How To Treat Inverted Nipples
Breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes, and all variations are completely normal, but some may suffer from inverted nipples meaning that their nipple is pointing inwards or there is a slit like depression in the place of the nipple. For some, they may not be bothered by this, and for other’s they can find it horribly embarrassing which can lead to potential concerns about sex life and self-image or more functional worries such as breast feeding in the future.
Inverted nipples are relatively common with around 10% of women in the UK suffering from the condition. For those that have ‘shy’ nipples, their nipple can be stimulated, but for others their nipple may not protrude at all. Inverted nipples can be caused by a problem with the connection in the underlying tissue of the breast such as a short ligament connecting the milk ducts to the nipples.
Inverted nipples can also occur after pregnancy, but this is likely to be due to the skin around the breast becoming looser and therefore giving the illusion of inverted nipples. However, if you have not ever suffered from an inverted nipple beforehand, it is suggested that you see a doctor at first instance as this could be related to another medical issue.
For this benign condition, it is recommended that non-surgical options are exhausted first. You may wish to try:
Nipple Shields or Soft Shells– The shield is made of plastic in a circular shape with a hole in the middle for the nipple. The disc places pressure on the surrounding breast to encourage the nipple to protrude through the hole. Soft Shells provide a smoother look under clothing.
Pregnancy– Often women find that their initial fears over not being able to breastfeed disappear as their inverted nipples become everted during pregnancy.
Niplette suction device– This is the most favoured non-surgical option for inverted nipples, and uses a pump to gently add traction to your nipples pulling them outwards.
If you are considering undergoing plastic surgery for the treatment of your inverted nipple than you should discuss this matter with a surgeon to discuss the intended goals and outcomes. Some surgeries can involve cutting the milk duct which could potentially inhibit breast-feeding and these cases are depended on the severity of the inverted nipple, so it is therefore important your surgeon makes it clear about the realistic options that they can provide to you.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and so there is minimal discomfort. Inverted nipple correction involves making an incision at the base of the nipple, and then holding the nipple in place with stitches until the stitches have healed. It is likely that you will feel tired and have some swelling and bruising after the surgery, but this is completely normal. Although recovery varies from patient to patient, generally, you can expect to make a recovery in 1-2weeks.