Menopause and nipple soreness

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When a woman is going through peri-menopause and entering the menopause, her breasts and nipples might become so sore that she can't bear to lie on her stomach. This is caused by fluctuating hormones.

When only the nipples get sore, it can indicate that a fungal or bacterial infection might be present, or it could be caused by inadequate secretion from the sebaceous glands of the areola. These secretions normally keep the nipples supple.

Why it occurs

According to, the main reason that nipples and breasts get sore is due to the actions of oestrogen, a hormone that peaks before ovulation, and progesterone, another hormone that surfaces at ovulation. Oestrogen can actually cause breast tissue to increase, which triggers pain. Progesterone causes water retention, which can also make breasts and nipples sore. When water is stored in the breast tissue, the breast stretches.


Nipple symptoms that a menopausal woman might experience include tenderness, cracking of the surface of the nipple, redness and discharge, according to This can be the result of hormones in flux or it can indicate something else.


Women always need to be cognisant of their breasts, how they feel, what they look like and if there are obvious changes because breast cancer is too prevalent to ignore. If your nipple tenderness is severe, this needs to be discussed with your doctor. If the nipple discharge is clear and sticky, dark, bloody or occurs even though the nipple hasn't been squeezed, this can indicate the presence of breast cancer. If your nipples start drawing inward or point in a new direction or invert, these, too, can be signs of breast cancer.

What to look for

If you noticed scaliness or redness on your nipple, or either of those conditions on the skin of your breast, this is not a good sign. If you discover a knot or lump anywhere in your breast or armpit, see a doctor immediately. If a lump or any thickening of the breast or nipple doesn't resolve after a menstrual period, which peri-menopausal women still have, this needs to be addressed as well. Breast puckering, dimpling or the appearance of indentations is an indicator of breast cancer.

Climacteric syndrome

Sore nipples and breasts are often the outcome of what is called climacteric syndrome, which entails headaches, irregular menstruation, mood changes, hot flushes, weight gain and bloating and sleeplessness. This syndrome is the result of fluctuating hormones and ovaries that are no longer functioning regularly. However, if you have concerns about your nipples and your breasts, do no hesitate to make an appointment with your physician.