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Inverted Nipples, Do they need to be treated?

Inverted Nipples, Do they need to be treated?

Maybe they’re just a little shy?

4min
Inverted Nipples, Do they need to be treated?

Objectives

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

❤️‍🩹
Our Nipples in our 30’s! By mid-30s, the ageing of the nipples begins and the mammary glands shorten as one approaches menopause. The nipple that was outgoing can be seen gradually moving inwards. But if the nipple suddenly retracted in a short amount of time, you could suspect breast cancer! Pay attention to your changing body and take good care of it.

✔ 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.

Place your two thumbs on the left and right sides of the areola.

Press slightly inward and pull your thumbs away from each other.

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

🍒
Most cases are actually "fake inverted nipples." Real inverted nipples that retract when a baby latches are not common, and most mothers who worry about inverted nipples are actually experiencing false inverted nipples that when grabbed, in other words, when a baby latches, come back out. So there is little need to worry. - Paediatrician, Jeong Yu-mi

🍒
Don't squeeze a baby's nipples Some parents think that inverted nipples are caused by not squeezing the baby’s nipples as soon as it is born. However, if such a strong stimulus is applied in infancy, the related tissues may be damaged and the mammary glands may be permanently affected. You should never do this. - Seoul Asan Medical Center

🍒
What About Male Indented Nipples? Unlike women, men do not breastfeed, so surgery is not essential, but if there is any discomfort, surgery can be considered after diagnosis. If the nipple does not protrude outside the chest and is flat or inverted, it can actually be more easily operated on for men than women. - Urologist, Hwang In-Sik

🍒
Everyone is Different Having flat or inverted nipples doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. In fact, healthy nipples come in many shapes and sizes. But if you want to fix inverted or flat nipples — whether it’s to breastfeed or simply to boost your confidence — your healthcare provider can find a treatment that works for you and your specific needs. - The Cleveland Clinic

Summary

  • 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

References
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