Information on Inverted Nipples / Flat Nipples

Image by Jhfdsskl / Public Domain
Have inverted nipples or flat nipples been a problem in the past to nursing a baby? Maybe it is only a cosmetic concern; either way, you will find help here!!! While inverted nipples may not be as common as flat nipples, it still affects many men and women.

It is best for treatment to start at puberty, but individuals of any age can find help for this delicate problem. If the inversion is not genetic, please see your physician to rule out any more serious causes.

 Many physicians do not know about the treatments available except for surgery,  nor do they discuss the inversion with their clients. To them, it is a variation of normal and since they have very little information to share, it is ignored. They may question if the inversion is congenital verses something that has recently occurred. If it is congenital, they will usually not be concerned.

It would be great if all obstetricians did thorough exams of nipples on all pregnant women on the first visit, and adolescents on their first GYN visit, but since they rarely assess for flat or inverted nipples, it can be done by the individual!

How do you determine if you have flat or inverted nipples?

It will be obvious on many people just by looking at the nipple....if it doesn't protrude or does in fact stay hid inside, then it would be considered flat or inverted.

If your nipples appear normal, but retract when stimulated, they could still pose breastfeeding difficulties. Do a simple test to determine if your nipples are inverted or flat:  place your thumb and index finger on the areola and compress. If the nipple retracts or inverts into the breast, then treatment may be needed before breastfeeding.

Babies are suppose to breastfeed, not nipple- feed, so some women will have no difficulty nursing a baby with flat or inverted nipples especially if their nipples can elongate easily due to good elasticity. Many times after nursing, the nipples will be corrected from the baby nursing, especially if the mother nurses for years instead of months.

Since I have assisted women with breastfeeding that have had flat or inverted nipples that did pose a problem with the baby latching on effectively, or they did experience needless pain with breastfeeding, I strongly recommend treatment before pregnancy. If it isn't done before pregnancy, then it should be started ASAP.

What treatments are available for flat or inverted nipples and how effective are they?