being the cause of nipple itchiness is low.

Itchy nipples during pregnancy

The hormonal changes which occur in a woman's body can be one cause of nipple itching. These changes may be caused by pregnancy, a time of great fluctuation in terms of hormones in the body.

One of the first symptoms of pregnancy is itching and tenderness in the nipples and breasts. This is caused by an increase in the blood which reaches this area. In some cases, it is also possible that skin eruptions can occur in these areas.

However, it is not only pregnancy which can cause hormonal changes in the body. Adolescence, menstruation, contraceptive pills and menopause can change hormone releases in the body, one symptom of which is nipple itchiness.

Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple - Itchy nipples during pregnancy

Paget's disease of the breast

So far the conditions discussed in this article have been benign, which certainly represents the vast majority of cases where itching occurs on or around the nipple. However, due to the gravity of missing the symptoms, we must also discuss the potential link between itchiness and certain breast cancers.

Inflammatory breast cancer

This type of breast cancer causes itchy nipples, inflammation pain and enlargement of the breast caused by an accumulation of lymphatic fluid. The fact is that inflammatory breast cancer evolves very quickly, as do its symptoms. This makes it imperative to go to a doctor if you notice any such changes in your breast tissue. Considering early detecting being such an important factor in cancer treatment, a prompt visit to a specialist could prove vital.

Paget's disease of the nipple

This breast disease also causes itchiness of the nipple and areola. It is usually accompanied by a carcinoma. It evolves with symptoms such as redness, peeling, burning and, finally, secretions and flattening. It is normal for the symptoms of Paget's disease of the breast to resemble other diseases such as dermatitis of psoriasis. This can complicate treatment. However, it is also important to know that this type of breast cancer accounts for less than 5% of all breast cancers. It is considered rare in both women and men.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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Possible Causes of an Itchy Nipple