Itchy Breast during Pregnancy: Causes and Treatment
April 14, 2023
Your breasts and nipples may itch during pregnancy for several kinds of reasons. Hormones in the blood or skin irritation cause the majority. However, there are some instances where the itching should require a visit to the doctor. Here’s how to determine whether something is serious or mere irritation.
Causes of itching breasts during pregnancy
- Hormone changes
During pregnancy, your hormones are in overdrive, and as your due date draws near, they become significantly elevated.
All of those changes bring a variety of symptoms, and itching is pretty common if you dont have a specific medical condition.
- Stretching skin
Your skin extends to suit your changing form, and your weight increases as you and your baby grow. On your stomach, breasts, hips, and butt, you might even see tiny indentation streaks or lines known as striae gravidarum, sometimes known as stretch marks. You can experience burning or itching as they form.
Stretch marks can appear in various colours, including red, pink, blue, and even purple. They can cover a sizable portion of your body and tend to lighten to a lighter shade with time.
Pregnancy-induced eczema is the most typical skin problem you can get while carrying your kid for nine months. Patches can form on your breasts and other areas of your body.
You might also experience dry skin, red areas, cracked or scaly skin, tiny, raised lumps, and itching.
- Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP)
PUPPP is another typical cause of pregnancy itching, despite having an interesting name. You can also notice little skin lumps or hives along with the itch. They typically spread from the stomach to the breasts, thighs, and buttocks and might appear singly or in patches.
Although this ailment is quite uncomfortable, experts are unsure of its specific source.
- Pregnancy prurigo
Pregnancy-specific prurigo is another ailment. It is the immune system of the body reacting to all the changes pregnancy causes. You can start to get little lumps on your chest or other parts of your body. They could itch and resemble insect bites.
There may only be a few bumps at first, but there will likely be more over time. This illness may persist for several months, even after your child’s birth.
A rash under the breast is simply called “intertrigo” in fancy terms. It is not a disorder that only affects pregnant women. Instead, intertrigo can form whenever moisture, heat, and friction beneath the girls.
Given all the breast changes you have observed, you may understand how this scenario might occur, particularly if you are fortunate enough to be pregnant throughout the summer. A red rash and itchy, raw, or weeping skin are possible symptoms. In addition, your skin can hurt or split.
When does it occur?
Even in the first trimester of pregnancy, breast changes like swelling, soreness, and development are possible. Itching might accompany these symptoms, even in the first few weeks.
Although stretch marks can appear anytime, including before or after pregnancy, a 2017 study found that 43% of women already have them by 24 weeks. If not, they typically appear later in the second to early in the third trimester. After delivery, these markings will probably stay, though they soften and diminish.
The same is true for pregnancy intertrigo and prurigo, which can occur anytime. Eczema typically begins to manifest in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Contrarily, PUPPP might not manifest until later in the third trimester.
Your doctor can determine the cause of your itch by looking at the area. Pay special attention to timing and any additional symptoms to aid in identification.
Do itching breasts indicate early pregnancy?
They could be. Once more, breast changes start young. Hormonal changes can also bring on certain illnesses. For instance, over 50% of pregnant women with eczema experience worsening symptoms.
Use a home pregnancy test if you suspect that you are pregnant. However, for the most reliable results, have a blood test performed by your doctor.
- Getting sweet relief
If your itchy breasts are brought on by a medical condition like PUPPP or pregnancy-related prurigo, you might be unable to prevent them. However, there are many things you may do to maintain the girls’ composure.
- Stay hydrated
Take a sip. You probably aren’t receiving enough fluids, which pregnant women must consume at least 10 cups of during pregnancy.
Even slight dehydration has adverse side effects, such as itchy, dry skin. The good news is that some pregnancy problems, like constipation, may be helped by consuming more water. Additionally, you might practise drinking more if you intend to breastfeed. Nursing moms require at least 13 cups of water and other liquids per day to meet their hydration requirements.
- Wear comfortable clothes
Your dresser may hold the key to understanding why your breasts are itching. In contrast to synthetic clothes, cotton and other natural fibres like bamboo don’t frequently trap sweat and moisture. It could be a good idea to temporarily wear a cotton or silk tank below your outerwear until the worst of the itching has subsided.
- Loosen up
While you’re at it, check the bra size you’re wearing. To allow yourself and your breasts a little more breathing room, you might want to size up a little. Although supportive, your bra shouldn’t be overly constricting or too tight
- Cool down
Instead of scratching yourself, take a cool shower or apply a cool towel to soothe the itching. Tepid or lukewarm baths may be especially beneficial for illnesses like eczema. In this situation, the water must be between 85 and 90°F (29.4 and 32.2°C). Even if you don’t have a thermometer ready, the back of your hand only feels mildly warm when you put it in the water.
- Spread it on
Try directly rubbing a calming moisturiser on your nipples and breasts. Skin that is dry or irritated responds better to creams and ointments. Even women who have chapped nipples will apply lanolin. Shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, and jojoba oil are all suitable ingredients. Products with lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and dimethicone are also acceptable.
After using a clean towel to pat the skin dry, immediately apply moisturiser. Whatever you decide, consider performing a patch test and monitoring the affected area for 24 to 48 hours to look for any reactions.
- Change the detergents
Detergents and soaps containing synthetic fragrances may exacerbate skin issues. So, even if they smell fantastic, avoid any possibly irritating additions.
Instead, make an effort to use “free and clear” detergents. And pick hypoallergenic, straightforward soaps for your body.
- Consume a healthy diet
Stretch marks can develop during fast weight gain, but they can also develop ineluctably (and genetically). According to doctors, pregnant women should typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If your reading falls on the higher end of that range, consider consulting your doctor.
You aren’t eating for two. You can meet your nutritional requirements and your developing baby’s needs with just 300 extra calories each day.
- Yeast infection
Itchy nipples from yeast infections occur more frequently than you’d like to know with all the changes that pregnancy brings. Your infection might be brought on by an active vaginal yeast infection, nipple injury, or a recent antibiotic treatment.
In any event, you might feel anything from discomfort to stinging, burning, or itching. Your nipples could be brilliant pink or surrounded by red, dry, flaky skin or even a white rash. You might need to have prescription antifungals to get rid of the infection.
Do you experience scratching in the evenings or at night? Is it too intense for you to handle? It might not be in your head.
Pregnancy-related cholestasis is a liver disorder that produces severe itching without a rash. It usually manifests later, around the third trimester, but it can also happen earlier.
Itching can occur anywhere on the body; however, it is most likely to start on the hands and feet. Additionally, you can experience nausea, appetite loss, and yellowing (jaundice) of your skin and eye whites.
In addition to being quite unpleasant, cholestasis indicates that your liver isn’t doing a good job eliminating waste from your body. Your doctor can advise an early delivery to minimise risks like lung problems or stillbirth.You’ll probably find that the itching stops after just a few days once your baby is safe here.
When to be concerned (and see a doctor)
There are a few more disorders that result in breast itching. Sadly, they don’t clear by themselves. So, schedule a visit with your doctor or dermatologist immediately
People also ask
1. What helps itchy breasts during pregnancy?
Try directly rubbing a calming moisturiser on your nipples and breasts. Skin that is dry or irritated responds better to creams and ointments. Shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, and jojoba oil are all suitable ingredients.
2. When should I be worried about itching during pregnancy?
Mild itching is typically nothing to worry about, but if it becomes intense, it may indicate obstetric cholestasis, a severe liver disorder. Less than 1 in 100 pregnant women are affected, but this requires medical care.
3. Do itchy breasts mean milk is coming?
Breasts and nipples frequently become itchy while nursing because they are continually being pulled and sucked, getting wet often throughout the day, and the rapid growth of breast tissue. (or engorgement, which some people experience in the first few weeks of breastfeeding)