Picture this: The sun is shining, the sound of crashing waves echoes off the beach and your nipples are tender. It's a painful and uncomfortable sensation that can make you feel like you should never go to the beach again. This is what happens when you're experiencing a condition known as'surfer's nipple.'
This is a very common and uncomfortable occurrence that can affect women who surf or swim in the ocean. It's a condition that is caused by repeated rubbing and abrasion on the nipples due to wax or clothing. The continuous rubbing causes extremely small tears to the skin and can lead to chafing, pain, dryness and even bleeding. This is a very serious issue and needs to be addressed immediately.
If left untreated the small cracks in the skin can become deeper fissures and the nipple tissue can break down leading to infection and even a potentially life-threatening situation of bleeding into the chest cavity. This is why it's important to wash with a gentle cleanser after swimming and then pat dry. Once the skin is re-hydrated it's best to apply a nipple cream, petroleum jelly or an unperfumed moisturizer to help prevent further irritation and chafing.
In addition to chafing, breast and nipple pain can be one of the earliest indicators that you are pregnant. It can also indicate a hormonal imbalance or an underlying health problem such as Paget's disease which is a form of cancer in the breast tissue itself or it could be that you are pulling the muscles of the nipple and have not allowed them to fully recover after childbirth.