Have you ever had to hide your chest in public due to the sheer embarrassment hard nipples make you go through each time? You’re not alone, as all women experience this phenomenon at some point in their lives. It’s generally not something to worry about and is relatively benign in most situations — and sometimes even wanted!
Hard Nipples 101: 7 Facts to Keep in Mind
#1. Hard Nipples Are Completely Normal…
Before jumping the gun and worrying that your chest or breasts have somehow gone kaputt, know that having hard nipples is usually not something to run to the doctor about. Nipples are full of nerves that can react to various stimuli, whether physical or psychological. Fortunately, there are only two health problems to worry about in general: allergies and breast abscesses.
#2. …But They May Also Be a Sign of a Health Condition
If you notice that your nipples have gone hard (and that’s not so common for you), you might be using something that’s making them more sensitive than usual. Certain body care products can cause allergies. Consider the body wash, soap, or shower gel you’ve been using and the lotion you’ve been lathering on your chest. If you’ve experienced chaps, itchiness, redness, or rash, too, you might be reacting to some of the ingredients.
On the other hand, you should rule out a breast infection by looking out for signs of a breast abscess. The condition happens when bacteria gets into the breast through cracks on the nipples or holes made with piercings. As a result, swelling and pus develop, forming a painful lump.
Along with nipple piercings, risk factors include mastitis and breastfeeding, smoking, and diabetes. Other than hard nipples, you may experience tenderness and pain in your breasts, fever, nausea, headache, and muscle pain. Low energy is also common.
#3. The Female Reproductive System Is Usually to “Blame”…
Unfortunately, for most women, hard nipples are also common in women who are:
• Ovulating. While ovulating, your breasts may become tender and thus may lead to hard nipples. This is usually associated with higher estrogen levels.
• Pregnant. A surge in blood supply and a hormonal roller coaster may cause harder nipples when you’re pregnant.
• Going through perimenopause or menopause. Breast tenderness, which may lead to hard nipples, is just one of the many changes breasts go through due to a shift in hormones during perimenopause and menopause.
• Suffering from post-menstrual syndrome. Yes, even after their periods are over, some women may experience breast tenderness, swelling, and hard nipples.
#4. …Yet the Main Culprit Are Often the Weather or Your Clothing!
Even a single touch of some fabric may make your nipples erect. What happens more often, though, is that the fabric is on the cooler side. Low temperature is one of the most common causes of hard nipples, and the phenomenon can happen whether you’re lying down on a nude beach and a breeze washes over you, or you’re stuck outside in the snow. As you can imagine, going braless in the colder seasons is somewhat risky — your nipples may scandalously pop out!
#5. Moms Experience Them When Breastfeeding…
The stimulation of the nipples during breastfeeding contributes to their hardness — which should help with the overall process in general. New moms may develop mastitis, though, which is a breast tissue infection that also causes hard nipples. Keep an eye out for common symptoms, like pain, swelling, tenderness, warm breasts, chills, pus discharge, and redness.
#6. …But We Usually Associate Them With Arousal
When you’re aroused, your breasts may grow larger, while your nipples may get super-hard since they’re so hypersensitive to stimulation and pleasure. When stimulated, you may feel a tingling sensation in your nipples. Usually, this requires some touching, but even sexual thoughts may make them erect.
#7. Piercings May Contribute to Hard Nipples
Finally, nipples can become more sensitive if you’ve had them pierced. When you first get your piercing, they will swell up and stay like that for a few weeks. After that, they won’t be so hard anymore but will remain sensitive. Thus, they may become harder more easily than before — expect them to react at the slightest touch and sexual thought.
Whether your hard nipples are a result of pleasure or a temperature drop, it’s good to know that there’s usually nothing to worry about. If you’re experiencing some other symptoms, though, and aren’t sure the situation is as harmless as it seems at a glance, you can always get your breasts checked out. In fact, make it a yearly adventure — it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful!