I’m Not Cold, So Why Are My Nipples Hard?

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There are no two twin nipples. Even those nipples on your own body might differ from each other. Both men and women might experience hard nipples without any reason from time to time. Various levels of tenderness make conditions for different sensibility levels and reactions.

The nerve fibers in nipples response to physical and psychological stimuli. As stated in Nature Neuroscience, hard nipples are unconscious and are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This neuronal net manages stress reactions, including speeding up the heartbeat and boosting energy level. Special nerve cells are responsible for your unpredictable nipple erection.

An arousing thought, cold temperature, or even friction on fabric might make your nipple to stick out like sore thumbs.

Allergy or sensitivity

Due to the high level of sensibility nipples are be easily irritated by outside triggers. Beauty product used on the breasts might cause stiff nipples. Soaps, laundry detergents, shaving cream, shower gels, perfumes, and lotions might trigger an allergy.

Rubbing against the off-size bra during sports activities might trigger. Choose a bra with a cotton lining to keep the friction levels to a minimum. Surgical tape might be a perfect solution.

Friction on the nipple can often cause soreness and stinging pain. The skin may also become dry or chapped.

Nipple hardness induced by allergy or tenderness might be linked to the following signs:

  • soreness;
  • stinging pain;
  • red dry chapped skin;
  • persistent itchiness;
  • rash;
  • bleeding.

A topical antiphlogistic cream might cure the minor triggers and signs, but it is better to consult your PCP if the clinical hint spread or cause concerns.


The normal surge of estrogen levels in a monthly cycle might trigger nipple tenderness. More liquid is drowning to the breasts and make them feel swollen. Symptoms of ovulation vary for every woman. Girl hard nipples are one of those hints. Other signs include:

  • changes in the cervical fluid;
  • the increase of the basal body temperature;
  • spotting;
  • pelvic discomfort or pain;
  • abdominal distention;
  • changes in libido.

If stiffness or pain troubles you for more than a few days, you should see your PCP.

Postmenstrual syndrome

Postmenstrual syndrome is connected with hormone fluctuations and is a very similar to premenstrual syndrome. Breast swelling and tenderness mean that your nipples might become hard. Other signs include:

  • changes in mood and behavior;
  • muscle ache;
  • bloating;
  • fatigue;
  • headaches;
  • low sexual desire;
  • constipation or diarrhea;
  • pustulation;
  • edacity.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Breast changes during pregnancy are linked to the future breastfeeding. Hormonal release and a marked increase in the volume of blood circulation might trigger breasts and nipple soreness. You will get big hard nipples so a baby could suck the milk easily. The nipples and surrounding areola might get darker and ache.

To cut friction and soothe soreness wearing a supporting bra overnight might be beneficial. Sleep bras are handy for decreasing nipple pain after the delivery of a child. Cooling gel packs might also ease inflamed or painful nipples.

Do not panic if you feel aroused during breastfeeding. It is normal. This is only the reaction of your body; you are not becoming a pervert. Your nipples become stiff because the baby feeding is the stimulation. Too much suction and bites might even end in breast pain.

When the nipple is pressed between baby’s gums and the hard palate it restricts the blood flow. This ends in vasoconstriction, which causes nipple pain and the change of color.

Chapped nipples and engorgement might lead to the bacteria contamination and breast tissue infections. Mastitis is a frequent medical condition in nursing mother. In almost every one of the three mothers develops mastitis.

Other signs include:

  • sudden increase in body temperature;
  • weakness;
  • chills and fever;
  • headache;
  • acute pain in the breast;
  • increase in local temperature.

Breast abscess

A cracked or pierced nipple might be a portal of entry of infection. Bacterial contamination might lead to a breast abscess. The deposits of pus might trigger hard nipples and pain. Abscesses are considered to be a frequent complication of mastitis.

Another clinical hint of a breast abscess:

  • red, hot, and painful nipples and breasts;
  • fever;
  • muscle ache;
  • exhaustion;
  • nausea.

Perimenopause and menopause

The decrease in the estrogen levels during menopause triggers breast tenderness. It is not a frequent complaint, but your nipple might get stiffen.

Other signs of perimenopause include:

  • irregular periods;
  • sleeping disorders;
  • hot flashes;
  • changes in mood;
  • vaginal dryness;
  • changes in sexual appetite.


Piercings might cause changes in nipple sensitivity. Your nipples might get hard more often. Nipple piercing has a risk of infection with bacteria and mastitis. Breast tissue infections manifest with:

  • breast pain;
  • hot, red and swollen skin;
  • fever;
  • shakes.


Nipples are an erogenous zone. Some women state that they can even climax due to the nipple stimulation. The brain area that controls genitalia sensitivity controls the sensations felt by the nipples as well. When the nipples are stimulated, the neuromuscular response makes your nipples hard. Hard nipples in men and women might occur even with a sexually arousing thought.

When to see your doctor

If your experience stiff nipples from time to time it is normal. If nipple or breast hardness linked to soreness or pathologic discharge, it is advised to consult your PCP. If erect nipples trouble you along with the other signs of PMS, menopause, or allergies, your PCP will teach you how to ease the signs of the medical condition.


  • Mozingo, Johnie N., et al. “” It Wasn’t Working”: Women’s Experiences with Short-Term Breastfeeding.” MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 25.3 (2000): 120-126.
  • Rice, Marnie E., et al. “Empathy for the victim and sexual arousal among rapists and nonrapists.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence9.4 (1994): 435-449.
  • Fornes, Maria Irene. “Play: Fefu and Her Friends.” Performing Arts Journal 2.3 (1978): 112-140.

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