Why Do My Nipples Hurt?

Why Do My Nipples Hurt?

July 05, 2019

The nipples are considered to be one of the most erogenous zones of the body. They are easily stimulated and easily irritated, and there are many reasons why someone may find his or her nipples hurting from time to time. One of the most common causes of nipple pain is wearing tight or ill-fitting undergarments and clothing. Both men and women experience nipple pain, as well as bleeding, chafing, and other pain symptoms but these are usually preventable and treatable. Here, we list other causes of nipple pain.

Wrong Workout Clothes

Friction of clothing associated with running or exercise is one of the most common causes of pain in men. It is usually called “runner’s nipple” because the condition speaks for itself. It can also cause chafing or skin breakdown, and even bleeding. People who engage in exercises with vertical and or horizontal movements including soccer, rugby, plyometrics, boxing, and Zumba, among others, are more prone to getting nipple pain if they’re not wearing proper clothing.

New Clothing or Fabric Allergy

Even if you’re not an athlete, you can still get nipple pain from friction, especially if you have new clothes. Coarse fabrics as well as those that are chemically treated may lead to greater sensitivity manifested as allergy. People with a history of eczema or dry skin, are more likely to experience itching and nipple pain. Extreme cases involve hives, swelling, and oozing blisters that resemble a burn. If these develop, it is a good idea to apply cool compresses and consult your doctor for a more appropriate medication if needed. 

Nipple Infection

An infection may occur from irritation and from either trimming or using a razor on nipple hairs. Injury to the nipple and aureolar tissue can lead to bleeding and pain, since the tissue has blood vessels and nerves coursing through it. Extreme conditions may include fever with chills, which warrant an urgent visit to the ER.


Gynecomastia occurs when there’s excess fatty tissue in the breasts of males. It can come from a few physiological reasons such as an imbalance in the ratio between estrogen and testosterone, as well as from lifestyle factors such as alcohol and medication use. Gynecomastia commonly resolves on its own in 1-2 years without medications or need for surgery. 


Men can develop cysts if nipples are dry or chafed, either due to cold weather or a history of eczema. This leads to cracks and small openings in exposed skin on the nipples, allowing skin bacteria to enter.

Breast Cancer

Nipple pain could be a sign of something more serious like breast cancer. A painless lump or thickened breast tissue in rare cases may be a sign of breast cancer in males. 

Paget Disease

This is a rare form of cancer, and it usually affects the nipple and areola, causing flaky, crusty or itchy skin surrounding the area. These are similar to symptoms of eczema, which is one of the reasons why it gets misdiagnosed. If nipple sensitivity and pain do not improve, consult your doctor before it could develop into a more serious problem.

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