When a woman looks below her chin she is aware of her own special and unique body—and nipples are part of that uniqueness. Indeed nipples vary in shape and size from flat, to pointed, to having one or 2 “lobes” at the tip, to bumpy, to looking like a dimple, or to being a total “innie”. And all variations are perfectly normal. Most nipples do stick out a bit, from 5-10 mm. But for both women and men having one or both nipples not prominent can be the cause of personal self-consciousness, and with woman, concerns with regard to potential breastfeeding.
What Causes Inverted Nipples?
Flat or inverted nipples are actually pretty common. About 10-20 percent of all women are born with them. Inverted nipples from birth are not medically harmful. There are actually 2 types of inverted nipples. Many health professionals may refer to “shy” nipples. A shy nipple can be pulled inwards, but at other times protrude. A “shy” nipple can point out in cold temperatures such as cold water, or can be brought out with some massage or stimulation.
True inverted nipples are present from birth, and do not protrude with cold or stimulation. The cause is usually from connections in underlying tissue, ligaments and the skin. Ligaments along the milk ducts, which connect to the nipples, are shorter and pull the nipple in towards the breast tissue.
If nipples seem inverted later in life, or after breastfeeding, the cause can be that the skin of the breast can become looser and relax around the nipples making the nipples to appear to be inverted. However, if a nipple has not always been inverted and suddenly does so, it is important to see your doctor right away to determine if there is some other medical cause.
Are Inverted Nipples A Concern for Breastfeeding?
Research indicates that about 28 to 35 percent of women, who are pregnant for the first time, have nipples that don’t protrude that well. And 10% are considered inverted nipples. That is quite common indeed. However, inverted nipples should not interfere with sexual enjoyment and may not even be a problem with breastfeeding. Many women with inverted nipples may find that during their pregnancy, or during breastfeeding, their nipples come out either temporarily or sometimes permanently. With proper breastfeeding technique an infant can latch onto the areola—around the nipple-- so women with inverted nipples can breastfeed without necessarily any difficulty. Additionally, an infant who latches on well may actually be able to draw out an inverted nipple.
The use of suction devices such as a breast pump right before feeding may help to bring out an inverted nipple. Health professionals do recommend that you take special precautions to keep your breasts and nipples clean, as you can be prone to infection if there is discharge and the nipples are inside folds of skin.
If you are planning a pregnancy or at the beginning of one, it is important to get your breasts checked by your doctor to discuss any of your concerns with breastfeeding.
Aids to Inverted Nipples
If you are unsure whether or not you have a true inverted nipple or nipples, there are some simple home practices that have been effective for many women.
You might try to coax the nipple out with ice or stimulation.
Another method some women have found helpful is by gentle rolling the nipple.
Devices and Surgery
There are choices of devices available for aiding a shy or inverted nipple to protrude. Some women have found these devices helpful, others not at all. The determination of the effectiveness of these devices in making a cosmetic change is individual. Devices include the niplette, nipple rings, a nipple protractor constructed from a disposable syringe, and the Hoffman technique, a nipple stretching technique.
There is product known as Breast shells found in maternity shops or online that have been found to be helpful by some women. They are a small plastic discs with a hole in the center, which allows the nipple to protrude. A dome to allow air to circulate covers the disc. The shell exerts some pressure, which can encourage the nipple to stand out. They are worn inside the bra.
Surgery is usually only chosen after a family is completed and/or when breastfeeding is no longer considered. There are several different procedures that can be used. However, these options should be explored and discussed with your doctor to determine your goals and outcomes. The operation can be performed under local anesthetic. Some surgeries are promoted as simple procedures that do not effect breast-feeding potential. However other surgery procedures divides the breast ducts beneath the nipple, or cuts the milk duct, which can affect breast-feeding. You'll find more information on breast issues in this section.
Hi! I'm 22 years old & size 32 DD ive had inverted nipples all of my life. It's never bothered me because my mom has them too. I actually kind of liked it, never had to worry about nips showing through shirts & stuff. They always poked out when it was cold or when I was aroused but recently they have stayed protruding. Is this a cause for worry??
Marina - 14-Mar-17 @ 7:12 PM
jes - Your Question:
I'm 20 I have inverted nipple.I want normal nipple like other people. kindly tell me the way to correct them. without surgery there any way to correct them. thank you
Please read the last half of the article which explains all of this. Your GP will help you with anything you need to know.
EmbarrassingIssues - 24-Feb-17 @ 10:10 AM
i'm 20 I haveinverted nipple....I want normal nipple like other people. kindly tell me the way to correct them.. without surgery there any way to correct them.. thank you
jes - 21-Feb-17 @ 7:56 AM
I have had inverted nipples since birth, and I always felt self conscious about it as a teenager. I am 22 now, and as I became older, I decided to think of having inverted nipples as something which made me unique and different; similar to how a catwalk model may have something striking about them. I always try to avoid paying attention to the constructed ideology of an 'idealised beauty' in the media, except for the time when I came across a supermodel in a men's magazine who had inverted nipples. I instantly realised how beautiful she was, and her confidence in that photo alone showed me the power of being different. Since then, I no longer hid myself away. Every boyfriend I have had always says that they are sexy and cute! Being confident about your body helped me so much. Surgery is not something I'd ever consider personally. For me, it's about changing your mind set and realising that what you have can be incredibly powerful, if know how to use your differences as ways to be confident.(Guys too!)
Bella - 19-Jan-17 @ 11:26 PM
Hi, I'm 21, 32DD and I've always had inverted nipples and I never really had a problem with it, been with a few guys and only one of them has ever pointed it out and even at that it never affected our relationship. though I'm still kind of shy about it I'm learning to accept myself and love my body inverted nipples included cause if I don't who's going to love me if I don't love myself.
Tee - 10-Jan-17 @ 4:53 PM
Hi! Am 23, boobs 32d, I have had grade 2 inverted nipples from birth. Honestly I have never felt bad about it for once,I even sometimes challenge my boyfriends to suck it out, I love my boobs n nipples and am proud of them. I always try to give my nipples extra attention when bathing to prevent sweat n dirt from building up.
Gracie - 25-Dec-16 @ 11:23 AM
Hey girls, I'm Trubel 20 and I have inverted nipples grade 1 and I hate foreplay that includes touching boobs because its like they don't react, I feel aroused but the nipples don't show unless I put pressure on them. Met a nice guy I'm not sure how to tell him ?? or maybe I shouldn't.
Trubel - 21-Oct-16 @ 10:40 PM
Mitch- Your Question:
I just want to reassure you all - I had cosmetic surgery to correct inverted nipples when I was 28. Totally successful. Don't recall telling anyone at the time. Went onto to breast feed both my children and now that I am 50 years old I look back and think how relieved I am that I had that procedure.Back in my twenties I had been living in Australia and became very body conscious as most of my life was spent at the beach. Also,the attitude to cosmetic surgery and body image was streets ahead of the UK at the time. We have caught up now and I would totally recommend fixing the nipples if its making you unhappy - its not a drastic procedure like some cosmetic fixes are e.g. I wouldn t even consider botox !!
Thanks for letting people know about your experience Mitch.
EmbarrassingIssues - 17-May-16 @ 12:16 PM
I just want to reassure you all - I had cosmetic surgery to correct inverted nipples when I was 28.Totally successful. Don't recall telling anyone at the time....... Went onto to breast feed both my children and now that I am 50 years old I look back and think how relieved I am that i had that procedure.
Back in my twenties I had been living in Australia and became very body conscious as most of my life was spent at the beach. Also,the attitude to cosmetic surgery and body image was streets ahead of the UK at the time. We have caught up now and I would totally recommend fixing the nipples if its making you unhappy - its not a drastic procedure like some cosmetic fixes are e.g.I wouldn t even consider botox !!
Mitch - 14-May-16 @ 9:39 PM
Hello All, I am a 38DD female, and I was born with inverted nipples and was emotionally and psychologically damaged because of it.However, at age 28, I had corrective surgery and it went very well. The procedure wasn't painful before or after, and I kept sensitivity in the nipples, even though the doctors will not guarantee it. My advice is have the surgery and get on with life. Aplastic surgeon did the procedure. Thankfully, it's a fixable deformity.
Lisa - 4-Apr-16 @ 8:34 PM
I am almost 18 years old and I have had inverted nipples since I was born, it's something that I have always been conscious about and I have never been able to get the courage show them to any of my previous boyfriends,I have just started a new relationship and we've been together about a month now and I'm having a tough time trying to get the courage to tell him, any advice?
GGk - 7-Mar-16 @ 12:06 AM
I want to start this off by saying that I have one grade 3 inverted nipple and one flat nipple. I am 28 and have been self conscious about them my whole life. I try to just accept them but it is extremely hard to do at times. I have a wonderful bf that accepts me how I am but I have always been looking at finding a way to correct them. I found Supple Cups and it was the best $25 I have ever spent. I only got them two days ago but they are already giving me so much confidence (I am wearing them right now haha). If you want to try and fix them, I highly recommend these! They hurt for a little bit but you get used to them after a while. The first time I used them two days ago I wept, yes I cried like a baby because I all of a sudden had nipples and I didn't expect it to happen that quickly.
My nipples does go back in a few minutes later but it takes time to stretch the tissue under the skin and train it to stay out. Have patience and it will happen!
To the women posting on here saying that men tease you. Get away from them, don't let them bring you down. You deserve better than them anyways and you are beautiful. Breasts are wonderful no matter what and don't let anyone make you feel like because you have inverted nipples then you are somehow less of a woman.
WeAreAllBeautiful - 24-Jan-16 @ 9:51 PM
I've been reading some of your comments about inverted nipples. Ive got the same thing and ive hated it all my life. It's not only affected my sex life but my whole confidence in general!
I've used the nipplette before but didn't see any difference at all and then I discovered SuppleCups. It's literally been the best £30 I've ever spent. I 100% recommend you try them. I just bought them off eBay as couldn't find them anywhere else.
You just apply some Vaseline and the put the cup on (it looks like a thimble) and it pulls the nipple out. I've found it slightly sore/uncomfortable but that's just me personally once I've worn it for a while but I'm probably more eager than I should be to see results and leave it on for a while but I think your meant to build up to it. Eventually it pulls the nipple out. I've not been using it long but it's already not as inverted as it used to be after just a few days use. I've read you used it for a couple of week and eventually the nipple is either able to come out with stimulation or just stays out all together.
So give it a go if your worried about them girls. It's changed my life already. SuppleCups!! Good luck :) x
Gee - 12-Jan-16 @ 11:30 PM
I'm 16 and I'm a 36D and have inverted nipples ! it's embarrassing and I've been teased, im supe insecure about this and just want normak nipple ! so I don't know if there's easy surgery or something I can do myself to fix it ? I've tried lightly massaging my nipples but it doesn't work
alliecatxo - 27-Dec-15 @ 8:36 AM
hello, I'm 16 years old and have two inverted nipples. I've had them since puberty and the past couple of months I've been really insecure about them. My boyfriend doesn't see them as a problem but it's a self councious issue with me. I have severe anxiety and want everything to be perfect about me and I feel as if it's not because of my nipples. lately I've started massaging my left nipple, it's more severe then the right, and it's been helping it come out more and for longer periods of time. it takes a while but I suggest this method to people who have grade 1 or grade 2 inverted nipples. Also, if you gentley pull on the areola on both sides with your thumb going opposite ways, it helps loosen the tissue. This website also made me feel better because it made me realize that I'm not the only person with this "problem"
emma - 2-Aug-15 @ 5:41 AM
Hello, i am 16 i have inverted nipples... all the guys ive slept with have made fun of me and ive been checked i dont have cancer. I dont havefemle in my life to talk to about this... is it normal i just want normal nipples.
Clair - 19-Jul-15 @ 4:17 AM
I'm 18 and have had inverted nipples my entire life. I'm quite shy about them and have no idea how to approach the subject of them or my concerns with anyone.
I just want to look normal
Insecure - 14-Jul-15 @ 10:12 AM
@kenny. It should still be checked out anyway just to be sure.
EmbarrassingIssues - 29-Apr-15 @ 2:06 PM
Thanks to this site I was thinking my friend was having cancer,but after reading and searching I could now see it inverted nipple and am hoping it would come out some day
kenny - 24-Apr-15 @ 10:09 AM
I am 37 with inverted nipples. In high school I was extremely embarrassed about it. 1 boy made fun of me (PS looking back he was such a looser I am glad he didn't like them.) But plenty of boys and later on men loved everything about me. My son even was able to breast feed like a champ. Love your body. It is hard, I still turn my back while changing in front of my husband and girlfriends but I am working on it
mj - 4-Apr-15 @ 12:24 AM
Older women tend to have flat nipples ! this is a defiant turn off to men who expect to suck on them and there is nothing but a flat nipples !Why is it that a beautiful tit and nipple can just get flat, is it from having children that cause this in a women's later years ?Or is it just fat ?
Bill - 31-Aug-14 @ 3:36 AM
@Nadi. It is completely normal, but you may still want to get it checked out. You will also feel better if you tell someone about it. You could show your mother this article and say you are worried about your own...that way you do not have to find the words to explain your problem yourself.
EmbarrassingIssues - 28-Aug-14 @ 12:56 PM
Please don't be insecure about your inverted nipples! They're perfectly normal, unique and cool! I have 2 inverted nipples and they haven't stopped me from being sexually active, guys shouldn't care about how they look/are. So to all of you with inverted nipples: you're gorgeous and unique so stop worrying about it!
Btw, I'm so glad I found this site, it helped a lot ^^
Linnea - 19-Aug-14 @ 10:45 PM
Hi my name is Naudia,im 12 years old and I just found out that I have inverted nipples. Im really embarrassed about it and asking my mom if its normal or not. I'm really insecure about my body and im worried about what they might be like in the future. If someone would please tell me if this is normal or not I would be really grateful,Thank you.
Nadi - 14-Aug-14 @ 8:03 AM
My 10 yr old son ive noticed in the last couple of years as inverted nipples .I need to know if this is normal or should I have him checked. He is majoring earlier then shud his 5-5" in height already at the age of 10
Reagan Baker - 11-Jul-14 @ 7:59 AM
I am 25 years old and have very inverted nipples. I used to be insecure about them even though I've never been asked about them by any partner. I saw a doctor as a precautionary measure when I noticed the build up inside (as some of you have mentioned here) and he said any man should be proud to be with me. So, I just wanted to let all the young girls here know that if a man doesn't like you for your breasts, he's not the one for you. Inverted nipples are perfectly normal, just like having one breast larger than the other or having a birth mark.. everyone is different and that's okay.
K.P - 13-Jun-14 @ 2:29 PM
Hello, I'm 17 years old. I have inverted nipples. I'm seriously insecure about my body and now in a serious relationship and I won't let my long-term boyfriend see my body at all. Can I fix this somehow or.. I just need some go l help
what2Do - 23-Apr-14 @ 12:26 AM
Im in my early teens i am really scared about cuz I've had them all my life and when im older im worried what people will think is there any other remedies as it works with coldness butim really scared as i feel like the only one i do know there are more people i just feel like theresno one!!
chlo141x - 6-Mar-14 @ 10:36 PM
I have one inverted nipple on my left breast. I am in my early teens, but it really does bother me. There is also some kind of crusty stuff inside. Is any of this normal? Please respond to this as soon as you can. Thanks
Ava - 31-Oct-13 @ 4:57 AM
my girlfriend has inverted nipples, and i don't understand the fuss about them. it is perfectly fine, looks gorgeous anyway, and i don't think any boy / man would mind them.