Causes of Nipple and Breast Pain
Sore and painful nipples can result from:
- Nipple cracks
- Milk blister
Cracked nipples are usually caused by bad latch, wrong positioning, thrush, problems with breast pump or baby bites. Nipple cracks may also start bleeding. Cracked or bleeding nipples can be relieved by pure lanolin, salt water rinse and with breast milk, since it is a natural antibiotic.
Blanching is whitening of the nipples.
Vasospasm refers to blood vessel spasm leading to Vasoconstriction. It causes pain during breastfeeding.
Milk blister causes severe pain in nursing.
Painful breasts can be caused by:
- Blocked duct
Thrush or yeast infection is usually caused by mother or baby taking antibiotics or yeast infection inside baby’s mouth. Symptoms include shooting pain in the breasts during or after nursing, itchy or burning nipples and pink/red nipples.
Mastitis represents inflammation of the breast and affects every fifth woman in US. Symptoms include fever, headache and flu-like achy symptoms.
Blocked duct develops when milk is prevented from passing through the ducts to the nipple. Pain is usually localized to one breast or one area of the breast.
Engorgement is feeling of fullness in breasts. It is caused by increased volume of produced milk and increased blood flow to breasts.
Nipple sensitivity normally occurs when mother starts nursing her baby. Nipples are then more sensitive or tender than usual. This problem generally resolves several days after childbirth. If this continues after the first postpartum week it is often caused by nipple injury. Nipple injury such as bruise, crack or blister can lead to more painful nursing.
Causes of sore nipples are often inappropriate positioning of baby or problems with latching. Tongue tie, or akyloglossia, can also be the cause of sore nipples. It is a short frenulum in babies that reduces extension of the tongue and due to this poor compression of the milk ducts in the breasts. By procedure called frenotomy that is done to release short frenulum, latch is improved, thereby pain is considerably relieved. Sore nipples can result from yeast infection. Yeast infection can be developed because of nipple injury or baby’s thrush. In this case mother can be treated with antifungal creams or oral medications and baby with nystatin.
Sore Nipple Treatment
Sore nipples can be treated with topical ointment. This can be combination of antibiotic ointment, steroid ointment and antifungal powder. Moist healing is also recommended for treating sore nipples. This includes purified lanolin or hydrogel dressing.