Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: My nipples on both my breasts go in, instead of sticking out. I am embarrassed by them. What's wrong with me? Can I get surgery to change my "innies"?

Answer from Dr. Locker

If your nipples have always been this way, then you have "inverted nipples." Inverted nipples are totally normal. Between 2 percent and 10 percent of females have one or two inverted nipples. Most are simply "shy nipples" and will come out when they are stimulated by cold or touch or arousal. If this is what you have, then your nipples still function normally. You will be able to breast feed just fine someday (if you choose to have a baby), because inverted nipples usually come out during lactation. (On the other hand, I need to note that if your inverted nipples never ever come out no matter how hard you try to get them out, or if they previously were always out and suddenly inverted, then you must see a doctor, because this can indicate a health issue.)

If you've always had inverted nipples, and they do come out when stimulated, then generally the only real problem that women have with inverted nipples is embarrassment, as you have expressed. I advise that you learn to love your special nipples. You can learn how to simulate them so that they come out when you want them to, and you can teach this to a future partner. Think of your inverted nipples as a fun part of your body that not everyone gets to enjoy!

There is a surgical procedure that a plastic surgeon can do to make your nipples come out. However, inverted nipple surgery does not guarantee that they will definitely stay out. Some people have the surgery and then the nipples go back in afterwards. Also, you may lose nipple sensation, and pleasurable feelings of having them touched (or licked) may disappear after surgery. Most importantly, if you have the surgery, then you may never be able to breastfeed. The surgery usually cuts the fibers that lead to the milk ducts, thus freeing the nipple to poke out, but stopping milk from getting to the nipples. There are some procedures that may spare the milk ducts, but it could still be risky. It may not be worth the risk. If you want to know more about the surgery, talk to a plastic surgeon who specialized in breast surgery at a good hospital in your area.

For more info about nipples (in general) and body image, you may enjoy these:

*My girlfriend wants me to rub her chest but not touch her nipples. Is this weird?

*I like every part of my body except my breasts. They are quite saggy while the rest of my body is toned and muscular. I never want to take off my bra in front of a man. Am I the only twentysomething with this problem? Is there anything I can do to get over this?


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