Nipple Pain: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Nipple pain is pain that occurs in the breast tissue around the area of the nipple. Nipple pain can be associated with other symptoms and signs that may include breast pain, nipple discharge, breast lump or mass, itching, or skin changes. Breast cancer typically does not cause nipple pain or breast pain, although inflammatory breast cancer can be associated with redness, warmth, and swelling of the breast. Infections of the skin of the breast or of the breast tissue itself can cause nipple pain. Trauma from any origin, including sexual activity or tight or poorly fitting undergarments, can irritate the skin of the nipple, leading to pain or soreness. Breastfeeding can in some cases lead to chafing or chapped nipples that may be sore. The breasts overall, including the nipples, may be sore or tender at certain times in the menstrual cycle (typically just before the start of the menstrual period) or in early pregnancy.

Other causes of nipple pain


16 Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy: Could You Be Pregnant? See Slideshow

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Pregnancy & Newborns Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.