Why Women’s Nipples Hurt, According to Marion

July 20, 2022

You’ve probably experienced some sort of pain or soreness on your nipples before, but contrary to whatever your Google search results say — no, you’re not dying.

Nipple pain can involve any form of tenderness or aching, throbbing, tingling, or burning sensations. It’s actually quite common and often not due to anything serious.

Here’s a list of the possible reasons your nipples hurt, according to Dr Marion Ogunmola, a medical doctor specialising in internal medicine.

1. Friction

If you keep an active lifestyle, you may experience friction with your choice of clothing. If you exercise with thick cotton clothing or without a good sports bra, your nipples may hurt. Even if you aren’t a fitness buff, friction resulting from poorly fitted bras is a genuine possibility. 

This can be managed by sticking to adequately fitted bras. If you’re not a fan of bras, make sure to use light, well-fitted clothing or athletic tape to reduce the friction.


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2. Rough sexual encounters

You may like it rough in the other room, but if foreplay gets too harsh and leads to too much friction, you may notice soreness in your nipples.

You can manage this by communicating with your partner. After all, no be fight. Or use a warm compress to relieve the pain on the affected nipple. However, keep in mind that nipple pain will most likely go away on its own when the cause has been eliminated.

3. Breastfeeding

This is the commonest reason for hurting nipples, and to be honest — nothing prepares you for the initial pain of breastfeeding. The nipples aren’t used to that much pressure, so there’ll be some pain at the beginning, especially for new mothers.

The nipples can also become painful due to poor latch — where the nipple is stuck between the hard palate of the baby’s mouth. So that every time the baby sucks, it becomes clamped between the palate and the tongue. 

Affected women can use baby-friendly lubricants on their nipples to soothe the pain. They still have to breastfeed — even when it hurts to prevent engorged breasts and even more pain — but must ensure the baby latches on properly. When latching is done right, breastfeeding eventually becomes less painful.

4. Infection

This is a less-common cause, but infections like candidiasis can cause itchy and painful nipples. While it’s rare, the pain can be due to suppressed immune functions caused by prolonged antibiotic use or other underlying diseases, consistent wet clothing — yeast thrives in dark and moist places — and even breastfeeding.

Treatment typically involves using anti-fungal medication. In the case of infection due to breastfeeding, check your baby for oral thrush so you can treat both simultaneously. 

5. Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes during your period can also cause nipple pain — as if we needed another reason to hate on periods. This type of pain is cyclical and only occurs when the red lady shows up.

Yay… so fun

Such pain can be managed using over-the-counter pain medication and adequately supporting bras during your period.


It’s important to note that your nipples can either hurt on their own or be associated with breast pain. If you also experience breast pain, please consult your doctor.


NEXT READ: Six Nigerian Women Share Their Experiences Visiting Male and Female Gynaecologists

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