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Thread: Pain in nipple without known cause

  1. #1

    Default Pain in nipple without known cause

    My daughter is 7 months old and after getting off to a rough start, we've been breastfeeding successfully this whole time. About two months ago, I got a plugged duct on the left breast which took a couple weeks to go away. However now that is gone and the milk is draining properly. The only thing left is the pain, which has now persisted at least 4-5 weeks after the plugged duct left. I've been nursing anyway, thinking it would eventually go away but it's just getting worse.

    My Symptoms:
    The nipple feels bruised, slightly swollen and a bit harder than my other one. It hurts the entire time while nursing. Changing positions offers minimal relief. After nursing, I often have stabbing pains going from the nipple towards the back of the breast.

    Symptoms I do NOT have:
    No fever, no white dots on my nipple, no milk ducts that aren't being drained, no signs of thrush on my breast or in LO's mouth.

    No LLI in my area, but I have called the local birthing center and they couldn't help me. Anyone have a suggestion? LO doesn't have teeth yet, but I can see them beginning to cut through her gums. If she starts biting in addition to the pain I already have, I doubt I'll be able to continue nursing.

    P.S. Baby is getting plenty to eat and drink, gaining weight and height normally and is totally adorable.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    Welcome to the forum!

    At this point, I think it might make sense to see a physician. I'm thinking you might have some sort of infection- that would explain the shooting pains, the swelling, and maybe even the hardness (if there's some sort of localized infection that is harder than the surrounding tissues). Thrush should be considered as a possibility despite the lack of apparent symptoms. Thrush is a bit of a chameleon, and can be present without the "classic" symptoms (white patches in the baby's mouth, red/pink/shiny nipples, cracked or flaking skin, etc.).

    If you feel the painful area carefully, do you find any sort of hardened area? Maybe a pea-sized or smaller lump? I'm kind of wondering if you have a small cyst or a very small plugged duct in the nipple itself- hypothetically, when the baby nurses this little lump would be pressing against other sensitive tissues and causing pain.

    Don't worry too much about biting. Biting isn't something that happens with all nurslings- many kids never, ever bite.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NY
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    I had something like that. I went to my ob/gyn who prescribed dicloxicillan. She said it was an infection, but not necessarily a mastitis caused by the plugged duct. It went away in about a week once I started taking that antibiotics. By me the area was also red.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome to the forum!

    At this point, I think it might make sense to see a physician. I'm thinking you might have some sort of infection- that would explain the shooting pains, the swelling, and maybe even the hardness (if there's some sort of localized infection that is harder than the surrounding tissues). Thrush should be considered as a possibility despite the lack of apparent symptoms. Thrush is a bit of a chameleon, and can be present without the "classic" symptoms (white patches in the baby's mouth, red/pink/shiny nipples, cracked or flaking skin, etc.).

    If you feel the painful area carefully, do you find any sort of hardened area? Maybe a pea-sized or smaller lump? I'm kind of wondering if you have a small cyst or a very small plugged duct in the nipple itself- hypothetically, when the baby nurses this little lump would be pressing against other sensitive tissues and causing pain.

    Don't worry too much about biting. Biting isn't something that happens with all nurslings- many kids never, ever bite.
    If it was thrush, wouldn't it have spread to both sides after two whole months? There's no particularly noticeable lump in the nipple, although I notice that it's more painful to squeeze vertically than horizontally. The skin on that side isn't redder than the other side, but it is painful.

    I went to the doctor, who said he thought it was some kind of eczema and prescribed me a steroid cream. I'm a bit skeptical of that diagnosis, though, since it's not just the skin that hurts, but rather the whole nipple all the way through. I think I'm just going to take a nursing break on that side, hand-express the milk and give it to her in a bottle for a while. I'll post back how things develop. Maybe it can help someone else.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    If this is thrush, I agree that it's most likely that you'd have it on both sides. But that's not a deal-breaker for me, because people aren't perfectly symmetrical and probably not symmetrically susceptible to any sort of infection.

    You're not seeing any redness but the doc still thinks it's eczema? I think I'd want to see a dermatologist to get that confirmed. And A breast specialist, too, if there's one in your area... I am sort of wondering if ultrasound might pick up something that the naked eye is missing.

    Do let us know how things go! The pain must be pretty bad to make you take a break on the affected side!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    I don't know if this will help you but I probably could have written your initial post because I have the same thing going on. I too went to my physician and he believes I have an infection in the nipple. He said that type of pain is much different and often worse than even mastitis because instead of deep within the breast its more with the nipple and surrounding area alone. I started an antibiotic yesterday and am hopeful things are much better by tomorrow or the next day. I agree that eczema sounds suspicious. Good luck and I hope you find relief soon!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lmk2010 View Post
    I don't know if this will help you but I probably could have written your initial post because I have the same thing going on. I too went to my physician and he believes I have an infection in the nipple. He said that type of pain is much different and often worse than even mastitis because instead of deep within the breast its more with the nipple and surrounding area alone. I started an antibiotic yesterday and am hopeful things are much better by tomorrow or the next day. I agree that eczema sounds suspicious. Good luck and I hope you find relief soon!
    Glad to hear that I'm not the only one going through this (well, not glad that you have to experience it, but I'm sure you know what I mean ). Let me know how it goes!

    I've cut down to nursing once a day on that side, expressing the rest of the milk by hand and freezing it or giving it via bottle. I've also been applying an herbal cream that is meant to work against minor infections. Still hurts to nurse, but it doesn't hurt to wear a bra anymore, so that's a pretty big improvement.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    So wanted to let you know how things are going. . I could not take the discomfort any longer and I went to the Dr. The infection had cleared but I did have a blister under the skin I couldn't get to myself. He actually lanced it. It hurt like &*%$ but it's a huge improvement. That was Friday and I'm still a bit sore but I'm really hoping he got it all and now its just a matter of healing. At this point it's the latch that is still uncomfortable but once he's nursing we seem to be fine. I hope you get to a point that you can nurse again on that side and that you don't have to go through a Dr. lancing a blister. If you do, just know it takes just a minute and you should feel better once its done!

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    Thanks for updating! Good to know you have a reason for the pain and it's been dealt with. Feel good.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pain in nipple without known cause

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lmk2010 View Post
    So wanted to let you know how things are going. . I could not take the discomfort any longer and I went to the Dr. The infection had cleared but I did have a blister under the skin I couldn't get to myself. He actually lanced it. It hurt like &*%$ but it's a huge improvement. That was Friday and I'm still a bit sore but I'm really hoping he got it all and now its just a matter of healing. At this point it's the latch that is still uncomfortable but once he's nursing we seem to be fine. I hope you get to a point that you can nurse again on that side and that you don't have to go through a Dr. lancing a blister. If you do, just know it takes just a minute and you should feel better once its done!

    Wow, ouch! Sounds painful, but awesome that it's doing better. I've been meaning to put a status update here for weeks - only ever remembered while I was breastfeeding, which isn't the easiest time to log on to a forum, hehe. Anyway, I gave my left side a break for 2-3 weeks, only nursing once a day. Saw a midwife about it as well and she suggested trying a topical antifungal cream on the painful side, since the pain was so similar to thrush but not spreading. Whether it was the break, the cream or both, the pain eventually disappeared.

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