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Itchy Boobs? You're Not Alone – Here's What Causes It
And one thing that's damn uncomfortable (especially when the urge to scratch strikes you during the mid-morning meeting) is itchy boobs.
So whether it's your nipples giving you grief or some sensitive skin that just won't quit, we enlisted the help of holistic skin health advocate and founder of AMPERNA®, Kiri Yanchenko, to decode the harmless itches from the signs of something more serious...
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External causes of itchy boobs
One of the first things to check if you're experiencing itchy boobs is for anything external that could be causing your irritation or rubbing your skin the wrong way. Kiri says some key places to start are:
- Your body wash and any other products you use in that area
- The change in weather/season (our boobs can get hayfever too)
- Your daily shower temp (too hot = dry, itchy skin)
- Your clothes washing detergant (a recent switch could be the culprit)
- The seams and fabrics of your undergarments or clothes (eg. lace can be irritating to some)
- Any causes of friction (eg. your bra being too tight or clothes rubbing)
Internal causes of itchy boobs
There are also several internal causes of itchy boobs. The good news? Some can be rectified with a few lifestyle changes...
- You're not drinking enough water
- Your diet is poor: Kiri says an anti-inflammatory diet, including plenty of superfoods can help. "Superfoods that are good for the skin include dark leafy greens, berries, green tea, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds, kefir, garlic, olive oil, ginger, turmeric, salmon, avocado, sweet potato, mushrooms and seaweed."
- It could be sign of pregnancy: Aka "Hormonal changes and the skin stretching as your breasts and nipples expand to get ready for nursing a baby."
- Menopause: "This stage of your life can make your skin thinner, drier and more easily irritated, on top of your fluctuating hormone levels and lower levels of estrogen."
Other factors which can cause itchy boobs
While most of the above can be rectified at home, there are some cases of itchy boob which will warrant a visit to your GP or health professional for extra help. These include:
- Breastfeeding: "Milk residue, plugged milk ducts, and problems with your baby latching on during feedings can make nipples itchy and sore. It's important to keep the area clean and dry, and to continue to pump or nurse." Some mums find relief in certain creams and techniques, but talk to your GP before proceeding.
- Thrush: In some cases, a yeast infection can cause the nipples to become itchy, sore, red or cracked. This can be cleared up with the proper medication and treatment creams, just speak to your GP.
- Radiation: "Treatment for breast cancer can lead to severe itching in the breasts and nipple, even long after it ends." Speak to your GP about relief options.
- Eczema: This common skin ailment can appear differently on everyone, from dry and flaky to red and irritated skin. If you suspect you have eczema, speak to your GP.
- Paget's Disease: "This rare form of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the nipple and nearby area. It can look like eczema , with crusty, scaly and itchy skin." If you're experiencing any of these signs, see your GP.
Have you ever experienced itchy boobs? Were you surprised by some of these causes?