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.
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.
can - 14-Sep-13 @ 8:12 PM
Hi, I'm 17 and have flat nipples. They only become erect when cold or aroused. I was wondering if they'll always be like this or will they grow and develop into normal nipples?
Jess - 2-Sep-13 @ 10:46 PM
Hi, I'm 15, and I have "shy" nipples. I'm scared my boyfriend thinks they're unattractive although he has never said anything about it. Is there any way I can fix them to be exverted? I'm very self conscious about them. Please respond to my email. Thank you!
Ave - 17-Aug-13 @ 5:55 AM
Im 14 and my breasts are small.. But I have one inverted nipple on my right breast. It makes me really feel bad about myself because when im ready to go all the way I feel like ill be made fun of for it.. My friends already have but they tell me not to worry.. My other nipple is normal I think.. It has two lobes instead of one but I've seen that before. Anyways It makes me wanna cry I just am really worrying. Would a guy really notice or care?:/ I mean I would be okay if they were both inverted but I feel like asymmetrycal.. Please help!
meg - 6-Aug-13 @ 8:49 PM
I'm 16 and have shy nipples. They protrude when in cold temperatures. I wanted to know if they will stay this way forever. Or if there are any natural ways of getting them to stay out for good. It worries me because of if a boy were to see them.. I don't know what to do. Please help!!!
Bri - 6-Aug-13 @ 6:03 AM
I am thirteen years old and looking at old baby/toddler pictures I noticed I had normal nipples when I was younger. I now have inverted nipples. I am wondering if this is normal or if I should bring this to the attention of my mother? All of my female realities have normal nipples that I know of.
Kit - 6-Jul-13 @ 8:25 AM
I met a boy around seven years ago. We worked together, he asked me on a date. We went out, all night he gropped my boobs and said they were un even. I asked him not to keep touching me but he did. He put a camera phone down my top and took a picture. I asked him to get rid of it but he wouldn't. He then put the picture on facebook and showed everyone at work. I have one inverted nipple so got the piss took out of me by everyone. Even by my so called friends. I then got another job, and it all haappened again when someone at my new job new this guy. He put the picture up again so everyone in my new job took the piss out of me again.
Maz - 26-Jun-13 @ 4:57 PM
I met a boy around seven years ago now. i thought he was nice so we went on a date. On the date he kept putting his hans down my top and grabbing my boobs. I had one inverted nipple. I asked him not to grope me but he carried on. He them put a camera phone down my top and posted in on Facebook. I was made fun of by everyone. Even my so called friends. They called me a mutant and all sorts. The lead me to have breast surgery. I have had depression ever since and even felt like killing myself. After this I got another job, because thats how I knew the guy. The new job I got, someone who knew him worked at my place and he did it again. He put the picture up on the internet again. And again I was made fun of.
Maz - 26-Jun-13 @ 4:01 PM
Hey ! I'm 11 years old and have inverted nipples since i was born.
They dont protrude when it is cold temps.
I am really embarrassed about it and i am wondering if anyone can give me information to get my nipples out? i am also embarrassed when i get older if my bf/husband won't like them. Thanks !
mandy - 27-May-13 @ 11:59 PM
Hi! I'm 13 years old and I've noticed that I've had an inverted nipple for about a year now. I am very scared that it could be breast cancer or something. I check it everyday to make sure it's not getting worse. I look at my other nipple and it's completely normal. It is truly scaring me! Should I tell my mother? and Is there any possible way of fixing it? :/
heather - 23-Apr-13 @ 9:45 PM
hi, my daughter is 9 yrs old and her one of the nipple is inverted. i 've often realised that there is a kind of dry wound in it , which needs to be cleansed at bathing time. i'm worried for her , as how should i proceed for her recovery so that she doesn't faces any problem in her future. pls mail the reply asap. thanking you....
mother - 16-Apr-13 @ 5:41 AM
I have inverted nipples which causes me to loose sexual desires cause im afraid that the men wont like it and end up leaving me cause of it....so id rather spare myself from the embarrasment of being rejected cause of my nipples.......so my question now is...IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO GET NORMAL NIPPLES? PLEASE HELP!
Deli-Baby - 23-Dec-12 @ 7:46 PM
Im a a young adult women , who also has shy nipples . I find them very unattractive I wonder what I could do to get them out . Or if they will ever come out ?
Lily - 23-Dec-12 @ 2:58 AM
Is grade 3 inverted nipple dishcarge normal for a 16 year old
Florencia - 10-Oct-12 @ 9:41 PM
Hi I'm 14 and I have 1 inverted nipple its horrible is there anything I can do ?
becca - 7-Oct-12 @ 11:11 PM
Are shy nipples harmful?
I'm 17, I have small hairy breast with shy nipples, I mean they protrude in cold temp.
How to overcome/cure these shy nipples?
I'm not sure whether they are inverted or shy? but for sure,they protrude in cold temp.
Is this normal?
I'm really worried?
Gudi - 29-Sep-12 @ 7:53 PM
Hi im 14, i think i have one inverted nipple. Sometimes it looks like there is not even a nipple inside there and other times it is just flat/very slightly raised. my other nipple does not protrude alot but is not inverted and has just developed out over the last year or so , could my other nipple still grow?
zabsy - 25-Jul-12 @ 1:36 PM
Okay, so I have inverted nipples too. I'm 15 and I'm SO embarrased about it. They come out if they get cold but I'm really embarassed of them. I dont want a relationship because I'm scared that if I do anything with a guy, he will make fun of them. Are they unattractive????
Ava - 8-Jul-12 @ 1:00 AM
Hi wonder could anyone help me i had a baby two years ago and my nipples were normal now I have one inverted nipple which sometimes is itchy and sometimes a little sore wonder does anyone know any info on this problem thanks