Painful nipples can occur in many women at various moments of their lives, no matter what age they are. They may have different causes, such as puberty, PMS, menstruation, post-ovulation, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause.
Although painful nipples are a quite common problem, and usually no object of concern, they may sometimes be symptoms of more serious health conditions. If you experience any nipple discharge, accompanied by a more severe and prolonged nipple pain and fever, consult your doctor to find out the cause.
Listed below are some of the most common reasons why your nipples may hurt.
Breast Development and Puberty
Breast development is one of the first signs of puberty, which is the time of growth and great hormonal changes in the girl’s body. The breast glands and the fat tissue begin to grow and the nipples start to expand and swell.
These hormonal and physical changes may cause breasts and nipples to become very sensitive and painful. When first menstrual periods occur, pain can even increase.
Ovulation usually occurs in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle, although it may vary from woman to woman. Many women experience breast and nipple soreness before, during and after ovulation, due to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
1. During ovulation, the body begins to prepare itself for possible pregnancy by enlarging the mammary glands (glands that produce milk), and this can cause breast and nipple tenderness and soreness.
2. The raise of the post-ovulation progesterone hormone instead causes water retention in the body. The main reason for this is to prepare the uterus for possible conception and pregnancy and make it ready to host the embryo. In this period the uterus, in fact, becomes full of water and food. Unfortunately, the water is retained also in breast tissues, causing them to stretch and hurt. This is the reason nipples become sore and painful.
During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels continue to increase and this also causes breasts and nipples to become more sensitive and painful.
In fact, high levels of estrogen cause breast enlargement by increasing the amount of breast tissue, while high progesterone levels make breasts fill up with water. All these changes help prepare breasts for lactation.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency are main causes of breast and nipple pain during the PMS. In this period, the progesterone levels in your body are not high enough to balance the estrogen hormones, and this may lead to many physical and psychological disorders.
Elevated levels of estrogen are, in fact, responsible for many PMS symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, cramps, headache, and breast and nipple tenderness.
The menopausal syndrome is caused by wildly fluctuating hormone levels, which may lead to many physical and psychological conditions such as breast tenderness, irregular menstruation, hot flashes, headaches, weight gain, bloating, mood changes, etc.
Menopause occurs when the woman permanently stops menstruating and ovulating. In this period of her life, very little amounts of progesterone are produced in the body, while the estrogen overload is quite common. This can cause very painful breast and terribly sore nipples.
However, huge changes that occur in the woman’ body during later menopause will also lead to a significant decrease of estrogen levels, causing other physical and mental stresses that will disappear over time.
Other Factors that May Cause Your Nipples to Hurt
- Jogger’s nipple:
Continuous movement of breasts, as well as the friction of fabric against the nipples may also cause dryness and soreness of nipples. You should always wear bras with proper support!
- Fatty acids imbalance:
An imbalance of fatty acids within cells may lead to breast tissue sensitivity and cause breast pain. In fact, fatty acids imbalances can greatly affect hormonal levels in your body, which in turn can significantly increase breast tenderness.
- Medications (contraceptives, hormone replacement drugs, and certain antidepressants)
- Pain in the heart and chest
More serious causes:
More serious causes of nipple pain include specific health disorders such as certain inflammations and infections, and in more severe cases even Paget’s disease and cancer.
Paget’s disease of the breast, also known as Paget’s disease of the nipple, is a rare type of breast cancer that is characterized by soreness, redness, pain and itching of the nipples and the surrounding area. It is often associated with an underlying breast cancer and it rarely affects only the nipple. It is a rather rare disease, but if you however experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Hopefully this post has helped you learn a little bit more about possible causes of breast and nipple pain, as well as understand that it is a very common and normal problem among many women. In most cases, it is really no cause for worry. If you have any thoughts or concerns to share, please let us know in the comment section below.
116 thoughts on What Does it Mean When Your Nipples Hurt
I’m experiencing nipple pain and when I lay on my right side my left side hurts. What could this mean?
I had exactly the same thing this morning. The pain was really bad it was like a pinching pain. Im peri menopausal but im also still mensturating and im due my period in a week so i thought that maybe its a combination of all these making my nipples hyper sensitive and that ive probably lain on them and/knocked them some way &thats whats caused the pain.
My nipples are really sore and they are brown I don’t understand ?
What might cause this because some people a scaring me by telling me that am pregnant.
You have never had sex with a guy, no sperm has entered the v area … There’s no way that could be possible. (Being Prego)
Has this been happening everytime you lay down?
If not, I would consider it being growing pains every now and than. You can ask your doctor about this. My nipples have been hurting too, but not when I lay down. My nipples have become very sensitive. For example; I got punched in my nipple. Now that, would be very painful. My nipples have also thickened, which bothers me badly, but I know it’s signs of puberty. It could be signs of puberty to you also. If you ever have your period, it can grow to more pain. I’m guessing that your nipples arw thickening if you haven’t hit puberty yet.
My right boob it always been bigger, but is been like two days that my nipples been hurting mis sensible when I touch it.. Am scar what can it be??
I have the same problem right now it started yesterday. My right tit is bigger than the left and so my nipple hurts but i can feel a little( tension hurt)and its probably because i been feeling cramps its would b cause am almost getting my raggg (period)= .
My nipples hart all the time and so dos my belly i dont no why
Did u ever find cuse I am haveing the same pain
Its two weeks now my nipples have been painfull and they black black in coulor
You might be pregnant dear
Go to the doctor! If your nipples hurt for more than 2 weeks it means something is wrong. Make sure to get your breast checked for cancer and anything else.
It has really bin a long tym since my breast aches and stretch.
I have visited d hospital not just once but d doctor told me that nothing was wrong but up till now i still experience d pain.
What do i do
its about two weeks after my ovulation , i hd cramps breast enlargement , nipple soreness , skin allerg , sleepness and sometime headache i don kmow why
hey my nipples hve been sore 4 a couple of weeks an they are painful when i move my clothes i was breastfeeding an now i cant coz its 2 tender an also iv got a cut on the nipple its dischrg s browny i thnk an doesnt smell very nyce what can that be
Go to the doctor! It sounds like you could have an infection!
Mastitis is what that sounds like to me. I breastfeed and once the nipple is injured you can get an infection.
My nipple started hurting last week and they are so sore. I tried putting ice on them but they still hurt. Any advice?
Seeing puberty can also cause this,will it ever stop? Like when u stop growing..
I started menstrating two days ago and my breasts are full and my nipple brings out water am i pregnant.
Hi I’m 22 yrs old and have never experienced any pain in my nipples until recently, I don’t know what to do, plz help!
Just my nipples are very very sore to the touch and i know im not pregnant, also i dont have my period for another 2 weeks. Im curious as to what this could be. Could someone please tell me what it could be?
My nipples hurt and is bringing out water. What could be the cause?
Carolyne,have you seen a doctor?You should see one if you haven’t.I can’t explain the browny discharge but I think the doctor will.Cheers
Mu nipple started having a burning pain and now have wound on the nipple went to the hospital they said its normal what could this be please help.
hey,guys m 17 years old! my nipples started to hurt a couple ov days ago. I have been feeling the pain wen eva I touch them. is everythn f9 wid me?
I am 35 and married and not had sex for last 5 weeks. I am not having babies. But my nipples are hurting badly and on close examination I found some small boils on it. I don’t know what it is and why its paining? kindly reply
I’m 17 almost 18 years old and iv only recently started noticing that my nipples hurt every time I touch them, my partner and I have had sex without a condom as Iam on the needle for my period but have actually missed my last app for the updated needle, and have had a bit of bloching for a few days an now I don’t have my period at all. could the signs of my nipples hurting be that I’m pregnant ? /: pls help
u did sex!!! So how can u get periods?
You are pregnant now,and u can’t get periods
my nipple and my whole breast hurts what do i do? i am 20
my nipples and whole breast hurt plz help me when ever I touch them or my shirt or bra touches them what do I do
I’m sixteen, turning seventeen in about a month, my nipples are really sore, no matter what whether I’m moving around alittle bit just sitting still, they hurt, even if I gently touch them and they hurt if I put on a bra, or if I adjust my clothing without wearing my bra, I’m virgin so I know I’m not pregnant, I don’t have my period not for another week and half ,I have a couple bumps close to my nipples, i’ve looked at the signs of breast cancer, but I’m not sure, and I’m scared to death of what may be wrong with me and I could use some advice ASAP, please reply to me! Please help me.
I have the same thing. But I don’t have normal periods. Have them every other month or two months. Ur boobs are just growing. U don have breast cancer. But if it makes u feel safer, ask ur mom to take u to a doctor or OBGYN where they can check ur breast. I go and they always check and let me know. So I’m sure nothings wrong. Ur just developing more
Im sixteen.. and i don’t have nipples!!! but I have a pair of normal sized boobs.. :( what should i do?
I don’t have a nipple either so i wen to the dr and they said is normal is call converted breasts is tottaly normal
Am suppos to have seen my period two weeks ago but I stil havnt till now, and ever since den I’v been having serious pains in my neeples. I don’t knw wat dis pains ar all about…could I possibli b pregenant or some kind of infection. It realy hurts
My nipples are so sore…is there something that can help this???
Hi, I’m 15 going on 16 and my nipples have been hurting very badly for the past few hours. I haven’t had a period in about half a year and I’m a virgin so I know I’m not pregnant. Even moving around hurts them. What should I do? — Kailee
hi. just recently, i experienced the hurt on my right nipple. i am scared because this is the first time i feel this. I am 30 years old, with one child. Is there something i can use to ease the pain? like ointment or whatever?
hello, it’s me again, annabelle. Could it be possible that my nipple hurt because it is always been accidentally kicked by my one year old when we play or when he bumps his head to my chest.
My nipple have been hurting for the past 2wks, I’m not sure on why if I haven’t had sex since Feb and I’m on the Merina birth control. It’s like they hurt more at night than they do during the day. I do have a 15m old but I only breast fed the first 2m.
My boyfriend and i had AMAZING sex yesterday and now my nipples are hurting for no reason and earlier my stomach was hurting so bad that if felt like someone was punching me HARD in it, could i be pregnant? i mean he wore a condom and he pulled out when he came…
noo. you wouldn’t experience the pain that soon. but just so you know, pulling out doesnt prevent pregnancy. pre cum (before actual ejaculation) can get you pregnant as well!
I’m going 70 years old this 15 july. I ‘m experiencing pain from the immediate base of and my nipple (both left and right).It began on the second week of April’13. Is this something that I should be so concerned? Please advise. Thanks a lot.
I will be 60 in a couple weeks and still having regular periods. And my boobs and nipples really hurt. And itch!! i’m very uncomfortable.
My nipples hurt when they are touched…
My nipple and entire breast hurts for about a week now I haven’t experienced this before am 24yrs.what can that be pls ?I need help
i’m 21 years old,and i had a hurt when i was kid,something struck my nipple and now the black part have been come out :’( is it ok??
I have been on hormone treatment for 15 years…stopped it last August……just recently my nipples hurt….not sore just hurt…..any suggestions please
My breast are swollen and my nipple is extending outward and becoming disfigured. I had a partial hysterectomy last year and my breasts and nipples hurt. Should I seek a doctor or chalk it up to hormones?
Ok I am 19 I have missed my last shot and don’t have a period and my nipples have done nothing but hurt non stop I have taken four pregnancy tests and they all can back negative what do I need
Hey I’m 21 year’s old for the past 2 days my right nipple is sore to the touch now it’s day. 2 and both are severaly painful I do have a lot of help problems with my stomach ..what could it be
Hello, i’m a 65 year old woman and yesterday outa the blue my nipples are so sore… HELP
I woke up nd found out dat my nipple hurts rilli bad,i’ve got no discharge,redness or itching…but it still hurts,nd i alredi had my menstruation for this months….i still cn’t understand what is wrong..nd aven’t ad sex,so i’m positive i’m nt pregnant….
Hi,am 23yrs.i have being having pain on my nipple for a week now.I suppose to hv seen my menses abt 2weeks now.done 5 pregnancy test both urine nd blood test,still turns out negative.pls any idea on what’s wrong with me
It’s been 3 weeks since I hadn’t had my pd but My breast been hurting and on my right side there’s a hard ball but not on my left and my right is sore and both my nipples are sore to touch and move. And also my chest hurts like it feels bruise and my heart feels like I’m on a roller coaster! Do anybody know what’s wrong wid me I got an App. In Aug but I don’t want it getting worse… Any suggest? -Aura
I’m 11 and my nipple hurted when I stand up
It could be cancer you need to go to your doctor because it could be really serious
Hi I’m 22 and only hast last period for two or three days and thought I might be pregnant but had a pregnancy test done at home and the docs so I could get birth control and it was negative. My nipples have been super sore, not my boobs though and I have a milky white discharge that’s odorless…. Am I pregnant!?! My fiancé would be ecstatic but I’m still a little nervous about the idea. Any thoughts?
My nipples are hurtin alot and i dont knoe why it hurts to touch them n when they r n my bra they hurt bad
Hi, im a 20 year old young women and hav been expericening nippel pain, i knw im not preggas as i not long come off my period, i dont hav discarge frm my boob either, i hav seeked advice and found that, as a young women still growning my boobs are growin to, in result of this i found that bras that are to small for u can cause soreness to the nippel and is a common thing
Is it possible for your nipples to hurt and to be very painful if you have stopped using birth control? I have been using birth control for about a year and I ran out at the beginning of last month, so I have been off/out of it for a while, would that have anything to do with my nipple pain/ soreness? Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated, Thank You! ^_^
usually when your nipples hurt its because they are starting to grow
Hi, my nipples hurt so bad every time i touch them, i was on depo provera injection for just three months i later stopped using it as i have seen so much changes in my body,its been two to three months i stopped using it i have not seen my menstruation ever since, and yes i have been having sex with my husband, last week i checked if am pregnant and the result came negative. what could course my nipples to hurt this bad.
I Am 16 And I Had Sex About A Month Ago And I Just Finished My Period But I Have Pain In My Nipples And In My Stomach I Think Their Cramps But I Wouldn’t Know Because I Never Had Cramps Before And I Dont Know Why Im Having These Pains Please Help!):
I am 21 years old and I have not been sexual active is almost 7 months….but just three days ago my nipples started to hurt and was hard…I don’t have a period no more due to I am on birth control…Any advice to why the all of a sudden why they begin to hurt.
My age is 25 i have pain in my both nipples and i also have pain in both armpits & i have regular periods & iam sure iam nt pregnant plz help me
im having a pain in my left nipple and it is enlarged too for a couple of days and my periods also are missing……what can i do pls help
Good eve..i just want to ask what is the reason y my nipple is too insenitive..everytime i touch it it is paining..it is little hard also..i have a cyst on my ryt breast but it is a fibrocystic..but iam thingking it cause of my contraceptic injection..i stop ot 4months ago and until now menstration is yet coming..so do you think that is the cause of my nipple pain..
im 15 going to be 16 in 2 months.i have had sex last week for the first time! I haven’t had my periods for 2 months and my nipple really hurt….but im not pregnant although my boyfriend sucked my boob for too long and really hard can that be a reason? im really scared. Can it b cancer???
My nipples hurl when i touch them
i’m 16,my nipples hurt wen its sucked by my boyfreind
Hey pls I really need answer I discovered a lump in my left breast 2 yrs ago I just left it to go on its own it diasppeared 3days after leaving a small lump behind.it also disappeared a year and a half after.I experience soreness of the nipple when am about to have my periods. Pls what do you think?
Hi….me and my fiancé had sex yesterday and it the last day of me ovulating and most fertile day…..now my nipples hurt and sensitive…..any advice??? Please help me! :)
I am 42 yrs old and woke up this a.m with terrible sharp pains in my left nipple. No discharge just redness with sharp very painful like lightning bolts. What could this be? There’s no possible pregnancy
I’m a 47 year old woman with two grown children. Sometimes my top irritates my nipples. They are tender to touch and I really hope nothing is wrong.
I’m 17 and me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex about a week ago he pulled out before he was going to cum but my nipples feel really sore and iv been having headaches and not feeling so good . Any ideas?
you may be pregnant or you period may be about to come on. your nipples can hurt for a while before your period comes.
I know this doesn’t relate as much but I have gone off birth control (the combined pill) hopefully for good as it was causing me dizziness. I was on it for two years and had unprotected sex a couple of weeks ago, which only lasted for a minute and my partner did not ejaculate inside me, but I was worried so took the emergency pill the next day. However I have been experiencing breast tenderness, a little bit of frequent urination and a tiny blood spot. As I have gone off the pill I don’t know when to expect my period, could I be pregnant? :S
I`m also having nipple pain/sensitivity on both, but more on the left one….ouch!
I`m not a doctor so I would recommend getting in touch with one through the “Doctor on Demand” app for FREE!!! Hope this helps! :)
I am 15 years old and lately I have been having stomach pain and sore breast.i have not have sex but my stomach is growing. Is it possible?
Hiya guys im 16 years of age im still a virgin but the past few days my nipples have been hurting im to scared to go to the doctor and cancer doesnt run in my family but my uncle died of cancer last year please some one reply ASAP with an answer im really scared c
I also have the implant z
My boobs and nipples been hurting for about a week I took a pregnancy test it was negative I really would like to know what it is I’m kinda scared also I’m 16
Hi, plz my mesturation started 1st Dec. And end 6th Dec. So i n my finacee had unprotected sex on the 7th Dec, but he pulled out. And he also suck my breast. So since then i hv bn having pains on my nipple. Does it means that am pregnant? Plz help.
me and my boyfriend are trying for a baby this month i am 10 days late i was due on the 11/12/13 and i have had no sign of having a period but last nite my boyfriend touched my nipple and it really hurt i have dont a test 3 days after me due day but it said not pregs. i found out i was 6 and a half months gone with me oldst and 3 and a half months with me 2nd could it happen again could this mean i could be pregs again i also want to sleep alot please help me
Hi my name is mariah and my left nipple really hurts and I don’t know what is really causing all the pain in just one breasts but I really need answers
My nipples have been hurting for a week . Me and my dude had sex on December 15 and again before Christmas unprotected … I had stomach pains a week ago … Nd my Breast are staring to fill full ..I’m 17 gonna be 18 can somebody tell me what’s going on ?!
I had a D and C 2yrs ago, ii av been experiencing discharge frm my breast, now itts my niipple hurting me, I ddid a preg test nd was negative, pls help me
My nipples been hurting for a week already and I’m.late for.my period 2 weeks could that mean I’m pregnant plz help.me
Hey im jennifer im 16 going on 17 years old im on my period at this moment and i havent had sex in over 9 mouths but last night my bf of 4years was playing wth my breast and today morning my nipples started to hurt but only when i take off ny bra can someone tell me why is it brcuz he nibblet on them ? Help
I used to take birth control stopped about two months ago now I was irregular on my periods before birthcontrol, the first month was two weeks early, this month I’m two days late as of today and my nipples are very sore to the touch especially my left nipple…help!?
Ok I’m 20 years old, I’m a size 32A and my nipples have never hurt ever! I’m on contraceptives and use condoms… My nipples have suddenly started to hurt… Anyone give me some advice on what it may be ? Surely can’t be growing pains? Your breasts stop growing when your 21 right? Thanks!
I’ve started to have sore nipples not so much on my left beast but my right is quite sensitive to touch it’s okay when wearing a bra or not wearing one it’s just when it’s being touched or lay on it, I’ve felt around and can not feel anything wrong but what could it be ?
I have seen the doctor for my nipple sensitivity an pain, an it is only there i have it, mostly before my period, i myself am pre-menopausal an have my periods whenever, an i also go through hot flashes but mostly from the neck up an i feel like i am burning up. They come an go i don’t have them all the time, an sometimes the pain does last atleast a month before, during an after a period. So i know it is nothing, did the mammogram an been checked, my mood swings are so so but i still maintain the stress an mood swings. I try not letting it bother me too much. Seeing a Doctor is a good thing, my nipples at one point did itch but that was when it all started now they are just sensitive, an painful. I found warm or hot compresses relieves this pain for a time but not always.
I myself am 48, mine started almost a year ago, it could be your age or an imbalance like they tell you at the top of the page. If you are around my age it could be pre menopause if you are younger definitely go to doctor. Or start drinking alot of water, i found that lack of hydration is what caused mine sensitivity in mine. And if you are a pop drinker you may want to slow down on those along with energy drinks. For you Kirstie hope this helps
Hi I’m 22 yrs old and have never experienced any pain in my nipples until recently, I don’t know what to do, plz help!
I am 34yrs old no kids,i do have miscarriage last year Oct bcus of the prblm of nipple its painful and hurt when i am pregnant and started menstuarating and when i am about 8 to 12 weeks what can i do bcus i need a Baby.
I’m 12 years old and I have started my period and my right nipple is hurting so now I know what is probably the cause thank you it was worried :)
I had a cycle last month and I had sex a week after that cycle ever since then my boobs are killing me they are swolen and tender to anthing I’m due for my next cycle in 4 days I’m so scared I DNT kno what’s going on
My nipples are really sore an painful to the touch. But my period has finish about 12 days ago an has far to come still I don’t know what could be wrong
Hy am 19 n ma niiples statd hurtin few daes ago,,,i hvnt reciv ma period since january n i used to hv unprotected sex,,but wen i use p test results came up negative,,plz help
I just turned 20 and have been married for two years now. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and I am not on birth control because I was told that I only have a 3% chance of getting pregnant. So i’m pretty sure im not pregnant. My nipples and breasts are so sore and they are kind of brown. I haven’t had a period since May 2013 and I have not ovulated since then either. I have done all sorts of research and I can not figure it out. I really need to find a solution because I am really uncomfortable and im not understanding the reason for this pain.
Me an my fiance are trying to have a baby i got off my period like 3 weeks ago an we beeb having sex a lot. my sister thinks I’m ovulating because my nipples started hurting today. they kind of feel a littke heavy. what could that be? And today i got randomly sick feeling for 3hrs an then it went away. I’ve never bern prgnant what are symptoms of pregnancy?
Hi! I’m a male. I just felt my right nipple is aching after a day i have sex with my partner. Is there any connection with what happened to us with my partner? I really need an answer. Please email the answer please. What are the possible causes of this? Thank you!
Hey im 16 fixing to be 17 in april for the past 2 days my nipples hurt when i touch them and they feel like they have a fever im on depo so i dont have periods and im not sure why they are hurting so bad like this it has never happened before… Can someone please give me advise on what it could be??
Hi I’m 19 and my period already been on for this month i had sex a week after my period and after that two days i had some serious cramps and now I’m getting hungry very fast for a week now my niples been sore, am im pregnant?
Hey I’m nancy , my nipples been hurting…. Why?
I’m thirteen but today my nipple started to hurt really bad. It is also hard around it I don’t know what it means and I can’t sleep either because the pain is to much. I want to know what is going on.
It might be puberty I don’t think it is. It is like a lump please help.
I am 21 years old. My husband and I have been married 2 years and we have been having unprotected sex. I have been experiencing frequent urination, sore breast, I am tired all the time, and have nauseous times. I am only 2 days late from missing my period. Have taken 2 pregnancy tests and they have been negative DO u think I could still be pregnant I mean I’m assuming my best bet would be to go to a doctor and get a blood test instead of doing an at home pregnancy test right. We already have a 4 year old child but I was 7 1/2 months before I knew I was pregnant with him. I’m confused and nervous…
Hi, I am 14 I started having periods about 2years ago two days before thanksgiving I had periods maybe 3 more months after that then I hadn’t had a real period after that and I was having sex I so thought I was pregnant but a whole year had passed and I still hadn’t had a period then this February I had a period and about 2 weeks ago I had sex in March 2 day the date of my first period but my period never came and after I just took a shower and my left nipple hurt and I don’t know what to do ,but I don’t think I’m pregnant cause my body don’t feel different
I am a girl
I am 11 year old my breasts sometimes get hurt without touching and sometimes both are getting itchy idk what
Mine are getting itchy I don’t have mens even first time sometimes it hurt what do I do?