Burning Sensation in the Nipple: 7 Possible Causes

Nipples are considered one of the most sensitive parts of the human body, thus it is not uncommon for an individual to experience a Burning Nipple. There can be a number of causes, ranging from an ill-fitted bra to problems as serious as Cancers and Tumors. Given below is a list of possible causes:

  1. Breastfeeding
  2. Hormonal fluctuations
  3. Pregnancy-induced soreness
  4. Friction from the clothes
  5. Infection
  6. Allergy or dermatitis
  7. Paget’s disease of the nipple

1- Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a very common cause of sore Nipples. There is a number of possibilities during breastfeeding which lead to a Burning Nipple.


  • Redness of skin.
  • Cracks in the skin of the nipple.
  • The pain aggravates during and right after breastfeeding.


  • The baby is not properly latched and constant rubbing of the nipple against the palate causes friction and soreness.
  • The use of a breast pump can also cause discomfort and severe pain.
  • A teething infant is an obvious cause of burning nipples because of increased friction.


  • Proper positioning of the baby during breastfeeding.
  • Use of a nipple guard to avoid rubbing against clothes when the nipples are already sensitive.
  • Adjusting the breast pump properly.

2- Hormonal fluctuations

Fluctuating hormones throughout the menstrual cycle have a huge effect on the Breast.


  • The soreness is at its peak just before the onset of menstruation.
  • Breasts feel heavy and Swollen.


Higher estrogen and progesterone levels cause an increased amount of liquid being drawn towards the breasts and thus generalized swelling. Swollen breasts become more sensitive and even slight friction can lead to a Sore, Burning Nipple.


  • Use nipple guards and moisturizers to avoid friction.
  • An over the counter analgesic can help with pain relief.

3- Pregnancy-induced Soreness

During pregnancy, the breasts become heavy and large. Among many other things going on in a mother’s body, burning and soreness of nipples is just another sign.


  • Darkening of areola.
  • Heaviness and soreness of breasts.
  • Constant ache.


The lactiferous ducts and glands become active and milk production begins. With a lot going on inside the breast and outside it becomes sensitive and tender because of the changes.


  • A well-supportive sports bra can help the heavy breasts.
  • Cooling packs soothe the inflammation.

4- Friction from the Clothes

Loose clothes that rub against your body continuously produce friction and irritate the skin cause a Burning sensation and soreness in the Nipples.


  • Redness of nipples.
  • Chafing of the skin.
  • Too much friction may also cause bleeding.
  • Continuous burning and soreness in the nipples.
  • Both nipples are affected usually.


  • Wear a well-fitted top or bra.
  • Use nipple guards to protect from friction.
  • An ointment can also help with chafing of the skin.

5- Infection

Infection in the breast is commonly seen in women who are nursing. Mastitis not only causes painful breast tissue but also leads to burning nipple among other symptoms.


  • The temperature of the breast higher than the surrounding skin.
  • Tenderness and Pain due to Breast Swelling.
  • Fever and chills.


  • Antibiotic is taken to relieve the infection.
  • Over the counter painkiller is taken for pain relief.
  • NSAIDs reduce the inflammation in the tissue.

6- Allergy or dermatitis

Many household products can cause allergies that lead to skin irritation and result in a Burning Nipple.


  • In this case, the pain is not persistent and might come and go.
  • The pain is relieved as soon as the causative material is removed.
  • There is prominent redness of the skin and inflammation.


A Detergent, sunburn, insect bites, an ill-fitted sports bra can cause skin irritation and dermatitis.


  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are taken to relieve inflammation.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment relieves the Burning of the Nipple and constant irritation.

7- Paget’s disease of the nipple

Paget’s disease is a very rare type of cancer that affects nipples. Any sort of pain in the breast leads to thinking of breast cancer, however, pain, soreness, or burning are very rarely indicative of cancer. Therefore, sometimes these and many other symptoms can be a sign of this condition.


  • Inverted nipple.
  • Redness and scaling over the breast skin.
  • Palpable lymph nodes in the axilla.
  • An abnormal, bloody discharge from the nipple.
  • Itching and tingling of the skin.
  • One side of the breast is affected.


  • Treatment depends entirely on the extent of the disease.
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are possible treatment options.

When to consult a doctor?

If you develop either of these, you should consult a doctor:

  • A high-grade fever.
  • Blood tinged skin or cyst.
  • Formation of new lumps.
  • Worsening of symptoms.
  • Orange peel appearance of the breast.
  • Everted or inverted nipple or an unusual discharge.


Is burning nipple something to be worried about?

Yes, constant soreness and burning can be indicative of infectious diseases that require medical treatment, or else they can complicate into life-threatening conditions.

Why are my nipples sore just before the period?

Increased estrogen and progesterone levels cause the breasts to become swollen, resulting in sensitive Nipples.

What is the most common cause of a burning nipple?

The most common cause of burning nipples is breastfeeding since constant friction is produced during suckling by the infant which leads to soreness and burning of nipples.