Inverted nipples are common among women during their childbearing years. They may occur in any age group. The most common cause of inverted nipples is hormonal changes that happen with pregnancy or postpartum period. Sometimes these conditions can be caused by medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, etc… There are many reasons why a woman might develop inverted nipples. Some of them include:
1) Postpartum Hormone Changes – A woman’s body produces hormones during pregnancy and childbirth.
These hormones affect the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and other organs. During pregnancy and childbirth the uterus expands to accommodate for growing baby inside her. When a mother gives birth she releases endorphins into her bloodstream which then affects her brain and nervous system.
These hormones also affect the immune system and cause it to produce antibodies against the placenta. These antibodies attack the developing baby causing pain, swelling, bleeding and even death.
2) Pregnancy Hormones – Many women experience hormonal changes during pregnancy including increased levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Progesterone causes uterine contractions (contracting your womb). This increases milk production in your body. If your baby refuses the first time you offer your boob, it may be that your milk hasn’t “come in” yet.
While many women believe that inverted nipples cause breastfeeding problems, this is not true. The reason why they become inverted during pregnancy is due to changes in the hormones and increased blood flow in the area. This increase in blood flow can cause the area around the nipples to become darker.
Inverted Nipples vs. Prominence: When it comes to baby’s sucking reflexes, babies are definitely designed to instinctively find and latch onto the female end of things. If we look at a woman’s body, you can see that a woman’s body actually has more of what I like to call “receptors”, or places for a baby to latch onto.
For example, a woman has mounds of “pillows” (muffin tops?
) that she can use to cradle and support the baby while feeding. If you look at a man’s body, you can see that there are not nearly as many places for a baby to latch on and feed. This is why some women with inverted nipples have no problem breastfeeding or vice versa.
How Common Are Inverted Nipples: Inverted nipples are more common than prominent ones. While some women suffer from this condition during pregnancy, their nipples may pop out in the postpartum period. Other women are affected by this condition for their entire lives.
Roughly 2% of all women have inverted nipples. This condition can also be present at birth. Some individuals are just more prone to developing it.
Inverted Nipple Solutions
Although many women suffer from inverted nipples during pregnancy, most of them will go back to their normal state after they have given birth. However, this is not the case for everyone and some women are prone to developing them even without being pregnant. If you are someone suffering from this condition, you don’t need to worry because there are many ways that you can go about fixing it.
Here are some of the most common solutions for this condition:
Pump the Nipples: The first thing that women with inverted nipples should do is to pump their nipples regularly. This helps expand the capillaries and makes it easier for the nipples to protrude when exposed to the air. All you need to do is gently massage your nipples in a circular motion using a water based lubricant or oil.
Once you feel that the blood has begun to flow into the area, just apply gentle but firm pressure with your fingers for about 5 – 10 minutes at a time. You will notice an improvement as soon as a week has passed.
Apply Cold or Heat: Applying cold to your nipples can also help them protrude, although you need to do this carefully because it is possible to damage your nipples if done excessively. All you need to do is soak a clean cloth or a piece of gauze in cold water and wrap it around your nipples for about 15 minutes. You can also use a refrigerant gel to achieve a similar effect.
Apply Pressure: If you are the DIY type, you can always make a device that fits around your nipples and then simply apply pressure by tightening a screw or something similar. This is a very effective solution but as I have said, you need to be careful when using this method because excessive force can damage your nipples.
Surgery: Unfortunately, many women aren’t able to achieve the desired results through any of the above methods. If this sounds like you, you can always opt for surgery to fix the problem. There are many plastic surgeons who can perform a simple procedure that should help you out.
Inverted Nipples and Pregnancy
If you have inverted nipples and are pregnant, you may want to try a few of the DIY home remedies listed above because it is possible that your nipples will come out when you give birth. While some women experience this, others unfortunately do not. If this sounds like you, you can either opt to go through with a small surgical procedure or simply leave things as they are.
Having inverted nipples doesn’t cause any complications during pregnancy and isn’t a health risk so if you don’t feel the need to do anything about it then there really isn’t any reason that you should.
Inverted Nipples and breastfeeding
If you had inverted nipples before pregnancy, there is no reason to believe that you won’t have inverted nipples after pregnancy. Many women who suffer from this condition find that their nipples become more pronounced when they begin breastfeeding. While this is certainly a possibility, some women find that their nipples do not change at all.
As with any problem, check with your doctor if you are concerned but don’t worry unnecessarily because there are many women out there who have this condition and have given birth with no complications at all.
Sources & references used in this article:
Scar-free technique for inverted-nipple correction by KH Min, SS Park, CY Heo, KW Minn – Aesthetic plastic surgery, 2010 – Springer
Cross vertical mattress suturing with basilar tightening during the correction of inverted nipple in 30 cases by W Liang, Z Zhao, S Liu, T Gu – Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2017 – Springer
The prevalence of congenital inverted nipple by HS Park, CH Yoon, HJ Kim – Aesthetic plastic surgery, 1999 – Springer
A method for correcting an inverted nipple with an artificial dermis. by N Yamada, M Kakibuchi, H Kitayoshi… – Aesthetic plastic …, 2004 – search.ebscohost.com