Itchy nipples can hinder the process of breastfeeding. It can cause significant discomfiture. There are many causes for this kind of sudden itchiness. They can range from being mild to something severe. Often they can go out of control. Infection on nipples is one of the main causes for this itchiness. Eczema is yet another reason which triggers certain itchy feelings. Contact dermatitis can also cause similar problems. There is also certain phenomenon called the “joggers nipples”. However, it only happens to athletes or women who normally exercise a lot. Dry and flaky skin can also be one of the reasons for this itchiness. Very rare but sometimes the Paget’s disease cause itchy nipples.
Symptoms of Itchy Breasts:
The symptoms of itchy breasts include mild to severe itchiness. Red rashes might appear on breasts. Similar rashes might be visible under the breasts as well. If the itchiness is a result of eczema or dermatitis then it might turn into blisters.
It will ooze fluid and also crust over. If the itchiness is caused by any sort of inflammatory condition then you might also feel a certain kind of warmness surrounding the red itchy patch. The other symptoms include lumpiness, certain tenderness and swelling.
Causes of Itchy Nipples for Breastfeeding Moms:
Nipple itchiness during breastfeeding is something which is not very uncommon. It happens to many mothers around the world. There are many causes for itchy nipples.
Itchiness can be a symptom of infection in nipple. Accumulation of bacteria and fungus can lead to infection. If your nipple is damaged then bacterial infestation is very likely. The most common fungal nipple infection is called thrush.
There are many cures for this kind of infections. It is also very common to many breastfeeding moms. Little precautions can cure this kind of rashes for the mothers.
Another potential reason for itchy breasts is eczema. Nipple eczema can also happen to many breastfeeding mothers. This happens more to the women who have prior history of skin allergies or eczema.
This is also not very rare. There are various medical treatments and prevention methods prescribed for this kind of problems.
According to Allen (2015) contact dermatitis is caused due to the presence of gels, creams, detergents, and chemicals. Contact dermatitis tends to make the areola of the nipple red, sore, dry, and itchy.
You need to undergo medical treatments in order to get rid of this problem.
Cracked and Dry Skin
Sometimes the cause can be something harmless like the lack of moisturizing. Dry and flaky skins can cause itchiness of the breasts. Some mothers experience dry nipples just after the first few days of starting breastfeeding.
Minor cracking and overall dryness is something which all new mothers deal with. The suboptimal positioning and the overall adjustment is what make the nipple dry. This results in itchiness.
Paget ’s disease
Though very rare but paget’s disease symptoms can cause itchy nipples. However, there are other symptoms associated with it. Like for instance a flattened nipple, untimely discharge from nipples and lumps will be visible. Normally itchy nipples or itchy breasts are not the only symptoms of this disease.
Natural Remedies of Itchy Breasts
Itchy breasts caused due to regular infections and dry skins can be treated with the help of various natural remedies.
If the cause of the itchiness is eczema or fungal infection, then cleaning your breast and nipples with coconut oil is a very good remedy. The antimicrobial property of coconut oil will definitely help you get an eventual relief from the itchiness.
Similar results can also be obtained if and when tree oil is being applied on the affected area. Keep your breasts moisturized by this oil. Take one tablespoon of oil and gently apply it on your breasts for 3-4 minutes. Repeat the process every 2 hours to ensure moisture level of the breasts.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar always restores back the lost ph level in your skin. They are harmless without any known side effects. The mild acidic nature helps in killing any sort of yeast or fungus.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties. They tend to kill off the infection in your breast. It also cleanses your skin and protects you from further spread of any infection. Oatmeal also has anti-irritant compounds. That is why it is good for your overall skin.
Aloe Vera is pretty well known for its soothing property of an irritated skin. The vitamin and the mineral contents are very high and for that reason it has very good healing power. So, if your breast or nipple skin is broken or bruised then Aloe Vera juice comes to be very handy.
Witch hazel can also heal your bruises or itchiness when applied to the affected area. In any case pure witch hazel should be applied. Soak a cotton ball with witch hazel and then dap it softly on the affected spots.
When to see the doctor?
If the cause of the irritation is minor bacterial infection or dry skin then natural remedies are sufficient. However, sometimes the causes can be much more serious even the early signs of breast cancer.
In such cases you need to visit the doctor. Check out for the following indications to understand the nature of the problem:
- The breast itchiness is so bad that it is giving you sleepless nights. No matter how much moisturizing you are doing the itchiness persists.
- The scratching is breaking your skin further and it is leading to further infection.
- There are oozing and discharge from the affected areas and even from your nipples.
- There are red patches on your itchy breast. You breast feels warm and it is tender to touch.
These are all signs of something more serious and hence they demand serious medical interventions. Do not waste any time in consulting with the doctor, if any of the above mentioned signs is visible.