Everything you've ever wanted to ask, but haven't
Words – Roshini Rajapaksa
Did you know there are 8 types of nipples in the world? They can look all sorts of ways—light, dark, big, small, pointing in or out, or appearing flat. But what causes some of us to have inverted nipples?
Truly inverted nipples are caused by adhesions beneath the nipples that bind the skin to the underlying tissues. When breast tissue is attached extra tightly to the inside of the nipple’s skin, it can pull that skin inward, toward the inside of the chest. Thing is, they’re actually quite common. In fact, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of women have flat or inverted nipples. And for some of these women, nipple stimulation or cold temperatures can draw the nipples out temporarily.
If you were born with them, inverted nipples don’t say anything about your health. You can even breastfeed normally – although, babies can have a bit more trouble latching onto an inverted nipple than a protruding one. But, a little patience while you position yourself and the baby can make it easier for the baby to feed. You can also ask your doctor about special breastfeeding devices, such as breast shells, that help pull out and position an inverted nipple in a way that makes it less difficult for the baby to nurse.
And although this goes without saying, don’t be bothered by how your nipples look. Everyone is unique. So unless you’re looking to permanently change the appearance of your inverted nipples with plastic surgery, just be comfortable in the fact that you’re not alone.
One important caveat: If one or both of your nipples suddenly flatten or turn inward later in life, speak to your doctor about it. A nipple that changes like this can be normal, but it can also be a red flag for certain breast diseases, including inflammatory breast cancer or Paget disease of the breast – a rare type of cancer that involves the nipple and the areola.
From the editors of Hello Giggles