Raynaud's of the NippleRaynaud’s of the nipple most commonly occurs in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, but can also occur in women who have never been pregnant. Like Raynaud’s in other parts of the body, it is a condition that can usually be managed and, when triggers can be avoided, the vasospasm events will reduce or stop.

Women who have Raynaud’s of the fingers and toes may develop Raynaud’s of the nipple when they become pregnant or start to breastfeed. This does not happen to all women with Raynaud’s in other body parts, but these women should be aware of this condition, and should take precautionary measures where possible.

Estrogen appears to be a factor in Raynaud’s; it affects how we react to the cold. The increased levels of estrogen in women directly after puberty, in pregnant women, and in woman who have recently given birth may explain why these women develop Raynaud’s of the nipple.

Young women with this condition often complain of symptoms after swimming, and may avoid this sport. Pregnant woman may or may not suffer with each pregnancy depending on environmental factors and hormone levels. In breastfeeding women symptoms often start between a week to a month or so after birth. Many women who do not suffer from Raynaud’s elsewhere in their body develop Raynaud’s of the nipple when they start breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a particularly challenging trigger for Raynaud’s. Waving a cold, wet nipple around in front of a baby’s nose for minutes at a time, trying to get them to latch, the evaporation of saliva/milk from nipples, using cold, wet breast pads, and getting up in the middle of the night can all be a recipe for disaster. Specific triggers for Raynaud’s of the nipple can include leaving nipples to air-dry after breastfeeding, damage to the nipple caused by poor latch, and previous breast surgery. Vasospasm events typically occur after feeding has finished, or on any other exposure to the cold.

Some women have nipple vasospasms that are due to poor latch only. Improving the baby’s latch will solve this problem. This condition is not Raynaud’s, but is just described as nipple vasospasm or blanching. Raynaud’s of the nipple in breastfeeding women is often misdiagnosed as poor latch, thrush or milk blebs. If the mother is not given the right information it is very likely she will stop breastfeeding due to severe pain. If a nipple is severely constricted it may not let milk down, and th