Sunday, August 26, 2007

Painful Nipples and Raynaud's

You're breast-feeding, your nipples are very painful, but without any signs of infection and no cracks or fissures. Is it a yeast problem or a far less common condition (one you should be aware of, nonetheless) called Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipples?

Here are a few facts about Raynaud's phenomenon of the nipples.

Raynaud's of the nipples is a rare cause of nipple pain characterized by vasospasm of the nipples while breast-feeding. The spasm-like throb is usually bilateral and severe. The nipple usually turns very white but may be blue, purple, or red.

Women with a history of Raynaud's syndrome are more likely to experience this problem. As are women with conditions associated with factors that restrict the blood vessels, like rheumatologic diseases, endocrine diseases, autoimmune diseases, cigarettes, and caffeine.

Last, but not least, if Raynaud's phenomenon is the cause of your nipple pain, the following should help:

  • Avoid exposure to cold, vasoconstricting medications, nicotine, and caffeine.

  • Warm compresses or warm showers (may suffice as treatment for mild cases).

  • Topical nitroglycerine.

The drug treatment of choice is the calcium channel blocker nifedipine, a vasodilator, (5 mg b.i.d. for 2 weeks).

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