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Inverted nipples

Most women’s nipples protrude (stick out) about 5–10 mm. Usually they become about 10 mm longer and 2–3 mm wider during sexual arousal. Some women have nipples that are flat, but become erect during sexual arousal or when a baby is sucking on the nipple. Nipples that are tucked into the breast, instead of being flat or sticking out, are called inverted nipples. Both nipples may be inverted, or just one.
 
Nipples that have always been inverted. If your nipples have been inverted for as long as you can remember, it is nothing to worry about. It is just the way you are, and a lot of women are the same. A survey of 3000 women attending an antenatal clinic found that 10% had inverted nipples.
 
A nipple that suddenly becomes inverted can be a sign of a cancer underneath it, so you should see your doctor straight away.
 
Breastfeeding should not be too much of a problem if your nipples become erect in the cold or when you are sexually aroused. It will be harder for the baby to draw the nipple into the back of its mouth, so breastfeeding will require some patience, but eventually the baby’s strong sucking will draw the nipple out. You will be able to help by applying an ice cube wrapped in a flannel to the nipple beforehand and by stroking the areola (the pink area round the nipple).
 
If stimulation does not make the nipple protrude, breastfeeding may be more difficult. During the last 6–8 weeks of pregnancy, you may be able to encourage the nipples to stick out by wearing breast shields under your bra. These are small devices that press gently on the breast around the nipple. They are quite comfortable. They are worn for 1 or 2 hours at first, and the time is gradually increased. Your midwife will be able to advise you.
 
Ways of making your nipples protrude. Even if you do not intend to breastfeed you may wish to have protruding nipples. Teenagers often have flat nipples and, in some women (especially if their periods did not start until late), they remain flat until the early 20s. So if you are young, there is a possibility that they may gradually start to protrude. Otherwise, you could try stroking the areola with warm hands for a few minutes each day to bring the nipple out. You could also try wearing breast shields. Do not wear them for too long at first, otherwise the breasts may become sore, and do not continue wearing them for more than 6 weeks.
 
If these measures do not work and your nipples are really distressing you, it is possible to have a small operation to make the nipples protrude. This involves a small incision on each side of the nipple, and the cutting of some ducts and tissue. The drawback is that some women cannot breastfeed after this operation, and the operation is very expensive (and not available on the National Health Service).

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Monday, January 16th 2012

 

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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 21/09/2014 at 04:52

I had the same problem but I googled a few things and found Nipplebands. In about 6 months they were pretty much fixed. I still use them to keep the nipple out from time to time, but I feel better about how it looks also.

Posted by Chris on 16/09/2014 at 08:57

Hi I'm 55 years young....just the last week my left breast as been aching and yesterday I noticed that my nipple is now inverted.... I have had my breast scan done several weeks ago and all was clear so I'm not to sure what's going on

Posted by Optional on 31/08/2014 at 04:07

Still have inverted nipples..upsets me as i feel very selfconcious of them and as a result i tend to not want to be sexually active with my boyfriend (he isn't aware of my inverted nipples,i mean its quite un-nerving when aroused they dont even change .....

Posted by Optional on 21/08/2014 at 05:17

That was a lot if help I'm going to the doctors tomorrow and I will tell them if they can give me a breast cancer scan because breast cancer runs in my family

Posted by invo nippo on 02/06/2014 at 10:17

i am 14 years old ,male, and since 2012 i hit puberty i realised that my nipples wouldn't pop out as much as they used to so that are pushed in (a little bit) and when i squeeze them or i just wake up they go back to normal.

Posted by emily on 28/05/2014 at 01:04

I have inverted nipples, they come out whilst having sex or even with the cold air, will they always stay inverted, I hope not as its embarrassing to get my boobs out in front of my boyfriend !!!!

Posted by Optional on 25/05/2014 at 11:50

My right nipple started to prickle and went hard. This has stayed up for about 2 months now and the other one has not. It has occasionally prickled, so I went to a DR who said nothing wrong to be concerned about. She could feel no lumps. But, why has this happened? As I have just lost my husband to cancer within a matter of 6 weeks from diagnosis I am very concerned.

Posted by benny on 18/05/2014 at 02:46

am 24years old, I have an inverted or flat nipples, when brushing my teeth it comes out n when cold is pointed, but after brushing n cold it becomes flat again, am I normal, needs some help please.

Posted by Lol on 12/05/2014 at 08:28

I'm 11 and have not had my period(obviously)and one of my nipples has begun to form.why not the other one? It has been like this for a couple of months. Why ?

Posted by monica on 07/05/2014 at 05:37

My left nipple is inverted and has a lite discharge. Stimulation does not always work to bring nipple out. Why? And what can I do?

Posted by Optional on 13/04/2014 at 03:30

Sense I was a baby I had inverted nipples and Iwant know what I can do. Can I use Ice or pump to bring them out And Stay out hep please I am embarrass

Posted by savanah on 11/03/2014 at 04:15

This is a stupid thing making girls feel less confident about how their body is. How are they suppose to live their teenage years worrying about how their boobs are.. It is what is is! Stop worrying about what other people are going to say and start living your live your way without woRrying about nonsense

Posted by Optional on 11/11/2013 at 11:27

I am a 50 year old and my right nipple has inverted been checked for cancer but ok how can I fix this problem it's really getting me down

Posted by amanda on 22/09/2013 at 03:41

My right breast nipple as long as I can remember has been inverted it would come out sometimes with a little help but 4months ago it started getting sore and very tender to the touch and very hard under the nipple area around time for my period but it would always go away after my menstrual cycle but about a month ago it didn't Hugo away my problems got worse now my nipple doesn't come out at all it seems to be more sunk in and itmy breast is swollen and I have a huge lump under and around nipple is red and very painful. I need answers.

Posted by Optional on 23/08/2013 at 07:49

Am 21 nd my left breast nipple was out before but now its inside nd painful. Pls what could be wrong with me?

Posted by Arianette on 07/08/2013 at 06:19

My question for you is that I have had different things happen to my breast and nipples alone my nipple stay hard for a couple of days and sometime with the nipples staying hard it feels sore.why?? I don't have kids ,never had an abortion, nor lost a bby, never had a bby actually. Once I also had my nipple so hard that it hurt,hurt so bad I couldn't take a shower because when the water touched my nipples it hurt so bad that I cried. Is that normal??

Posted by Optional on 10/07/2013 at 08:29

I am 20 i dont have nipples yet.. Is it normal? When my nipples will grow?

Posted by hayley on 21/06/2013 at 09:26

Hiya my left nipple is split in two and is starting to hurt a little should I be worried

Posted by miss williams on 28/05/2013 at 11:26

Im getting worried because I m only 14 and havent started my period yet neither has my 12 year old sister, im flat chested I can feel lumps on them but I think thats growing but my sister is flat chested aswell and she her nipples that poke out and myne are looking as if they are inverted and I am really worried my mam knows but shes saying its nothing help plss

Posted by Optional on 09/04/2013 at 01:13

Ive got inverted nipples what can i do with them to make them stick out more

Posted by Optional on 24/03/2013 at 04:02

i have a inverted nipple never bothered me before but now it is always sore and itchy keeps me up at night can you give me an idea what is causing it i get nausea from it to

Posted by chidnma nwankwo on 02/03/2013 at 07:10

my nipples also have an odor. I want to know what caused it.

Posted by jane on 31/01/2013 at 10:33

I have an inverted nipples and my boyfriend tell me that it has weird odor and sometimes it feels itchy..is it normal or do i need come and see a doctor

Posted by Optional on 25/01/2013 at 04:14

I have some blue veins on the breast areola, around the nipple. I am not pregnant and my areola is almost white. My nipples are not inverted, but they are very short and my breasts are normal size. I hate these veins because they are very ugly. Is there a treatment to eliminate these blue veins?

Posted by tay on 31/12/2012 at 03:15

i am 12 years old and about a year ago i had realized my nipple was halfway inward and today i googled it at it says it may be cancerous? Does this mean i am going too dye from cancer or is this normal?

Posted by Optional on 08/11/2012 at 08:47

I use to have one inverted nipple that occasionally came out by arousal. Alas as I am getting older the other one has now inverted, and they are now both inverted all the time. I go for regular breast screenig and know it isnt breast cancer. Is there anythig I can do about it,I heard that I should use the nipplet at my age. thanks

Posted by Optional on 07/11/2012 at 03:16

I just had my baby and my nipples dont stick out at all but they leak a lot

Posted by mr clarke on 07/11/2012 at 02:28

since i was young i had a lump under my left nipple which at 1 point was painfull i got it checked out and the doctor said it was puberty i am now 17 and i have a line through my nipple it really gets me down i cant take my top off at anytime in my life do you know where i can get help?

Posted by Ruth Scruggs on 03/10/2012 at 08:55

12 years ago I found a small lump in my left breast. Now the lump is the size of a golf ball and a half. It is lumpy and at times it is painful. It is as hard as a rock, and after 15 different mamograms, I decided that I would never go in for another mamogram, since the 15 were done over a 3 year space of time. I also need medical insurance, and the ability to work again. Thank you

Posted by Stephanie on 05/08/2012 at 07:15

Hi , after i 12 years old which i started my menstruation that wear , my nipples suddenly inverted . And now i am 15 years old , and the nipple are still inverted . I am worry for been few years , is this normal or abnormal ?

Posted by Raha proi on 22/07/2012 at 07:24

My boyfriend pressed my breast and he found that my nipple didn't appear... Bt in normally, sometimes my nipple appears slightly... Why it happened with me? Please, tell me the reason..

Posted by Optional on 11/07/2012 at 08:11

i have had inverted nipples for a while and they are puffy.....my boobs are an A cup also .....and i want to know is this normal

Posted by help! im worried for my gf on 20/06/2012 at 10:59

My Gf has an inverted nipple and a weird odor to it-sometimes there's some white stuff coming out but not watery its more thick.. What could it be? It wasn't always like that.

Posted by Nike on 10/06/2012 at 06:27

Can there solution to small breast naturally

Posted by Optional on 30/05/2012 at 04:22

hello, one of my nipple suddenly becomes inverted, went to see my GP thay said that never sow anything like this and dont know what is it and why it happind to me, dont think that its anything bad, but i am nit sure about that, it makes me be scare, whiuld like to get some more information about it.

Posted by ddg on 02/05/2012 at 01:56

Hi I'm a guy and left nipple became inverted at the age of nine or ten due to weight gain after being bed riden for about two months I got older lost the weight my nipple petruded but it had split, and now I don't know to do about it I can't feel comfortable or confident until I can figure out how to resolve this problem

Posted by Optional on 29/04/2012 at 09:39

use to have inverted nipples but now they arnt and sore my boobs seem swallon to could i be pregnant

Posted by anonymous. on 19/04/2012 at 03:07

This article is incorrect. I had a cysts which I left for a while put of fear for getting it checked. It was only until my nipple started to invert I got worried. I've been for treatment and since the cyst has cleared, but my nipple remains inverted. The specialist I went to see, via my GP(on the NHS) on my last visit, his parting words were along the lines of "if the nipple doesn't revert to how it was prior to the cyst, we can do a little operation, in and out, same day stuff making a small incision either side of the breast and cut away some of the duct and that should fix it.) So, perhaps it's not widely offered for cosmetic reasons, I have had this offered to me through the National Health Service.

Posted by CONFUSED! on 19/04/2012 at 02:10

Alright, here's my story. I'm a c cup, which is pretty large for a 13 year old girl. However, when I wear a regular bra, my breasts are nice, lifted and perky.. When I take of the bra, I have a gap between my breats, making them stick out more to the sides and I have extra large nippes. I'm so self conscious ! I love wearing bikini's but they just hang to the sides and sag, and the only shape you can see is the large nipple. Any advice?

Posted by helpless on 07/04/2012 at 05:23

i am 16 and a breast abcess at the age of 11 caused me o have iinverted nipples i want to know if anyone can help

Posted by anonymous on 06/04/2012 at 04:19

Im a 15 year old girl and here's my story. i was 13 years old and went out to the barn one day to do chores. That morning my left nipple felt on fire like acid was on it. I just ignored it thinking it was normal. But that morning in the shower i realized it had a hole in it. Out of nowhere it just appeared! I just brushed it off thinking it was normal and waited for my right nipple to follow suit. Its been 2 years now. Today it burnt again A LOT! So i asked my ma to take a look at it and she told me it was inverted! Now shes calling the doctor. Im terrified its cancer! I wouldnt be if it hadnt just popped out of nowhere. And now im sooo self-conscious about them :,(

Posted by Optional on 22/02/2012 at 12:43

My whole life I had inverted nipples. They also weren't very sensitive. The cold wouldn't even make them stick out. The only thing to make them actually look like the "typical" nipple is to have them pierced. I've had nipple piercings for about a month now and I love them. Now my nipples aren't inverted and I am not a self conscious about them anymore. They have also become more sensitive. It was much cheaper than the operation and it wasn't very painful at all! I would recommend this to anyone who would want their nipples to protrude more.

Posted by Optional on 15/02/2012 at 03:09

one of my nipples is inverted and it sticks out when my boyfriend sucks on it,the other nipple is normal.i have never been pregnant so i dont no if thats normal.but my mom is the same way to.one of her nipple is inverted and the other one is normal.can it be in the genes???

Posted by William on 10/01/2012 at 01:10

I would like personal feed back. When I push my nipples in, the left on is soft and don't really feel anything. However the one on my right feels like there is something there. In kinda hurts to touch. What do I can, because I can't tell my parents.

Posted by Optional on 08/01/2012 at 02:15

I am a 19 year old male, my nipples are inverted. please help!

Posted by Alkira on 13/12/2011 at 01:43

I'm twelve and one day my nipples got itchy so I itches them its been like half the year and there's these pink firm things on the center of my nipples sometimes they come out most on my rift nipple but it just started to become more frequent in my left I want to tell my parents and get a check up but I can't tell them it's too embarrassing ;'( please help

Posted by Optional on 11/12/2011 at 08:34

Hello. I'm 42, but when I was 20 I had a mammoplasty (breast reduction) which was done by a general surgeon (not a plastic surgeon). Suffice it to say it was not done aesthetically well, but did reduce the size (I'm petite, with a size E, 34/36 when I was younger. Now, I'm a 36 CC/D. One result of the surgery was it inverted my right nipple - and while I managed to breastfeed my 3 children it was for only a short time (about 1 month) and with a lot of pain. I lactated but the problem we suspected was not all the ducts reconnected back so I experienced mastitis so often with very full breasts but only very little milk would come out. It was very frustrating for both me and my babies. Anyway - I'm now done with getting pregnant (had a ligation), but i do notice that my inverted nipple has a smelly discharge which I have to clean with a cotton bud about 3x a week. doing it daily irritates the skin around it and makes it sore. What could this discharge be? Is this something I should worry about? Although I don;t feel any pain, lumps or what nots. Hope to hear from someone who can advice me - thanks!

Posted by naya on 25/11/2011 at 05:28

i am 13 years old and did not start my period and i have inverted nipples wen i was a kid my nipples where out whats happening???

Posted by HM on 06/11/2011 at 04:13

I'm 15 and have had inverted nipples for as long as I can remember. I'm a 34C and started my period when I was 12. My boyfriend always said something about them and asked what was wrong with them so I got self conscious about my nipples. Is this common and will they ever change?

Posted by SONIYA on 24/10/2011 at 04:04

I M HAVING INVERTED NIPPLE AND I WAS UNABLE TO FEED MY 4 MONTHS DAUGHTER PLZ HELP ME

Posted by Ryan on 20/09/2011 at 02:02

I am a 13 year old boy and my nipples are going in, i had dis since i was 10, my brother always laughs at me ;( is this normal because i want them going out like normal nipples...

Posted by jessica on 07/08/2011 at 01:52

My age is14 . Iwant the simplest way to get round nipples. That i can try by myself. Please help me!!!!My friends make fun of me and when i change in my school, i feel really shamfull....

Posted by Steph on 02/08/2011 at 01:34

Hi there I have inverted nipples and i always had a creamy, whitish and smelly discharge inside the nipple, this appears every day, i cannot squeeze any if i want, is just forming during the day. Also my nipples are very itchy sometimes. Please help, the smell of the discharge is driving me crazy......

Posted by zehra on 28/07/2011 at 05:57

Ok so recently after my period I got saggy waterballon like boobs , they don't hurt or anything .. Also my left bbreast nipple became inverteed and wrinklly and larger then my right bbreast ? Is this normal?

Posted by Mary on 22/07/2011 at 08:58

I found my left nipple to be inverted sudenly. I have never had inverted nopple's before. the area around it is hard.

Posted by Optional on 17/07/2011 at 02:59

is it normal to have nipples the same colour as your skin kinda, and they never stick out unless im in the shower! what do i do im so embaressed i cant even get changed infront of my grilfriends! (friends im not a lezbo) and im so scared to have a boy suck on them because i think they are gion gto think its gross how flat my nipples are.. plz help me!

Posted by Jay-bird on 11/07/2011 at 09:57

I've had inverted nipples since I was a kid, but they partially stick out when I mess with them or get in the shower or whatever. I'm using Medela softshells, which are working, but how long do they take?

Posted by Optional on 11/06/2011 at 04:24

I'm so relieved after reading that. I'm thirteen, so I probably should've learned that in school, but I've been off sick a lot due to bowel problems I've had since birth. I've been worried about my breasts for a while now, and I'm still nervous about the separate small lumps on my left areola. And is it normal to have a small line of white where the nipple should be? If you could answer these questions, it'd be great.

Posted by Optional on 09/06/2011 at 09:47

I have the opposite - my nipples are always erect. Is there anything I can do to cure this?

Posted by Secret !?? on 24/05/2011 at 07:44

I have only Just hit puberty and both of my nipples were out but one has now gone in and I need, help!

Posted by Optional on 02/05/2011 at 10:06

One of my nipples was fully inverted from childhood. The other one 'kind of worked'. I never even considered myself abnormal - I just thought that's the way they were. I wasn't even embarrassed with boyfriends - I just made a joke that 'she's shy!' It's a pity that these days there is so much emphasis on appearance that teenagers and older women become so concerned with something which really is no big problem. There are certainly about a few million worse conditions to have. I recommend trying to think about it this way and thanking your body for the many things that work perfectly. By the way, by some strange miracle, on turning 40, my inverted nipple also turned.....inside out! So now I have 2 'normal' nipples!!!

Posted by Optional on 12/04/2011 at 08:43

My nipples are very inverted. I started my peroid over two years ago so i am most likely over puberty by now. One of my nipples is half out and the other is completly in. I know i am way to young to consider sugery now, but im not sure what ro do because i am very self consious about it. Any advice?

Posted by A 14 year old on 11/04/2011 at 03:46

What does it mean if a male has this problem?

Posted by flowerpwer on 02/04/2011 at 11:52

im 12 and i on my left nipple it has become slightly inverted and im worried and dont want to go to the doctors, my nipple looks slghtly slit across it but its not, do you know if its normal or not ?

Posted by Helpless on 27/03/2011 at 07:25

I'm 14 n hav unusually inverted nipples. I hate them and they spoil the share of my larger than normal breast . It looks odd in most clothes. Will they become normal after some years ? They come out when touched to cold. isnt der any way to make them like my moms other than surgery ?

Posted by Optional on 22/03/2011 at 11:19

hahha im 30 and without nipples) too sad!)and noone wants to marry me

Posted by Angela on 08/03/2011 at 11:23

After years of embarrassment about my nipples, I found "pippetop" on the internet (do a google search). After 2 months of use, I have perfect nipples. I just wish I found out about this years ago. It was an easy cheap solution.

Posted by Anonymous on 06/02/2011 at 08:29

I'm 14 and i have nipples that are inverted quite a lot, they don't even come out when it's cold. How likely is it that they will stay inverted and won't ever come protude in time? Also if I have inverted nipples will I ever be able to breastfeed?

Posted by Optional on 05/02/2011 at 05:15

I have i verted nipples and i dont want theem ! I am ashamed of then ! Heellpp

Posted by Meee x on 26/01/2011 at 11:05

Hi i'm a 15 year old girl and i'm really hate my nipples because i think i have inverted nipple but when its cold or they touched the nipples come out. I really hate them will they always be like this? Thanks x

Posted by proova on 12/12/2010 at 12:02

i am a 52 years old married lady & having 2 son age of 22 & 30 yeras old.From last 2 years i found that my nipple become inverted slowly...and ist now completely inward .Is it normal

Posted by Optional on 30/11/2010 at 04:03

I am a teenager and i have inverted nipples, is that normal??

Posted by Optional on 20/10/2010 at 03:43

hi, uhmm,Im not done developing,and like my nipples arent out... Are they ever gonna come out..? Or are they gonna stay like that?

Posted by Optional on 20/10/2010 at 01:21

I have had inverted nipples for as long as I can remember and it would almost always be embarrassing when I would be with a lover, not knowing how he would react to my abnormal anatomy and I would feel greatly concerned or inhibited. But I did find that sexual arousal and sucking helped bring the nipples out. However, they would always return to the usual state. My paternal grandmother had one inverted nipple. I have both of them that way.

Posted by Optional on 18/10/2010 at 11:26

I have inverted nipples on both breasts and have now come to the decision that surgery is going to be the way forward, although im really embarrased about going for my consultation i know its not just me who suffers from this problem. Its been a weight off my shoulders but i wish people would understand.

Posted by Optional on 09/10/2010 at 08:59

i have no nipples so ple;tell me how i make my nipples sexy and up

Posted by Anon on 09/10/2010 at 12:57

As a kid I thought when I got boobs I'd also get outie nipples-- unfortunately that was not the case. It didn't bother me much until I started, ahem, "dating" and had a few awkward experiences. I tried some suction devices for women who are breast feeding, but they didn't do much. I got surgery to correct this problem about 3 years ago, and I'm so glad I did! It was fairly inexpensive as plastic surgery goes (about $900), painless, and recovery was quick. If this is something that really bothers you, I recommend looking into corrective surgery.

Posted by Optional on 07/10/2010 at 10:12

iam 20 and i dont have a nipple yet is this normal?

Posted by Optional on 03/10/2010 at 09:02

I'm 17 years old and i dont have nipple yet is this normal?

Posted by Optional on 16/09/2010 at 05:43

well i have inverted nipples they discharge and i have no children i jus wanna know why ?

Posted by Optional on 18/08/2010 at 01:58

what if even aroused or in the cold my nipples still dont protrude? should I be concerned?

Posted by Optional on 17/07/2010 at 11:55

im 13 and i dont have nipple yet is this normal ?

Posted by Optional on 16/05/2010 at 10:43

What If i am A male?

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