Why Are Nipples Sore To Touch Sometimes? 9 Possible Causes You Need To Know

Do you ever wonder why nipples are sore to touch sometimes? In a woman’s entire life, there is one or many times that she experiences this kind of “phenomenon”.

However, there are multitudes of explanations how and why nipples are sore to touch sometimes, and some of the reasons are yet alarming and need to be examined more thoroughly by doctors and experts.

Nipples are a wonderful creation because it gives us pleasure to some extent. But because our nipples are sensitive, minor issue concerning our nipples could give us extreme discomfort.

Here, we are giving you the detailed list of basic reasons why nipples are sore to touch, their underlying causes and their possible remedies.

#1. Wearing Ill-Fitting or Tight Bras

Wearing a wrong bra size is one of the most common causes of nipple misery.

Remember that in ancient times, bras are unknown. Wearing of bras came only in the latter part of our history.

It is good to note that bras’ main purpose is to support the weight of breasts for the heavy chested women. Because the weight of breasts for those women who are gifted with large breasts usually makes the breasts painful and causes discomfort.

However, wearing a wrong bra size can not only cause breast discomfort, it also causes nipple sore.According to experts on freedomtoheal.org, wearing a loose bra causes frequent friction of your nipples to your undergarments, and wearing a too tight bra squeezes your nipples. Both cause pain and discomfort of your nipples.


  • Wear a right-fitting bra at all times.
  • When at home or any place you’re staying, try to be bra-less.
  • Never wear a bra to sleep

#2. Menstrual Cycle


A number of women often experience having sore nipples when their period is about to come. This is because in this time of the month women’s bodies boost estrogen and progesterone hormones level. And with it is the “expansion and widening of a woman’s breasts.” This makes the nipples hurt.


  • Give it some more days. The pain will just go away without doing anything.

#3. Pregnancy


Pregnant women are prone to feeling soreness of their nipples. Experts, according to livescience.com, say “their changing bodies are producing more estrogen, which facilitates the growth of breasts and the eventual production of milk.

Estrogen increases the amount of blood circulating through the body, and when combined with progesterone and other hormones, it can cause nipples to become sore and ultrasensitive.”

I, personally, experience this during my first child pregnancy. It really felt discomfort, but as my OB-Gyne advised me to just let it be, as it will go away soon.


  • Give it some time, it won’t last anyway. There will be some days in your pregnancy when your nipples won’t hurt.
  • If it’s unbearable, try to consult your OB Gynecologist

#4. Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding can obviously make your nipples sore. Especially to first time “breastfeeders”.Breastfeeding for some women causes cracking and bleeding of nipples.

The explanation, according to livescience.com is: “as a newborn baby learns to latch onto his or her mother's breasts, the mother's nipples and areolar tissue stretch, causing tenderness of the nipples.”


#5. Breast Infection (Mastitis)

This event usually occurs to mothers who are breastfeeding since most often, their nipples are cracked or broken. Bacteria enter the skin through a broken skin tissue in the nipples. It can make your nipples itchy and painful when touched if left untreated.


  • Wash your nipples with soap and runner water regularly.
  • A dose of antibiotic helps, but make sure to consult your physician first before taking any.
  • This may sound icky but try to use cabbage leaves. They contain sulfur compounds that helps reduce inflammation and swelling due to breast infection.

#6. Yeast Infection (Thrush)


When you experience severe and sudden pain and itchiness in your nipples and you’re breastfeeding, the usual culprit is yeast infection. Yeast infection, same as bacterial infection, occurs when the nipples are cracked or broken.

Yeast infection is caused by yeast fungus.


  • Yeast infection cannot be suppressed by antibiotics, in fact, antibiotics contribute to yeast infection. So don’t take antibiotics when you suspect you have thrush.
  • Avoid wearing ill-fitting garments as this will cause friction and promotes chaffing of protective layers of the nipple making fungus easily attack the nipples.
  • Regularly clean your nipples with soap and warm water, where the water temperature is bearable.
  • You can apply topical cream or ointment or oral anti-fungal medicines.

#7. Eczema And Other Skin Diseases


Skin rashes or allergies, dermatitis, and eczema on the nipples are also a common cause of nipple pain. These result to flaky, itchy, breaking of skin in nipples and chaffy nipples, which become very painful if left untreated.


  • Try to find out what causes or triggers your allergy or eczema and avoid it.
  • Regularly wash with warm water, it suppresses the cause of allergies or eczema.
  • Apply moisturizer on your nipples to prevent extreme dryness that causes flaking and chaffing. Better yet, apply water-based petroleum jellies, they are better in locking up moisture in the skin.

#8. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that affects the muscles and bones. It causes tissues and muscles to become tender which results to nipple pain. Since there is no known cause for this disorder, it’s better to have yourself checked to the doctors and specialists.


  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen or tramadol (this one needs doctor’s prescription) will lessen its painful effect to your nipples and other areas which are affected by this disorder.
  • Consult a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

​#9. Breast Cancer


This maybe the most feared cause of nipple pain.

Breast cancer, specifically Paget’s disease, can cause severe nipple pain.

Breast cancer has no known and definitive cause. However, there are several factors that experts believe are great contributors to breast cancer.

Factors that contribute to breast cancer development:

  • Old age – According to studies, the older the woman gets, the higher she is likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Genes - those who are carrier of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Obesity – According to studies on medicalnewstoday.com, overweight women are at high risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Estrogen hormone exposure – In the same studies, women who are exposed longer to estrogen hormones are at high risk for the disease.
  • Dense breast – Those people who observe their breasts are denser have more likely to a candidate for breast cancer.
  • Graveyard shift – There is no definitive studies to conclude its relationship to breast cancer. But based on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)’s 2010 experiment revealed that it is “probably carcinogenic” to work that disturbs our body clock.


  • Regularly have your breasts examined.
  • Immediately see a breast cancer specialist.
  • Surgery and chemotherapy.

Final Thought

It is important to know what causes your nipple sore to touch. The reasons could even help you save your life because nipple sore could be a symptom of an underlying and deadly disease.

If you find this article informative and helpful, please leave a comment below. And don’t miss to spread this article to your friends.

Megan P. Richardson

My name is Megan P. Richardson and I am a mother to 3 lovely kids. I am also the founder of Kudkid- a blog I created as a gift to my kids. I love discussing about fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice and sharing them to help you through pregnancy, birth and raising your kids. After all everybody including Cinderella needs a fairy Godmother to help her get through the arduous tasks of day-to-day life. If not through the swish of a magic wand, at least through my blog you could find a helping hand to make life easier. Thanks for visiting my website and if you have any questions, please Contact me, I’d like to hear from you!

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