When you hear of nipple pain, you probably start thinking women and their menstrual cycle again, or perhaps it is part of their ovulation cycle, or maybe it is related one way or another to women.
Well, I have got news for you. It is not only women that deal or have to deal with nipple pain. Some men likewise also deal with these kinds of pain, and it is not a strange thing either. Men do get sensitive nipples, bleeding from their breast region, chafing as well as other very painful symptoms.
Once you as a man begin to experience this, you will most likely freak out but don’t. There are many reasons why that could be happening to you hence the importance of this article. These signs could be medically related or not. However, if it is medically related, we suggest that you go ahead to a doctor.
There are several reasons why your nipples could hurt as a man, and the good news is that it is usually very treatable and preventable. Here are some reasons why you could be having pains in your nipple especially if you are a man.
1. Your work clothes are wrong
According to the assistant professor of emergency medicine at North Wealth, Dr Robert Glatter, he says that the friction caused by clothes which are probably on too tight and are associated with running, or exercise is what commonly causes nipple pain in men.
There is even a name for this kind of pain, and it is called the Runner’s Nipple. Asides the pain felt in the nipples, one could probably experience what is known as skin breakdown or chaffing and this will also may cause bleeding.
Not only runners develop this kind of nipple pain says, Dr Robert. Men who engage in a lot of exercises with so many horizontal and/or vertical movements will likely develop nipple pain. Soccer players, gymnasts, rugby players, boxers etc. are always at risk of this pain.
If you always wear a tightly fitted shirt, tank top or singlet that isn’t made of lycra, you will most likely develop skin breakdown. Another reason why you might develop the runner’s nipple could be the shape of your nipple.
If your nipple is more pointed, it will always come in contact with clothing, and if you are in this category, wearing of a tightly fitted cloth is a no-no for you else you just might be causing your nipple skin to bruise causing pain and bleeding.
It’s pretty much easy to avoid runner’s nipple. Do not wear tight fitted clothes especially as an athlete. If you must wear them, use a nipple guard, and if you don’t have this, you can improvise using a band-aid. This would help prevent your skin from chafing.
2. You just might be having cloth allergy
Are you surprised there is something known as fabric or cloth allergy? Don’t be. Even if you are not an athlete, you might find yourself having nipple pain or chafing. If your cloth is newly purchased, and your nipples start to hurt, you just might be having what is known as Fabric allergy.
Usually, cotton clothes are almost always coarse and chemically treated in nature. This may cause your skin to become overly sensitive, and this would manifest as a fabric allergy, or it can cause contact dermatitis.
If you already have a history of eczema or any other skin disease, you are more at risk of this kind of allergy. There are extreme cases which have been recorded to cause hives, blisters, dry skin, skin burn and so on.
If you are experiencing a fabric allergy, you might probably notice that your nipples become red or may even start to scale, alongside the formation of blisters that contains fluid and it may also look like a burn.
Once you notice that you have developed this, you need to identify the exact cause of this and the piece of cloth that is causing this. Once you have identified it, avoid wearing that particular cloth, apply an ointment to help cool off the skin and then visit your physician.
Also, you should consider limiting the amount of wool fabric you wear. This is because fabrics made with wool have a tendency to cause the build-up of sweat, and moisture which will always lead to skin irritation.
Wool has always been seen to cause nipple insensitivity. If you must wear wool, wear a cotton shirt under which can absorb sweat and moisture.
3. Nipple infection
Yes, you read right. Nipple infection is actually a thing. A nipple infection can be caused as a result of irritation developed while you engage in skin grooming processes such as trimming or while using a razor on the hair over the skin covering the nipple.
According to Dr Robert, lacerations and puncture type injuries can be caused when using sharp scissors for your hair trimming. This can also cause injury to the areola and the nipple which can cause nipple pain and bleeding, and this is because there are so many blood vessels and nerves which are passing through the areola and the nipple.
As a result of this lacerations, an infection can enter into the body. Once you start developing warmth around the breast region, tenderness and/or swelling, you should endeavour to visit your physician.
Once you begin experiencing fever and chills, then you should urgently visit your doctor as this could mean the infection had started to spread.
4. Could it be gynecomastia
Gynecomastia occurs as a result of the development of excess fatty tissue in the breast region. During puberty, as a result of the female hormones such as estrogen, females develop extra breast tissue more than the males.
However, if as a male due to the hormonal imbalance you might be experiencing, there is a tendency that you might develop extra breast tissue and this condition is known as Gynecomastia.
Asides hormonal imbalance, gynecomastia can be caused as a result of abuse of medications or alcohol intake. According to Robert, it is not uncommon to see adolescent males who have gynecomastia.
For adolescents, however, the good news is that within 1 or 2years, the issue resolves itself in its own without the use of drugs or any surgical procedure or intervention. It is not so common in adult males. However, some adult males still develop this condition.
According to Mayo Clinic, the risks of adult men developing this condition increases with age. Men who use drugs such as Valium, Xanax, and so on are usually more at risk. Also, due to the presence of phytoestrogens which is present in alcohol, heavy alcohol drinkers also would develop this condition.
4. Nipple cysts might be the culprit
It is not only women who develop nipple cysts. Men also develop nipple cysts as well as well as an underlying breast tissue infection, dryness or chaffed nipple. This could be due to having a history of skin diseases such as eczema or an excessively cold weather condition.
These conditions could cause a break in the skin tissue, cracks and/openings on the skin which would cause infections to enter the skin covering the nipple. Once this occurs, it could lead to cellulitis or mastitis.
5. Breast Cancer could be the culprit
Those nipple pains you are experiencing could be as a result of something more. It could be an indication of breast cancer. According to Dr Robert, when you have a lump or mass in your breast or even a thickened breast tissue, this could be an indication that you may be having breast cancer.
We must emphasise at this point that it is sporadic however not uncommon for males to develop breast cancer. Most times, the lumps felt in the breast are tender however not so painful.
Once cancer spreads, you would observe swelling under the armpits, associated lymph nodes, or it could always go as far as under the collarbone. In the most extreme cases, if cancer had progressed into its late stages, one may begin to experience open sores.
6. Paget disease
Paget disease of the breast is a very rare type of cancer. Normally, Paget disease always targets the nipple or the areola. This will, therefore, cause the area to have flaky skin which will after a while become itchy and crusty.
It is easy to confuse these symptoms with other skin conditions such as eczema hence these can cause there to be a misdiagnosis. Most people who have the Paget disease will develop tumors and cancer masses in their breast condition. Although the exact cause of this condition is unknown, researchers are still carrying out studies to find out the reason for this condition.
If after a while your nipple sensitivity or pain doesn’t resolve itself or doesn’t go even after taking mild medications, this should indicate that it is time for you to visit your doctor. Also, it is not only women who are advised to carry out self-examination. Men as well are encouraged to carry out breast examination on themselves.
Check for lumps, masses, and any tenderness around the breast, areola and nipples.