Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — written by Annamarya Scaccia — updated on march 7, 2019

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You are watching: Why do nipples get hard when you touch them


Is this normal?

It can happen out that nowhere. There you are, stand in the checkout line at a grocery store store, when all of a sudden your nipples come to be erect. Friend don’t recognize why it happened, and you might be a small worried. Don’t be! random nipple hardness is entirely normal native time to time.

The nerves in the nipple react to stimuli, both physical and psychological. So an arousing thought, adjust in temperature, or other as an easy as the fabric of her shirt brushing against your skin can cause one or both of her nipples to come to be erect.

However, there room some basic health concerns that can also lead come nipple hardness. Learning the indicators can help you recognize as soon as it’s time to check out your doctor.


Sometimes, the products we use on ours breasts have the right to make our nipples hard. It’s most likely due to the fact that you have an allergy or sensitivity. Soaps, shower gels, and also lotions can cause an allergic reaction. So can specific laundry detergents and fabrics.

Nipple hardness is just one sign of an allergy or sensitivity. Other symptoms you must watch for include:

rednessitchingchappingrash

Truth is, ovulation is different for every woman. No everyone will experience typical symptoms that can tip friend off the you’re ovulating. Chest tenderness is just one of those signs, and also it deserve to lead to her nipples becoming hard. This happens because of a rise in estrogen levels.

Other methods you have the right to tell you ovulating include:

changes in her cervical fluidchanges in her cervix’s position or firmnessa slim dip in her body temperature once at restlight spottingpelvic pains or crampingbloatingincreased libido

Breast changes and also pregnancy go hand in hand. Fluctuating hormones and also an uptick in blood it is provided can cause your breasts to go haywire, to it is in honest. Your nipples will certainly stick out an ext and prosper larger.

You may additionally experience:

your breasts and areolas coming to be biggeryour areolas coming to be darkeryour breasts emotion tender and also sensitive

There space so many transforms your body goes through during perimenopause and also menopause, it’s hard to save up. Chest tenderness is a typical sign of perimenopause.

This is due to the fact that your estrogen levels decrease as you obtain closer to menopause. It’s not common, however it’s feasible that your nipples come to be hard since of the transforms in her breasts.

You can also expect the following during this phase of life:

irregular periodsproblems sleepinghot flashesmood changesvaginal drynesstrouble peeingchanges in sex drivedecreased fertility

Postmenstrual syndrome is as with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but on the other finish of menstruation. Numerous of the symptoms room the same, consisting of breast swelling and also tenderness. And for some women, the could also mean their nipples become hard once in a while.

During postmenstrual syndrome you may experience the same changes to her mood, behavior, and also appetite, along with some that the exact same physical symptoms that you would with PMS.

This includes:

muscle painbloatingfeeling tiredhaving a lack of energyheadachescrampslow sex driveconstipation or diarrheaacne flare-upsfood cravings

Your nipples deserve to become more or much less sensitive after ~ you have actually them pierced. This method that her nipples could come to be hard more often than they would’ve if you didn’t provide it some bling. They may react faster to stimuli like cloth or someone’s touch.

But while nipple piercings might look cool, they execute come with some risks. Mainly, bacteria can enter your chest from the hole produced by the piercing, also if you eliminated the jewelry and also let the piercing heal. Bacteria that enters her breast can lead to mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue that reasons nipple hardness.

Other symptoms of mastitis that you should keep an eye out for include:

breast painswellingwarmthrednessfeverchills

Your infant may have a tough time finding her nipple once they’re level or inverted. It is why erect nipples are crucial to breastfeeding — they assist your baby. Your nipples may likewise become difficult when her baby feeds since of the stimulation.

But tough nipples during breastfeeding could additionally be a sign of mastitis. In fact, breastfeeding is just one of the many common reasons of chest tissue infections in mothers. Mastitis normally happens to breastfeeding mothers in the early days the childbirth, either due to the fact that of clogged milk ducts or bacteria the snuck into the breast v a chapped nipple.


Bacteria that enters the chest either with a cracked or pierced nipple can reason a buildup the pus, causing a chest abscess. This is a very painful problem that can trigger hard nipples. Abscesses usually kind in the breast once mastitis is left untreated.

Other indicators of a chest abscess to look out for:

tender, red, hot, and also painful breastsfevermuscle painlack the energynauseaheadache

You may know this currently but nipples room one heck of an erogenous zone for a many women. That’s because the study abroad sensation felt by her nipples travels to the same component of the brain that receives signals from your genitals. When you stimulate your nipples, her nerves tell your muscles in the area come contract, hence hardening her nipples. Her nipples can also become erect as soon as you have actually a sexually arousing thought.

Of course, nipple hardness is simply one symptom the arousal. You might be hot and also bothered — even subconsciously! — if:

your love is beating fasteryou’re breath fasteryou come to be flushedyour vagina becomes wet or swollen

We’ve every been there: We’re bundled up, prepared to brave the winter air, and also bam, our nipples pop out. The remainder of you may be warm, but that doesn’t mean your nipples can’t capture a chill.

In fact, cold weather is one of the many common reasons of nipple erection. That’s since a autumn in temperature simulates unique nerve cell in ours nipples — the very same ones that cause goosebumps. Hot weather, though, doesn’t cause quite the same reaction v our nipples.


Let’s it is in honest: clearly shows nipples gain a negative rep. That’s why the #freethenipple project started five years back — in order come celebrate ours beautiful nipples as soon as they’re out and proud. However you must do whatever helps you feel comfortable in your skin, whether that’s covering up your nipples or letting them was standing out.

If you want them to remain hidden, you have plenty the options. Padded bras, nipple covers, or Band-Aids can aid keep nipples the end of sight. You could likewise layer up or stay looser shirt if the feels better.

Shop because that nipple covers.


If your nipples get hard at random, it can be completely normal. The can happen from time to time, fully out that the blue. And sometimes, yes no explanation for it.

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But if nipple hardness happens with various other symptoms, prefer soreness or discharge, you need to schedule a doctor’s visit to ensure over there isn’t one underlying concern at play. And also if her erect nipples room due to problems like PMS or postmenstrual syndrome, menopause, or allergies, they’ll it is in able to assist you law the various other symptoms she experiencing.


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Medically the evaluation by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by Annamarya Scaccia — update on in march 7, 2019