Do you wince every time you put on your bra because your nipples are sore? Are sore nipples interfering with your sex life? Yes, sore nipples are a common complaint among women in perimenopause and menopause, and you can take steps to ease that discomfort.
What are sore nipples?
Sore nipples are typically a symptom of hormonal changes, including pregnancy, menstruation, perimenopause, and menopause. Along with soreness, you may experience itching, burning, redness, swelling, stabbing pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, or changes in the texture of your skin around the nipple.
Other factors can cause sore nipples as well. Irritation from clothing, allergies (e.g., to laundry detergent, soap), use of hormonal birth control, and breastfeeding are other possible causes. In rare cases, it’s a sign of breast cancer.
How are sore nipples associated with menopause?
Once again, we can blame fluctuating and declining hormone levels on sore nipples. The good news is that your nipples will most likely stop being sore and painful once you have reached menopause and transition into postmenopause. Some women then experience decreased nipple sensation once they are in postmenopause.
If you are taking hormone replacement therapy, sore nipples is a common side effect. If you experience this symptom after starting therapy to help with perimenopause or menopause symptoms, it may be the cause.
How you can manage sore nipples naturally
- For some women, changing their bra to something more supportive and/or softer may help.
- Applying a warm, moist cloth also may provide some relief.
- If your nipples are also dry and cracked, you can apply coconut or extra virgin olive oil and massage it in gently. You can put a small, flat cotton pad in your bra to cover the nipple area so the oil won’t stain.
- Breast shells, which are sometimes by nursing moms, help keep clothing from touching your nipples.
- Some research indicates that applying calendula cream provides relief for sore, cracked nipples.
When to call your doctor
If your sore nipples are accompanied by lumps or a discharge, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Also see your doctor if your sore nipples show signs of infection, such as redness or inflammation.
Sore nipples are common in perimenopause and menopause, but they typically go away once women reach postmenopause.