How To Clean Crusty Nipples During Pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, you are likely experiencing a wide range of physical changes. While many of these are expected, some may be unexpected. One of the unexpected changes you may experience is the development of crusty nipples. This is a common result of hormonal changes and can be an uncomfortable experience during pregnancy. Thankfully, cleaning crusty nipples is a relatively simple process! In this blog post, we will discuss how to clean crusty nipples during pregnancy and what to do if the issue persists. We will provide clear steps and instructions to help make the cleaning process as easy and painless as possible. Additionally, we will offer some tips that can help reduce the amount of crustiness you experience. Cleaning crusty nipples is an important part of maintaining good hygiene during pregnancy, and this blog post will help you do just that!

Fast facts on nipple fissure:

  • Nipple fissures are common during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Knowing what causes them is the best way to prevent them from happening again.
  • Antiseptic creams may help prevent infection while the nipples heal.
  • There are a variety of reasons why nipple fissures occur:

    During pregnancy, hormonal changes may result in fuller breasts. The additional fullness may cause the skin to stretch and aggravate the areola and nipple, which could result in fissures.

    Nipple fissures are another condition that can affect women who have breastfeeding issues. The baby may apply too much force to the delicate skin of the nipple and areola if they do not latch on properly. This could cause unnecessary irritation.

    Nipple fissures could also be a sign of the fungal infection thrush.

    Although nipple fissures are frequently dry cracks, excessive moisture may also be to blame for these signs. This could be as a result of nursing for an excessive amount of time or the nipples being damp for a prolonged period of time due to leaks, wet nursing pads, or an excessive amount of ointment.

    While nipple fissures are more common in pregnant and nursing women, anyone can develop the cracks.

    Too much friction may also irritate the nipple area. For instance, long-distance runners may experience what is referred to as “runner’s nipple” or “jogger’s nipple.”

    A loose shirt or ill-fitting bra can rub against the delicate nipple skin and cause friction burns, skin cracks, and even bleeding. Surfers and bodyboarders may also develop nipple fissures from friction as a result of the board and water rubbing against their nipples while paddling.

    While synthetic fibers, like nylon, frequently cause more harm than natural fibers, some fabrics may be more irritating than others.

    Additionally, an allergic reaction to something touching the skin could cause nipple fissures. These allergens could be substances or fragrances found in things like:

  • laundry detergent
  • fabric softener
  • shampoo or conditioner
  • soap or shower gel
  • lotion or moisturizer
  • perfume
  • After using a product, if irritation and nipple fissures appear, it’s possible that the person’s skin is sensitive to the ingredients or fragrances in that product. Dermatologists might be able to suggest substitutes to stop the symptoms from reappearing.

    Nipple fissures can appear on one or both nipples, depending on the cause. Although individual symptoms can vary, the defining sign is cracked, painful skin on the nipple or areola. It may also be accompanied by:

  • chapped, dry skin
  • open cracks that may ooze or bleed
  • redness
  • soreness
  • crusty or flaky skin
  • scabs forming in the area
  • Many people discover that the first step in treatment is to keep the affected nipple and surrounding skin just slightly moist using a natural oil or moisturizer.

    A study posted to the Journal of Caring Sciences found that lanolin, peppermint oil, and dexpanthenol creams all had a similar effect on nipple trauma in breast-feeding women. Some people are concerned, however, that the use of any nipple cream may interfere with the natural environment where newborns establish breast-feeding.

    It is crucial to keep in mind that excessive moisture could exacerbate symptoms. Non-breathable bra pads should be avoided by breastfeeding women because they can trap too much moisture against the nipple.

    The glands around the nipples secrete a natural oil during pregnancy that lubricates and deters bacteria. Women should only wash this area with clean water that doesn’t remove this natural protection.

    After the baby has fed, breastfeeding mothers may find relief by taking a warm bath and using warm compresses to soothe any irritation. Before each feeding or pumping, express some milk and massage it into the nipples to relieve irritation.

    Applying diluted peppermint oil or peppermint water to the affected nipples in between feedings may provide similar relief for some people.

    Using a nipple shell between feeds to allow air to reach the nipple can help breastfeeding mothers with nipple fissures avoid further complications by encouraging the infant to latch onto the breast with a full mouth, switching breasts during each feeding, and more.

    When breastfeeding, using a nipple shield could keep the nipple too moist, which could exacerbate the symptoms.

    Avoiding loose, scratchy, or abrasive clothing and covering the nipples with soft gauze or waterproof bandages while participating in sports are two ways that athletes can help the fissures heal.

    Nipple fissures can cause more severe complications, such as inflammation or infections, if symptoms are not treated. Abscesses that result from breast infections may need to be treated with antibiotics, lacerated, and drained.

    Nipple thrush is a possible complication in breast-feeding women. Babies with thrush could introduce bacteria into breast milk from their mouths. The milk ducts’ warm, dark environment is ideal for the thrush-causing Candida yeast to flourish, which could result in an infection. After feeding, many women find that washing their nipples in warm water can help remove any excess milk that may contain germs.

    While the majority of people can successfully treat nipple fissures at home, there are times when it is preferable to see a doctor. A doctor should be consulted when symptoms worsen or do not improve after treatment.

    A person’s daily life is made difficult by extremely painful or irritated nipples, which a doctor should examine. Anyone who exhibits symptoms of infection should see a doctor for appropriate care. Redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the nipple and surrounding skin are symptoms of infection.

    Breastfeeding mothers who have developed nipple fissures may find support in speaking with a physician or pediatrician. A professional might recommend a lactation coach or give advice on how to breastfeed.

    A person can lessen their risk of developing nipple fissure in a number of ways:

    If friction from sports causes nipple fissures, one option is to try wearing a different type of fabric or covering the nipples with waterproof bandages to help reduce friction and prevent fissures.

    Before exercising, some runners, surfers, and other athletes may find that rubbing anti-chafing cream on their nipples reduces friction.

    To prevent chafing, many surfers and bodyboarders merely don wetsuits or rash guards.

    Some people may benefit from wearing close-fitting clothing that wicks sweat away from the body. A properly fitting sports bra is essential for female athletes to support the breasts and prevent unnecessary friction.

    A breastfeeding mother should make sure to do specific things each time the infant latches on in order to prevent or reduce the possibility of developing nipple fissures.

    Although the process of breastfeeding may initially be uncomfortable for the mother and the infant, comfort is crucial. Repositioning the baby is preferable if they haven’t latched on correctly or if feeding is hurting them The baby shouldn’t have to turn their head or body while feeding because doing so could pull at the nipple and aggravate it further. Both mother and child should be at ease.

    Getting the infant to latch on to the breast properly can also lessen discomfort. During feeding, the infant should place the entire nipple and a portion of the areola in their mouth. They are less likely to irritate the skin by biting down too hard on one area of the nipple when they have a full mouth.

    If an allergic reaction to something is the cause of nipple fissure, locating the trigger and avoiding it as much as you can may help to prevent the onset of symptoms. One option is to seek out a dermatologist who can perform tests to find potential allergens.

    Nipple fissures can cause pain and discomfort, but they are typically easy to treat. Nipple fissures may require breastfeeding mothers to alter their feeding routines in order to continue feeding a child. In some situations, prevention may be the best option.

    To prevent complications, anyone with symptoms that worsen or don’t get better should see a doctor.

    Last medically reviewed on December 31, 2017

    A person with chafed nipples typically experiences pain on or near the nipples as well as dry, cracked nipples.

    Some women may experience tenderness, dryness, and itching as a result of hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. This results from the body’s natural changes in estrogen and progesterone levels.

    A fungus called Candida albicans causes yeast infections, also known as thrush. Nipple thrush is less common in males than females.

    Pregnancy-related dryness or irritation of a woman’s nipples is frequently brought on by hormonal changes.

    There are numerous ways to prevent dry nipples. In most cases, nipple dryness can be treated at home with over-the-counter creams, ointments, and rest.


    Is it normal for nipples to get crusty during pregnancy?

    In the third trimester, you might develop nipple eczema which will make them “dry, scaly, red and itchy,” explains Ross. It’s treatable though. “Creams, topical steroids, lanolin cream, extra-virgin coconut oil, petroleum jelly, and Aveeno baths help treat the dry skin and itchy feeling,” she adds.

    How do you clean cracked nipples during pregnancy?

    How Can I Treat Cracked Nipples?
    1. Apply Freshly Expressed Breast Milk. Smoothing freshly expressed breast milk onto cracked nipples may help them heal by offering antibacterial protection. …
    2. Warm Compress. …
    3. Salt Water Rinse. …
    4. Apply Medical Grade Lanolin Ointment. …
    5. Change Nursing Pads Frequently.

    How can I open my nipples pores during pregnancy?

    Applying moist heat to the affected area, soaking the breast in warm water with Epsom salts or gently rubbing the blister with a clean, warm washcloth to remove any skin obstructing the milk duct may provide some relief. This method may work well if the plugged nipple pore is caused by a blister.

    If my nipples don’t leak during pregnancy, does that mean I’ll have a low milk supply?

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