One of the things we take for granted about the human body is that the nipples always point outward. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case—some people suffer from inverted nipples, a condition wherein the nipples actually retract inwards, or invert.
Having inverted nipples isn’t inherently a cause for concern; some people are simply born that way. In other cases, inverted nipples may be symptomatic of a larger underlying problem. Whether it’s dangerous or not, most people feel extreme self-consciousness and anxiety about inverted nipples.
This article explores what inverted nipples are, what they indicate, and what you can do about them.
What are inverted nipples?
An inverted nipple, also known as a retracted nipple, is a condition wherein the nipples are pulled inwards rather than protruding outwards. As mentioned, inverted nipples may be congenital (you’re born that way), or they may occur due to diseases that cause inflammation or scarring behind the nipples.
What causes inverted nipples?
Less than 5% of all people suffer from congenital inverted nipples. You may have inverted nipples from birth if the lactiferous ducts in your nipples haven’t fully developed, causing your nipples to pull inwards. In these situations, there’s nothing wrong with (or indicated by) inverted nipples.
However, if your nipples have recently become inverted, you have cause for concern. Inverted nipples are often symptomatic of an underlying condition, sometimes including cancer, which is why it’s crucial to consult a physician the moment you notice them.
While cancer is certainly a possibility you should get checked for, your inverted nippled may also be caused by many other underlying infections, inflammation, or diseases. Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissues caused by nursing that often leads to inverted nipples.
You may also suffer from inverted nipples due to a clogged milk duct or numerous other potential underlying causes. If you develop inverted nipples, remain calm and objective and contact a physician to diagnose the root cause of your problem.
What can you do about inverted nipples?
If a diagnosis reveals that your inverted nipples are caused by underlying problems, you should seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. And if you have congenital inverted nipples, you can opt for plastic surgery to make them protrude outwards.
Inverted nipple repair is a cosmetic procedure that corrects the inverted nipples while maintaining complete sensation. In some cases, the nipple can simply be forced out by gently rolling the region between the thumb and finger or touching it with a cold wet cloth. But, if that doesn’t work, you can get nipple repair surgery.
During the inverted nipple repair surgery, the plastic surgeon creates a small incision under the nipple to access the milk ducts. After pulling the milk ducts out, they’re sutured in a new position to make your nipples protrude outwards. In some cases, the milk ducts can also be extracted if you don’t want to preserve your ability to breastfeed.
If you’re concerned about your inverted nipples, please contact Dr. Nadeau, one of Seattle’s leading plastic surgeons. She’ll carefully examine your condition to help determine the root cause of the problem and restore the nipples to their outwardly protruding form.
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