An inverted nipple is a somewhat common breast abnormality, which affects between 5% to 15% of the female population to some extent. Nipple inversion can occur to varying degrees and can affect one breast or both. Inversion is not inherently harmful or unattractive, but can cause some complications when it comes to breastfeeding and can certainly be the cause of painful emotional issues leading to body image problems in some affected women.
This guide details the invaginated nipple condition and the mindbody effects it can produce.
Inverted Nipple Defined
A nipple which is inverted is also sometimes called invaginated. The condition describes nipples which project into the breast mound, rather than out of it. The condition can affect both nipples equally or might only occur on one side. The extent of inversion varies considerably, as does the effectiveness of methods used to protract the nipple.
Some women have nipples which are only partially inverted. These generally look and function normally and just do not project quite as far out as is typical.
Other women have nipples which are inverted, creating an almost featureless appearance on the areola. These women sometimes look as if they do not have nipples at all, since there is no forward or inward projection to be seen.
Still other women have nipples which actively project into the breast mound, creating a dimple or hollow.
Invaginated Nipple Factsheet
Regardless of the extent of usual nipple inversion, stimulation may be able to bring the nipples to a protracted state. Manual stimulation, cold, erotic thoughts or breastfeeding are some methods of coaxing out nipples which are inverted.
Some methods might work better than others for individual women and some methods might not work at all.
Some inversions do not respond to any form of protraction and will remain hidden regardless of stimulation. Most forms of non-surgical protraction are temporary and the nipple will generally return to an inverted state rather quickly.
Breastfeeding with Invaginated Nipples
Nipples which are inverted can make breastfeeding more difficult or uncomfortable. However, even nipples which are fully inverted can function fine during nursing. Usually, proper breastfeeding technique will overcome any possible negative effects of inversion.
Some women actually experience permanent nipple protraction after nursing for an extended period of time. It is advisable to bring up this condition with your doctor, if you are planning to breastfeed. They will be able to evaluate your condition and give you specific helpful advice to facilitate successful nursing.
Mind and Body Implications of Inverted Nipples
Some women like their invaginated nipples and would not want to change them for anything in the world. Other affected women experience a self conscious attitude about their nipples, and their breasts in general, due to nipple inversion.
Most women do not suffer significant functional problems, but the aesthetic issues can be troublesome for some. If you have nipple inversion issues, you might benefit from cosmetic nipple surgery. There are procedures which can permanently protract your nipples, creating a more typical and perky appearance.
Talk to a qualified cosmetic surgeon to find out if nipple inversion correction surgery is right for you.