Inverted Nipples: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Inverted nipple is a the common condition in women, especially breastfeeding moms. There are many risk factors for inverted nipples. Let’s find out in this post below.
Know the basics
1. What are inverted nipples?
An inverted nipple is a condition in which the nipple is pulled inward into the breast instead of pointing outward. This condition can also be called nipple inversion, nipple retraction, or invaginate nipple, although some observers distinguish these two variations.
The nipple is the central projection in the areola. Inverted nipples can be either temporary or permanent. More specifically, truly inverted nipple is caused by adhesions at the base of the nipple that bind the skin to the underlying tissue. Moreover, it is also possible to have an inverted nipple on one breast, but not the other.
Diagnosis & Treatments
1. How are inverted nipples diagnosed?
To test whether you do indeed have inverted nipples, you can try the “pinch” test. You should hold your breast at the edge of the areola between your thumb and index finger. Press in gently but firmly about an inch behind your nipple.
If your nipple protrudes, that’s great and when it does not protrude or become erect, it is considered flat. If it retracts or disappears, it is truly inverted.
2. How are inverted nipples treated?
♦ Suction device
There are some suction devices promoted for reversing inverted nipples. Most are worn under clothing for extended periods of time. These products are sold under a variety of names, including:
- Nipple retractors
- Nipple extractors
These devices usually work by pulling the nipple into a small cup. This stimulates the nipple and makes it protrude. When used over time, these devices can help loosen the nipple tissue. This can help your nipples remain erect for longer periods of time.
♦ Nipple piercing
Nipple piercing is sometimes done to draw out inverted nipples. This is because jewelry worn in the piercing can help keep your nipple in an erect position.
If you’re looking for something permanent, your only option is surgery. There are two different types of surgeries:
◊ Surgery with partial preservation of milk ducts
This is also known as the “parachute flap” technique. Women undergoing this procedure should still be able to breastfeed because some of the milk duct system remains attached. You shouldn’t experience a change in nipple sensation.
◊ Surgery with detached milk ducts
This procedure is more common. Women undergoing this procedure won’t be able to breastfeed because of the removal of the milk ducts. You shouldn’t experience a change in nipple sensation.
Generally, causes of inverted nipples include:
- The woman may have inverted nipples by birth.
- Following breastfeeding, the milk ducts may have been damaged or become fibrous and retracted, which can pull the nipples inwards.
- Previous surgeries may have caused scar tissue formation, which can create nipple inversion.
- Breast cancer may be the cause of an inverted nipple.
- With age, the breast skin may sag and the skin around the nipples may become loose, leading to inversion.
- Any infection in the breast may cause inflammation, resulting in fibrous scar tissue pulling the nipple inwards.
- Some women may have inverted nipples during pregnancy.
Developing inverted nipples later in life may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition, such as Paget’s disease of the breast. Primarily, this condition affects women over age 50 and is a rare form of breast cancer in which the ducts beneath the areola or in some rare cases, the nipple itself, have been affected by cancer.
While breast cancer rarer in men than in women, it can also occur in men. Moreover, there is also a less severe condition, mammary duct ectasia, which is an inflammation and sometimes infection of the mammary ducts.
Usually, this condition is more present in women over 50 as it is typically caused by hormonal changes. Also, inversion of the nipples can indicate disorders of the breast, such as breast abscess, fat necrosis, and mastitis.
2. Risk factors
There are many risk factors for Inverted Nipples, such as:
- After breastfeeding
Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.
GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
How To Treat An Inverted Nipple. http://www.healthline.com/health/inverted-nipple-treatment#overview1. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
WHAT CAUSES INVERTED NIPPLES? http://richardscosmeticsurgery.com/what-causes-inverted-nipples/. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
Inverted nipples? http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/inverted-nipples. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
Nipple inversion. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/nipple-inversion. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
Inverted nipple. http://www.medicinenet.com/inverted_nipple/symptoms.htm. Accessed 17 Apr 2017