Swollen and sensitive nipples in pregnancy: causes and remedies

The swelling of the nipples is very common when a woman becomes pregnant. This is because the breasts begin to prepare already from conception to properly feed the baby when it is born. 

However, you should also know that swollen nipples can be, at the same time, a symptom of serious diseases or infections. Therefore, it is important to be alert to detect and treat them on time.

About pregnancy, what causes alterations in the breasts are hormonal changes that occur in the body. On the one hand, the progesterone that increases during conception favors the growth of the breasts. On the other, estrogens enhance the development of milk ducts. The breasts are prepared for breastfeeding.

At the beginning of pregnancy, and more usually during the first pregnancy, many women feel greater breast tenderness.

There are women, even, who perceive a swelling in the area of ​​the nipples, which can become painful and very annoying. It is possible that this swelling goes away as the weeks go by, although this is not always the case.

Why do nipples swell?

Several causes can cause swelling in the nipples, although during pregnancy the most common is the hormonal duo formed by estrogen and progesterone, mentioned above.

However, there are other factors, such as increased blood flow in the area or increased fat accumulation. Let’s look at other causes that can cause the nipples to swell.

1. Factors of the environment and the environment

The pain, swelling or tenderness of the nipples can be somewhat punctual and that is favored by the environment. The lifestyle of each woman can influence negatively in this regard. For example, improper use of the bra, which is too narrow, can significantly damage the external surface of the breasts beyond the nipple.

Sexual behavior can also cause swelling in the nipples if, for example, the sexual encounter is very passionate or somewhat aggressive with this part of the female anatomy.

2. Possible infections

If beyond the swelling of the nipple, there are whitish-looking secretions or telillas around the peak area of ​​the nipple with a viscous texture, possibly due to a bacterial infection. In this case, you should see a doctor immediately.

Depending on whether it is a bacterial or fungal infection, your doctor may describe an antibiotic or antifungal treatment.

3. Relationship with hypothyroidism

The swelling of the nipples may be related to a thyroid malfunction, usually caused by hypothyroidism. In this case, the nipples, in addition to being swollen, have a local redness of the area.

It will be the doctor in charge of prescribing the treatment. Normally, when treating hypothyroidism with certain medications that regulate the functioning of this gland, nipple problems disappear.

4. Problems with milk ducts

Another possible cause of swelling of the nipples is called ectasia and has to do with the obstruction of the ducts through which milk circulates. This obstruction can cause pain and tenderness of the nipples.

If this is your case, you can rest easy because in most cases these obstructions associated with pregnancy resolve on their own.

5. It can be a small benign tumor

When swelling of the nipples or increased sensitivity in the area is accompanied by some small bump, possibly it is a sebaceous cyst or benign tumor. Do not panic, because many times these tumors are treated quickly and easily, but, yes, it is necessary to go to the specialist immediately.

Medical treatments and homemade remedies

There are multiple treatments at the medical level to relieve, prevent or cure swelling of the nipples, but each treatment is different depending on the cause of the swelling. The doctor will be in charge of performing an examination and determining, in these cases, what treatment to follow.

On the other hand, there are home remedies, which you can practice quietly at home, to end these annoying pains. Take note!

The appropriate soap and temperature when showering

When you take a shower, take note of these two tips: change the temperature to treat the area affected by the swelling and use a suitable soap. Changing the temperature in the shower, starting with hot or warm water and finishing showering with a jet of cold water on each chest, will help relieve swelling.

On the other hand, choose a soap that does not dry the skin and, if possible, that is natural.

Apply a cold compress

Applying cold on the area of ​​swollen nipples is one of the best remedies to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Of course, never apply the cold directly, as you would damage the area. You should apply it using a cold compress, for example, moistening a cloth and applying it to the breasts.

Bet on a good moisturizer

Hydration is essential to cope, not only with swollen nipples but many problems associated with the pain and tenderness of the breasts, something that is exacerbated during breastfeeding. So you should apply a moisturizer or a natural oil specific to the skin of the breasts daily. You can apply it after showering and before going to bed so you can absorb the qualities during the night.

Give you massages in the area

It is important to pamper the area of ​​the breasts and, to relieve swelling of the nipples, massage to relax and reduce discomfort works very well. If your partner or another person can do it to you, much better, although you can also give it to yourself clockwise. With 10 minutes a day on each chest, you will notice a great improvement.

Choose the right bra size

It is important that you correctly choose the bra size, both the one you wear daily and those that you wear for sports. The most important thing is that the bra does not oppress you. The best recommendation is cotton bras to avoid unwanted friction. You can also buy a sports bra, which has no rings or washers.

Breast prevention necessary to rule out

Regardless of the problem with which redness, tenderness or swelling of the nipples is associated, you should keep in mind that it is very important to carry out an annual medical check-up. In this sense, it is advisable to go to a gynecological examination once a year and, if the gynecologist considers it necessary, perform annual mammograms once you have exceeded 45 years. Some conditions are not dangerous but that if they are not solved, they can be.