Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple
What is Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple?
Chronic deep nipple pain during lactation can be caused by Raynaud's syndrome or phenomenon. Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by vasospasms in the nipples, hands, or feet, which is a stabbing pain brought on by decreased blood flow to the area. Raynaud’s phenomenon of the nipple is often misdiagnosed as Candida albicans and treated with antifungals.
What are the risk factors for Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple?
- Nipple trauma
- A history of Raynaud's Syndrome in the hands
- Personal/family history of thyroid diseases
- Nursing in/before entering cold areas could trigger symptoms
What are the symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple?
- Burning sensation in the breast or nipple
- Throbbing sensation in the breast or nipple
- "Pins and needles" sensation in the breast or nipple
- Color change in nipples (white, blue/purple, dark red)
- Nipples may alternate between colors
- The breast becomes pale
- Delayed healing of nipple wounds
- Breast of nipple pain that worsens in the cold
What is the treatment for Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple?
Consult with your ob-gyn or lactation consultant if you have any of the above symptoms. You may be prescribed a calcium-channel blocker like nifedipine. In addition, you can try the following to reduce symptoms.
- Decrease exposure to the cold
- Warm the nipples
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid caffeine
Who can help diagnose/treat Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipple?
- Lactation Consultant (LC)