What Causes Inverted Nipples?

What Causes Inverted Nipples?

Inverted nipples are a condition where the nipples appear flat or point inward rather than project forward like regular nipples. This common cosmetic concern can occur in one breast or both and affects roughly 10% of the population.

This guide will take a closer look at what causes inverted nipples, including all the information you need to know about correcting the problematic condition – through either natural remedies or inverted nipple surgery.  

Our medical surgeon at the CREO Clinic, Dr Omar Tillo, specialises in treating inverted nipples. Having performed the surgery on numerous patients with different grades of inversion, he has mastered the skill and expertise to provide results that sit naturally on the breasts or chest. 

Signs You Have Inverted Nipples

There are several signs which may indicate you have inverted nipples. It is worth noting that many of these depend on the condition’s root cause.

  • Lack of projection or flat nipple appearance 
  • Breasts that are tender and warm to the touch
  • A lump or swelling in your nipple
  • Redness in the nipple area
  • Pain or discomfort in your breast
  • Changes in your skin such as itchiness or dimpling 

What Can Cause Nipples to Be Inverted?

A range of factors can contribute to inverted nipples in both men and women. Explained below are some of the most common. 


Some people are born with inverted nipples due to the nipple base or milk ducts not properly developing in the womb. 

Previous Surgery & Scar Tissue 

Trauma from previous surgery or injury to the chest can cause the tissue in your milk ducts to change so that your nipple gets pulled inwards. 

Breast Drooping

Nipples can become inverted if the gradual drooping of breast tissue (ptosis) occurs faster than the ducts are able to stretch. 


If you have recently finished breastfeeding, your nipples might turn inwards due to a shortening or scarring of the milk ducts. 

Breast Cancer

In rare cases, a tumour might be attacking a milk duct behind your nipple, causing it to suddenly invert. A rare form of breast cancer known as Paget’s disease can also invert the nipple. 


Mastitis can cause inverted nipples if bacteria gets into your milk ducts and causes an infection. This is particularly common in women who have recently given birth, are breastfeeding, or have cracked or pierced nipples.

How To Correct Inverted Nipples

Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor before committing to treatment. This is because the severity of inversion often determines the most effective treatment method, and in mild cases of the condition, a natural remedy may suffice. 

Natural Remedies 

Hoffman’s technique is a manual exercise that is useful if your nipples are flat or mildly inverted. Simply place your thumbs on either side of the base of your nipple and press firmly into the breast tissue, pulling your thumbs slowly apart. Work your way around all sides of the nipple until it projects outwards. 

Your doctor or healthcare professional may also suggest pulling the nipple out with an eversion device. This type of treatment is most effective for grade 1 nipples but it may take up to three months to see a noticeable change. 

Inverted Nipple Surgery

In most cases, cosmetic surgery can permanently correct inverted nipples. The procedure is typically performed under local anaesthetic and takes between 1-2 hours to complete. The exact surgical technique is chosen dependent on the grade of inversion. 

In general, an incision is made underneath the nipple to release it from the surrounding connective tissue before the surgeon secures the nipple in place with a stitch (for roughly a week until the incision heals). 

Schedule An Inverted Nipple Consultation with CREO Clinic

If you are interested in correcting your inverted nipples through treatment, contact the CREO Clinic to schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with Dr Tillo. With years of experience in the field, he will be able to design a bespoke treatment plan according to your individual needs.

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