Have you experienced nipple pain during or after breastfeeding, or when getting out of a warm shower, walking into a cold hallway, stepping outside on a cold day, or cruising the chilled section of the supermarket?
If yes, then you may be experiencing vasospasms. Just like your fingers and toes, ears, and nose, your nipples are classed as extremities and can be susceptible to reduced blood flow. This may present as blanching (whitening) or purple colour changes of the nipple often accompanied by sharp, shooting, or burning pain.
Vasospasms during and/or after breastfeeding may indicate that the nipple is being squished which then reduces blood flow, with the pain usually occurring as blood flow returns, but not always. Support to improve latching and positioning may help. Vasospasms bought about by Raynaud’s disease may require additional management in conjunction with breastfeeding support. Keeping your breasts warm and covering up as soon as breastfeeding finishes may be helpful first steps.