Why Are My Nipples Turning Purplish? All you Need to Know.

Nipple alterations can occur for many reasons, therefore it’s crucial to identify the cause to address any underlying health issues. Changes in nipple color or texture may indicate a serious condition, although they may not.

In fact, the same problem was faced by my wife, when she was pregnant a couple of years ago.

So, Why are my nipples turning purplish?

When the blood arteries in the nipple constrict, blood flow is reduced, and the nipple turns purple. Exposure to cold, lactation, and hormonal fluctuations are all potential causes of nasolacrimal vasospasm. 

Puberty, oral contraceptives, menstruation, pregnancy, nursing, and breast cancer can also affect the nipple. If your nipples alter, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer, visit a doctor immediately.

Let’s dive into the various reasons why your nipples may be turning purplish, along with other factors that can affect nipple color and texture. So let’s get started:

Why Are My Nipples Turning Purplish

Understanding Purple Nipples: Causes and Treatment Options on Why Are My Nipples Turning Purplish?

Changes in the shape of one’s nose might result from anything from a shift in hormone levels to something more catastrophic like breast cancer. The key to optimal breast health is knowing what causes purple nipples and how to cure them.

What is Nipple Vasospasm and How Does It Cause Purple Nipples?

Nipple vasospasm is a disorder in which the blood vessels in the nipple area contract or narrow, limiting blood flow and turning the nipples purplish. This restriction might induce discomfort, burning, or tingling feelings. 

Cold weather, stress, smoking, and certain drugs can all trigger nipple vasospasm. It can also arise as a side effect of nursing or during pregnancy. In breastfeeding women, the disease can be caused by incorrect latching, which can damage the nipple tissue and produce vasospasm.

 If left untreated, nipple vasospasm can cause tissue injury and scarring. Treatment methods may include drugs to enhance blood flow, minimizing triggers such as chilly temperatures or stress. In severe circumstances, surgery may be required.

Who is at Risk of Developing Nipple Vasospasm?

Although everybody can have nipple vasospasm, there are various predisposing conditions. For example:

  • When comparing sexes, women have a higher risk of developing nipple vasospasm than males.
  • Age: It strikes with the most frequency among those in their twenties and forties.
  • Vasospasm is a medical emergency in which blood vessels narrow and pressure rises rapidly.
  • Blood flow to the nipple may be affected by Raynaud’s illness, a condition characterized by the constriction of blood vessels in the extremities in response to cold or stress.
  • Breast surgery, specifically breast augmentation and reduction, has been linked to an increased risk of vasospasm.

Talking to a doctor about nipple discoloration or pain is essential if you fit any of the above categories and are seeking diagnosis and treatment options.

Nipple Vasospasm and Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

If you’re a breastfeeding mother who notices your nipples turning purplish, this could be due to nipple vasospasm. What you need to know is as follows:

  • Breastfeeding is typically associated with nipple vasospasm, however, it can also occur in non-breastfeeding women.
  • It is produced by an abrupt constriction of the blood arteries in the nipples, which results in a shortage of blood flow and oxygen.
  • This might color the nipples purplish or blue, making them uncomfortable or sensitive.
  • Because of the frequent stimulation and temperature variations, breastfeeding might worsen nipple vasospasm.
  • If you feel you have nipple vasospasm, you should visit your doctor or a lactation specialist.

Remember that nipple vasospasm is a treatable problem, so don’t be afraid to seek medical attention.

How to Manage Nipple Vasospasm: Tips and Treatment Options

There are a number of approaches you can take to ease the discomfort of nipple vasospasm. For example:

  • Wearing numerous layers or using a warm compress might help keep your nose and cheeks from getting too cold.
  • Vasoconstriction can be prevented by avoiding factors like cold weather and tobacco usage.
  • Try some deep breathing exercises or some yoga to calm down.
  • Nipple massage for better blood flow.
  • Medications like calcium channel blockers and nifedipine can help treat hypertension when used as directed.

Consult your doctor to figure out the best course of treatment for you. Nipple vasospasm is not always harmless and may indicate the need for further investigation or therapy.

Other Factors That Can Cause Nipple Changes

Puberty: How Hormonal Changes Affect Your Nipples

Hormonal shifts occur during puberty and can trigger a wide variety of physical changes, including but not limited to breast development and nipple expansion. Here are some things to remember about the impact of puberty hormones on your nipples:

  • Breast tissue develops and nipples may become more sore and sensitive when estrogen levels rise.
  • The area around the nipple, known as the areola, may get darker and larger.
  • Nipples may become more pronounced as breast tissue grows.

Nipple Hair: What You Need to Know

Hair around the nipple area is rather common and typically not cause for concern. Here are some things to remember about nipple hair:

  • Some people have more nipple hair than others, and it can be influenced by hormonal fluctuations, heredity, and age.
  • In most circumstances, nipple hair is not indicative of a medical issue.
  • Excessive hair growth around the nipple area, on the other hand, maybe an indication of an underlying medical issue such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

If you are concerned about your nipple hair, it is always a good idea to consult your healthcare professional, who can assist diagnose the underlying cause and, if necessary, provide treatment choices.

Menstruation: How Your Cycle Affects Your Nipples

Breast alterations and nipple sensitivity are only two of the symptoms associated with the hormonal shifts that occur during menstruation. The onset of your period might have the following effects on your genitalia:

  • Breast tissue swelling and discomfort may occur when hormone levels fluctuate, especially estrogen and progesterone, which can also impact the nipples.
  • As estrogen levels rise, there may be a darkening of the areola (the area around the nipple) and a change in the nipple’s texture.
  • During the menstrual cycle, the nipples of some women become unusually sensitive, if not painful.

Oral Contraceptives: Can They Affect Your Nipples?

Many women use oral contraceptives. Although safe and effective, they can modify the body, especially the nipples. Oral contraceptives and nipples:

  • Hormonal changes: Oral contraceptives impact hormone levels, which can affect breast tissue and nipples.
  • Oral contraceptives might cause nipple discomfort in some women.
  • Discharge: Oral contraceptives can modify nipple discharge color or volume.
  • Oral contraceptives may cause nipple alterations in rare cases.

Pregnancy: How Your Nipples Change During and After

Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can alter several physical features, including the nipples. During pregnancy, some women may experience alterations in the appearance, size, and feel of their nipples.

As the body produces more of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, the nipples may darken and become more pronounced. 

Nipple changes, such as discomfort and cracking, are another potential side effect of nursing after childbirth. It is crucial to monitor the nipples and get medical help if necessary at this time.

Breastfeeding: Normal Changes and Potential Concerns

Breastfeeding can be a thrilling and fulfilling experience, but it also causes changes in your nipples. Here are some things to remember:

  • Concerns: Look for symptoms of nipple infection or mastitis, such as redness, discomfort, or fever.
  • Engorgement occurs when your baby’s milk production exceeds his or her demand. In this instance, expressing or pumping some milk can help.
  • Seek help: If you have any questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to contact a lactation consultant or a healthcare provider.

Cancer: Understanding the Link Between Breast Cancer and Nipple Changes

Changes in the nose can be an early indicator of breast cancer, so knowing the connection between the two is crucial. Here are some essential considerations:

  • Changes in the shape of the nose, discharge, or redness of the nose can all be indicators of breast cancer.
  • Nipple soreness, itching, and burning are all symptoms of breast cancer.
  • While not every change in the breasts should be taken as a sign of breast cancer, it is important to have any new or worrying symptoms evaluated.
  • Detecting breast cancer at an early stage is essential for effective treatment.

Always follow your doctor’s advice and schedule regular self-exams and mammograms. Do not delay in getting medical help if you discover a change in your nipple or any other abnormality in your breasts.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Nipple Changes?

Nipple alterations are not always a cause for concern but can be a sign of anything more serious going on in the body. In order to ensure early discovery and treatment of any potential concerns, it is important to know when to seek medical attention for nipple changes.

Signs and symptoms that require medical attention

  • Nipple leakage is not caused by breastfeeding.
  • Facial discomfort that does not respond to over-the-counter treatments
  • Alterations in the skin texture, color, or size of the nipple
  • Nipple or breast form and size changes
  • Changes in breast tissue or underarm fat that may indicate cancer
  • Nipples that are now inverted but were not before
  • Changes in the color or texture of the nip that are not gradual

If there are any other shifts that worry you, please say so.

Importance of regular breast exams

If you want to catch any problems, including breast cancer, early, you need to get your breasts checked often. Over the age of 40, women should undergo a mammogram every 1-2 years in addition to monthly self-exams.

Seeking medical advice

Seek immediate medical attention if you encounter any of the above symptoms, since they may be signals of a more serious condition. Your doctor may notice something during a physical examination and suggest more tests such as mammography, ultrasound, or biopsy.

Some FAQs

Q1: What causes nipple hair, and is it normal?

Ans: Hormonal shifts in the body are usually to blame for the appearance of hair in the nipple. Nipple hair can occur in either sex and is usually harmless.

Q2: What are some common signs of nipple thrush in breastfeeding mothers?

Ans: Nipple thrush typically manifests as redness, itching, and soreness around the nappy area. Sometimes, nursing might cause a burning feeling.

Q3: Can nipple piercings cause breast cancer?

Ans: The risk of infection and other issues associated with nipple piercings may make it more challenging to screen for breast cancer, despite the fact that nipple piercings do not cause breast cancer directly.

Q4: Are there any home remedies for relieving nipple vasospasm?

A: Applying heat to the affected area, staying away from cold temperatures, and trying a different breastfeeding position are all potential home treatments for nipple vasospasm.

Q5: How often should I perform a breast self-exam?

Ans: It is recommended that women perform a breast self-exam once a month to check for any changes or abnormalities in the breast tissue.


In conclusion, nipple alterations can occur for both good and bad reasons. During puberty and pregnancy, certain changes are expected, but others may require medical treatment. Be mindful of your body and nipple changes, including color, texture, and sensitivity. 

Early detection and treatment of underlying disorders can be achieved with regular breast checks and medical advice for concerned symptoms. If you have questions or concerns about your breast health, talk to a doctor.

My name is Mark Joseph, and I’m on a mission to help new parents navigate the world of parenting. With over 5 years of experience as a parenting coach, I’m here to provide you with insight into all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising your newborn baby. Instagram Linkedln Facebook

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