Saturday, September 19, 2009

Inverted Nipples

Flat or inverted nipples are fairly common, since anywhere from ten to twenty percent of all women have them. They do not pose any health risk, although they may be troublesome to new mothers attempting to get an infant to latch on to the breast and feed. The easiest way to check whether your nipples are innies or outies is to gently pinch behind one, around the edges of the areola (the dark circle). If the nipple protrudes, it is an outie. However, an inverted nipple will actually retract into the breast.

For these women, most solutions are rather simple. As an added bonus, the cheapest fixes are even free! Inverted nipples are actually connected to the breast tissue underneath them by bands of connective tissue. If these connections can be loosened or broken, the nipple will stand out. Some easy solutions to try include coaxing the nipple out with ice or stimulation. Gently rolling the nipple may do the trick. For pregnant women who need to correct nipples for breastfeeding, breast shells may be found in either maternity shops or in the hospital maternity ward. Worn inside the bra, breast shells consist of a small plastic disc with a hole in the center, which allows the nipple to protrude. The disc is then covered by a dome to allow air to circulate. The shell exerts some pressure, encouraging the nipple to stand outward.

Beyond breastfeeding, since there is no medical evidence that inverted nipples are harmful, women who dislike them face a largely cosmetic problem. If the solutions above don’t work, she does have the option of plastic surgery. Several different procedures can be used to correct inverted nipples, and most are geared towards keeping sensation and ability to breastfeed intact. With all the routes surgery can take, a woman should thoroughly explore her options and discuss her goals clearly and thoroughly with a surgeon before she undergoes any procedure.

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