If you feel that your nipples are a little shy, let's find out more about inverted nipples. Do they need to be treated just because they’re different to others? In what cases do we need treatment? What would be a good form of treatment?
Case by Case
✔ Inverted Nipples
aka. Flat Nipples, Retracted Nipples
Inverted Nipples refers to a condition where the nipples are retracted inwards. It occurs in around 3% of Korean women, and is divided into innate and acquired causes, but innate causes are more common.
If the nipple does not appear to protrude out of the chest skin, but can be easily pulled, it is called a flat nipple. In this case, you can live your daily life without much difference from general protruding nipples. If you feel personally uncomfortable however, you can look for directions for improvement.
- Innate Causes
A lack of tissue structure supporting the nipples, or a lack of mammary gland growth from birth.
- Acquired Causes
After repeated breast inflammation, breast cancer, or breast surgery, problems can occur in the tissue structure that supports the nipples
✔ The 3 Levels of Inverted Nipples
Inverted Nipples are divided into 3 stages depending on the degree of inversion, and treatment and coping methods vary for each stage.
|1st Type If the nipple protrudes easily when the area around it is pressed and it can maintain that position easily.|
|2nd Type If the nipple protrudes when the area around it is pressed or the nipple is held by the fingers, but it doesn’t retain the position as well as type 1. Even if the nipple protrudes, it is difficult to maintain and tends to retreat inwards.|
|3rd Type If the nipple does not protrude easily even when externally stimulated and even if protruded does not maintain the shape.|
The inconveniences and health problems that may occur due to inverted nipples are as follows. In the event of such a problem, consider noting down your symptoms and consulting with a specialist.
|External & Hygiene Issues If the nipples are inverted due to external issues, or if foreign substances remain inside the nipples it can cause unpleasant odors and hygienic problems. Also hot weather can cause the inverted nipple to become crushed or inflamed.|
|Mammary Gland Inflammation & Subareolar Abscesses Bacteria can more easily reproduce in the inverted nipple, which can lead to bacterial infections causing mammary gland inflammation. If this inflammation intensifies chronically, a subareolar abscess can occur. This is a tumor which occurs under the nipple or areola. These tumor’s can cause pain and a build up of pus. Even if the pus is removed and antibiotics are taken the tumor’s can easily recur.|
|Lactation Issues Inverted nipples can make it difficult to breastfeed after childbirth. If the baby is not able to latch on well, the breast milk can accumulate within the chest and if not discharged can lead to pain and inflammation.|
❗ Treatment isn’t Strictly Necessary
Most individuals with inverted nipples do not experience problems in their daily life. It may be enough to simply pay a little more attention when washing, and to find and utilize an appropriate method for breastfeeding. Don't simply conclude that corrections or treatments are needed, but take steps to understand and manage your condition first.
✔ Treating Inverted Nipples
If you want to treat your inverted nipple, consult a trusted medical professional first. Depending on the degree of inversion, different treatments may be proposed.
☑️ Non-Surgical Treatments - Massage
Using the "Hoffman technique," a known method to help with type 1 indented nipples.
➊ Place your two thumbs on the left and right sides of the areola.
➋ Press slightly inward and pull your thumbs away from each other.
➌ Repeat 4 times, and then again 4 times above and below the areola.
☑️ Non-Surgical Treatments - Using a brace
There are aids that can help bring out the nipples through physical pressure. Make sure to look for products certified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. However, in terms of effects, opinions are divided, so don’t expect instant, magical results.
☑️ Surgical Treatments
Surgical treatment is the most assured and proven way to treat inverted nipples. It is a surgery to bring out and fix in place the inverted nipple, which takes about 15 minutes. It is so simple that hospitalization is not required. The surgical method may vary depending on whether breastfeeding is desired or not, and there is a recurrence rate of 1-10% depending on the surgical method or nipple condition. The cost of surgery is generally per nipple.
✔ Expert Advice
- Around 3% of women have inverted or flat nipples and most live without any issues
- If you experience discomfort, appropriate treatments and coping methods can be used depending on your situation
- A simple surgery can be performed to treat it, but this is very rare