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Breast skin and nipple changes

Inverted nipple; Nipple discharge; Breast feeding - nipple changes; Breastfeeding - nipple changes

Description

Learn about skin and nipple changes in the breast so you know when to see a health care provider.

Notice Changes in Your Breasts and Nipples

INVERTED NIPPLES

SKIN PUCKERING OR DIMPLING

This can be caused by scar tissue from surgery or an infection. Often, scar tissue forms for no reason. See your provider. Most of the time this issue does not need treatment.

WARM TO THE TOUCH, RED, OR PAINFUL BREAST

This is almost always caused by an infection in your breast. It is rarely due to breast cancer. See your provider for treatment.

SCALY, FLAKING, ITCHY SKIN

THICKENED SKIN WITH LARGE PORES

This is called peau d'orange because the skin looks like an orange peel. An infection in the breast or inflammatory breast cancer can cause this problem. See your provider right away.

RETRACTED NIPPLES

Your nipple was raised above the surface but begins to pull inward and does not come out when stimulated. See your provider if this is new.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will talk to you about your medical history and recent changes you have noticed in your breasts and nipples. Your provider will also do a breast exam and may suggest that you see a skin doctor (dermatologist) or breast specialist.

You may have these tests done:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you notice:

References

Carr RJ, Smith SM, Peters SB. Primary and secondary dermatologic disorders of the breast. In: Bland KI, Copeland EM, Klimberg VS, Gradishar WJ, eds. The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Diseases. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 13.

Klatt EC. The breasts. In: Klatt EC, ed. Robbins and Cotran Atlas of Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 14.

Wick MR, Dabb DJ. Tumors of the mammary skin. In: Dabbs DJ, ed. Breast Pathology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 34.

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Review Date: 10/5/2020  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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