by Heba Hosny in Training Tips

How to prevent nipple irritation

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Some runners experience nipples irritation of different forms including dryness, soreness and in some cases bleeding of one or both of the nipples. It could happen either during and/or after the run.

Common causes of nipple irritation

The number one reason for nipples irritation is the continuous friction between the nipples and the clothes. It goes without saying that long-distance runners are more prone to suffer from this unfavorable condition particularly in hot weather.

Having said that, it is important to keep in mind that the fabric of some clothing items, logos or badges can cause the same friction even without running. So, be extra cautious about the kind of clothing that covers your nipples.

Proven methods to prevent nipple irritation

  • NipGuards
    As the name implies, NipGuards is a well- known specialty product designed to offer maximum nipple protection for runners. Each NipGuard is like a little cushion that ‘hugs’ your nipple and shields it against friction.
  • Tape
    All you need is to cover each nipple with a small piece of tape and kiss nipple chafing goodbye forever. Just make sure that the tape wouldn’t touch your chest hair. This way, it won’t hurt when you remove it later and you can keep it for a whole week if you wish. Sweet!
    The most recommended tap product is the Transpore medical tape by 3M that you can easily buy online and hey, do NOT substitute Transpore tape with Duct tape. The downside of using standard tape is that they don’t stick well in hot weather or if you are sweating a lot.
  • Band-aids and wart cushions
    Another good option, though not as effective as the NipGuards or Transpore tape, is Band-aids. Just use one Band-aid to cover each nipple. Alternatively, you may try the corn/wart cushions sticky pads.
    Both of these options are probably at your medicine cabinet today. We recommend that you use them temporarily until you get a hold of some of the other “good” stuff.

More preventive measures against nipple irritation

  • Running shirtless whenever possible
  • Wearing loose-fitting T-shirts while running
  • Applying Vaseline, lip balm or petroleum jelly on your nipples
  • Wearing a compression vest, a sports bra, or a shimmel
  • Avoiding cotton shirts and wearing the synthetic fabrics shirts (known as technical shirts) instead
  • Above all, using specialty products such as NipGuard as they prevent rash guards besides other forms of nipple irritation

How to cure nipple irritation

If your nipple skin is already damaged, you will need to apply a pure lanolin product, such as Bag Balm and Lansinoh, to your nipples before exercising but be cautious: using these products for a long time hinders air circulation around the skin which could delay your recovery. So, try to avoid running ultra-long distances until your nipples are fully recovered.

If your condition is not cleared within few days, medical intervention is a must. Other possible causes include psoriasis, eczema, impetigo, allergic reaction or fungal infections for men and women. In addition, early pregnancy hormonal turmoil or menstruation may result in nipple pain soreness for some women.

We strongly recommend that you make it a habit to take some preventive measures against nipples irritation so you don’t have to deal with it in the first place. Good luck!

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